“Hearing” is a much deeper process than simply detecting sound. It means understanding. Jesus told His detractors that they failed to “hear” Him. By this He was not referring to their ears but to their hearts. The condition of the heart determines what any of us can “hear.” Educators refer to a condition of readiness, defined as a state of being when one can learn something new. For the student, until readiness happens no amount of lessons will get through. For the enemies of Jesus and those with no interest in spiritual things, there was little readiness about them.
Who is your Father?
His message was another factor that hindered the ability of so many in Jesus’ audience. It was truth from another world, the good news of a higher Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. It was time for the leaders of God’s people to expand their theology and understand deeper things, higher things, sweeter things, more powerful things—to really hear the message of Jesus. He spoke to them of His heavenly Father as the source of these things. They protested,
“Abraham is our father.”
According to the detailed genealogies so important to them, this was indeed the case. Jesus wanted them to call on a greater Father.
“If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.”
Abraham was their Father in the faith—a hero of the faith—a believer in the Word of God. As children of Abraham, they should also be people of faith, hearing and obeying the Word of God. Abraham set the example of faith by following God’s direction by travelling to a new world. This was exactly what God wanted them to do—follow Jesus into a new land of a New Covenant.
To their chagrin, Jesus accused them of doing the evil works of some other father. They were outraged, protesting that not only Abraham but God Himself was their father. Their lack of relationship with the Father created their lack of readiness.
“If God were your Father, you would love Me!”
If they really loved God, they would love Him. If they believed God they would believe Him. They could not hear Jesus because they did not hear the Word of God. Then Jesus told them the truth they never wanted to hear.
“You are of your father the devil… there is no truth in him…for he is a liar and the father of it.”
Who is of God?
The proof of who is of God and who is of the devil, is found in the beliefs and behavior of an individual. In another place Jesus said that we would know people by their works. Some of the people in the Temple courts that day were truly the people of God while others were wholly owned subsidiaries of Satan. Those who were of God, heard the words of Jesus and took them to heart letting them work mightily in them, changing them from the inside out. Pause and remember those who believed,
- 12 ordinary men, called to follow Jesus,
- a young member of the Sanhedrin,
- a woman with a checkered past in Samaria,
- a nobleman’s son healed with a word from Jesus,
- a lame man by the pool, and
- a hungry multitude in the wilderness.
Others witnessed events like these and went away unchanged.
“Hearing” is a much deeper process than simply detecting sound.
“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father — God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Lord Jesus, You promised that Your followers would hear Your voice, the way sheep recognize the voice of their shepherd. It is true. I know Your voice and rest in Your tender words. I also know Your rebuke when I need correction, gentle but firm. Thank You, Lord! I hear Your voice in the Word. I hear Your voice in conversations with brothers and sisters. I hear Your voice when the preacher opens the Book behind the sacred desk. I hear Your voice in the liturgies of worship–the holy songs we sing. Thank You, Lord, for speaking life to me. Amen.
Wonderful Words of Life
Words and Music: P. P. Bliss
1. Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life;
let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.
2. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all wonderful words of life;
sinner, list to the laving call, wonderful words of life;
all so freely given, wooing us to heaven
3. Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life;
offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever,
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.