Covered: Luke 9:10-62, Mark 9-10, Luke 12, John 3-4, Luke 14
Scripture Memory: Self-Image – Psalms 139:13-14; Jeremiah 9:23-24
“Let these words sink in!” Jesus’ words in our reading this week must capture our attention. (CSB Luke 9:44) How would our response to God’s word be impacted if we heard Jesus saying this to us? Is it possible that these are the words the Spirit speaks to us even now?
Later this week, we will hear Him often repeat this urgent plea or command. In John 4 He says, “Listen to what I am telling you….open your eyes.” And as we conclude our week, His last words to us will proclaim, “Anyone who has ears to hear listen.” (Luke 14:35b)
Why do we often open our Bible without this urgency and alertness? As we read this week, He reveals to us reasons for our distraction and half-hearted response to His words.
Our Misplaced Treasures
As the rich young ruler comes to Jesus, his desire seems to be to seek a relationship with God. It is not until he understands the cost, that he sadly turns away, unwilling to hear more. We are told that where our treasure is, our heart will also be. When our hearing becomes dull, we must step back and ask our hearts, “What am I holding close? What do I value most?” When we come to the Lord with clenched fists or with one eye in the world and one eye on Him, we cannot let His “words sink in.” It causes an obstruction which prevents His words from penetrating.
Fear and Worry
Nothing clouds our hearing more than fear. Fear can not only drown out the voice of God but also godly advice and encouragement. Maybe this explains why God tells us continually throughout the Bible to fear not. Lysa Terkeurst says it this way, “Fear is an evidence of an eroded trust in God.” Jesus tells us in Luke 12 that we are of value and not forgotten. When we lack trust, our hearing is impaired, and we often miss hearing this truth.
Unfortunately, the secular world easily seeps into the church in the way that we view success and status. Even the disciples battled with this faulty thinking. Jesus admonishes them, as He teaches them the principle of humility. He immediately draws a child to himself to teach them that greatness in the eyes of the world differs from God’s view. Later in Luke 14, He states, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Timothy Keller, in his book The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, states, “The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”
When our eyes shift from self to God, our ears are more receptive to His words.
Refusal to Lament
Sometimes we are not willing to sit in our sadness before God. We live in a society that tells us to move on or to comfort ourselves by numbing out or distracting ourselves through entertainment or social media. Jesus demonstrates in a beautiful way how to embrace our sadness before God as He sits overlooking Jerusalem. In Luke 13:34, He mourns for us to hear. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
Jesus sits in his sadness as He expresses His longing. We could probably pray this with longing and sadness after every viewing of the nightly news! There have been several insightful articles written lately about the lost art of lament in the church. The Lord tells us He is close to the brokenhearted. But we have to acknowledge it and listen to what He has to say to us in our brokenness.
It is Hidden from Us
Let’s go back to Jesus’ words to the disciples. “Let these words sink in.” The next part seems really confusing. Do you know why the words didn’t sink in? The Bible tells us that “it was concealed from them so they could not grasp it…” (Luke 9:45) What? Why would Jesus tell them to listen, and then conceal it so that they could not understand it? Jesus is preparing them for His betrayal. He was telling them something they would need to know in the future.
This is so important! God often speaks to our hearts a truth that we will need later. Sometimes we discard what God is saying to us because it seems irrelevant to our lives. As we journal what we hear from the Lord, it is wise to remember to listen in anticipation for words from our Heavenly Father who knows what we will need before we need it.
Let anyone who has ears listen
Written by: Sherry Fox
Photo Credit: katemangostar