2 Thessalonians 1
“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered round Him that He got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then He told them many things in parables…” —Matthew 13:1-3
From the opening verse of this devotion, Jesus taught the people while He sat by the lake. Although we are not sure from Matthew’s Gospel what He was saying, He said many things in parables to the people. Imagine if we went to church and the preacher said the exact same parables that Jesus taught, such as the parable of a man throwing some seeds in his field, and did not unpack the meaning behind the story. We would probably wonder, what does this mean?
Jesus’s disciples were probably feeling the pressure of the crowd because they approached Jesus with a question, “Why do You speak to the people in parables?” (Matthew 13:10). Put differently, “Jesus, what are You doing? This great crowd does not understand what You are saying.” Jesus told them, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables….For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them’” (Matthew 13:11-13, 15).
The majority of the culture around Jesus was rejecting His message. They did not believe who He was and did not respond to His invitation into relationship or discipleship. Instead, they were becoming increasingly hostile towards the message of God and Jesus was diagnosing why—the people’s heart had become calloused. The problem was not how Jesus was teaching but the disposition of His listener to what they were hearing.
There is a saying that says the greatest distance that a person can travel in their life is one foot—from their head to their heart. Sometimes we are hearing someone speak and their words enter our ears, into our mind, but it does not make its way into our heart. The crowd following Jesus were listening to His teachings but His Word was not taking root in their heart. To those who are seeking something else or playing games with God, they see but do not perceive, they hear but they do not understand. They are ever-listening but never learning. Yet, to those who are seeking the trust of God, Jesus says, “They see… they hear…they understand and they are saved. The more they receive, the more I pour into their lives.”
Have we allowed Jesus’s words to take the one-foot journey into our heart?
Dear Jesus Christ, thank You for the truth found in Your Word. May Your Word take the one-foot journey from my head to my heart today. Amen!