Does the ear actually do the hearing? Or is it our mind translating? Or is the secret of hearing the Truth involved within a listening heart? We all are guilty of tuning out what we do not wish to hear…and in that effort, we switch our hearing to our own thoughts while what is being said gets silenced. Maybe God would like us to listen more and speak less…. “Listen carefully to what I say; let my words ring in your ears.” Job 13:7 — Do I listen with ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, or do I discern based upon my understanding? “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 — Have I been given ears to hear?We are charged to get understanding, but how? “with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7 Okie Dokie, then with genuine thanksgiving, let us ask God to give us understanding which will indeed transcend and/or defy the world’s perception! Let us maintain our confidence in Christ, with an utmost certainty that our Father will never lead us astray, lie or forsake us. As His children, no matter how hard we humans try …..to trust the understanding we are given, we still question God and we fail to fully comprehend the purpose of sickness and health, the lost and found, the rich and the poor among us. Occasionally, we allow the Holy Spirit to unlock our minds so that He can give us a glimpse of the profound Truth tucked within the misery. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deut 29:29 – God reveals Himself to us, and at times we can tap into His streaming wisdom and feel we understand a part of God, but not the secret things. Luke, a doctor, a man of science, a man with the gift of having an analytical mind …Dr. Luke was chosen to pen one parable after another. A parable is a story told by Jesus to illustrate a spiritual or moral lesson. “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Matt 13:34-35 Jesus spoke in parables to conceal “understanding” so that what He taught would only be discerned by those given “ears to hear”. During a meal hosted by the Pharisees, Jesus tells a series of parables that lead up to Lazarus and the rich man. “And behold, there was a
certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Luke 14:1-3 After healing the man, Jesus told the parable about the wedding feast where He explains that a guest should choose to sit in a lowly position and not a high place of honor. Next Jesus said when you have a feast, invite the poor and lowly because they cannot pay you back. Jesus continued with the parable about none of His invited guests would join Him in a banquet, so He sent His servants to gather up any person willing to come. He reminded those with ears to hear that all must count the cost in becoming His disciples. Next He told the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the prodigal son, and the unfaithful steward. The Pharisees were offended because they loved money. Then Jesus told the parable about the rich man who ended up in torment as the poor man found comfort. From Luke chapters 14 thru 16 Jesus makes His point about wealth and poverty, health and sickness, lost and found. In each parable the weak, the sick, the poor… find God’s favor and help. The man who takes the lowly seat is exalted, the poor man is invited to the feast, the one who is lost is found. In contrast, the one who sits at the seat of honor is dishonored, the invited guests miss the feast, the unfaithful steward lost his position. Each of these parables were pointed at the pride of the Pharisees, the bigots …who took offense by the teachings of Jesus. “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.” Luke 16:14 — All previous parables led to the story of the rich man who ate well each day while the poor man begged for crumbs. The Rich Man and Lazarus 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.” QUESTIONS: What was the theology of the poor man? Was the poor man, a man of faith? Were the dogs licking the sores of a dying man out of compassion,
or were they junkyard dogs waiting to devour the rotting corpse of a dying man? Were the poor, the beggars… known to steal food to feed the empty bellies of their family? As Jesus walked the earth, were not the beggars and the thieves one of the same profession? Was the thief on the cross baptized with immersion or a sprinkle? Was the thief, the poor man and the bleeding woman regular church attenders? The best news of the GOOD NEWS is that God the Father does NOT demand or command that any person “believe” in a doctrine, but only that they have FAITH in Jesus Christ as the Son of God…..to be saved. Where is the gospel in the story of “The Rich Man and Lazarus”? Where is the good news? Perhaps it is that the 633+ rules that were added to the 10 commandments were all simplified in what Jesus said “Love one another as I love you”. Did the rich man demonstrate love or compassion towards the beggar at his gate? Did poor Lazarus steal from the rich man? Did God know the condition of both their hearts? Were both judged by God for how they loved, or by their appearance? The people known as Pharisees came about during the 400 year period of silence between the last prophet of the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament. The Old Testament tells about Levite Priests, Judges, Prophets and Kings, all appointed by God, but has no mention of the religious orders of Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees, Sanhedrin, and many of these other groups. These new groups produced so many restrictions and rules that made it almost impossible for anyone to come to God. No wonder Jesus was angry. Jesus is talking to the crowds who are following Him and to His disciples, not the Pharisees; and He is telling the crowds, “Do as they say but not as they do.” Jesus did NOT reject what the scripture says. He just rejected how the scripture scholars acted upon His words. Matt 23:1-36. During our faith journey, we will all suffer pain and enjoy moments of bliss. It is wise to stop and consider all the doors that have opened for us, and all the doors closed to us. Asking “what is the lesson, or the PARABLE? My application? Can i hear what the Spirit is saying? When I count my blessings, do I thank God for giving me ears to Him?
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 11:15 “I was blinded, and now I see!” Praise God for understanding, for the hearing of the still small voice!
“The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Ex 4:11
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Acts 20:28
“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live
a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Ephesians 4:1
‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21