Friday, January 4, 2008

Are You Just Listening?

Matthew 21:45 When the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parable they knew He was speaking about them.

Imagine sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him teach and knowing that the parable He just told to show you the wickedness of men's hearts was directed toward you. And then doing nothing to change or repent. That is exactly what the Pharisees did, and that is exactly what we do every time we open the Word of God and ignore what it says.

But why did the Pharisees not respond to Jesus teaching? The verse above tells us that they knew He was speaking about them, yet they did nothing to change. In fact the very next verse tells us that they were looking for a way to have Him arrested, and that the only reason they didn't was because they feared the crowds. I think that one reason that they didn't follow Jesus' teaching and repent is that they believed that they were so righteous they didn't need to repent. But it was also because they didn't recognize Jesus for who He is. They hadn't recognized any of the prophets that God had sent to teach them, and had in fact they had had many of them killed. Now they have the very Son of God in their midst, and they are rejecting Him as well.

But are the Pharisees really that much different from us? Don't we look at ourselves as better than we really are, and at others as worse than they really are? Don't we ignore Jesus' teaching if we don't like what He said? Jesus tells the Pharisees that the kingdom of God will be taken away from them and given to a nation that is producing the fruit of righteousness, and that is exactly what happened. Because the Jewish people rejected their Messiah the gospel went to the gentiles and the Church was born.

I don't think we can apply this teaching to the church the same way that it applied to the nation of Israel, because Jesus taught that His Church would continue until His return. But I think we can look at this and apply the principles here to the individuals within the Church (by which I mean us). James tells us to be doers of the word and not just hearers who are deceived (James 1:19-25), and this is good advice. Spend some time today asking God to show you any area of your life where you have ignored what He has told you to do... And repent.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great reminder!

I think the other thing is that it is not that we don't listen. Many of us do listen but we put off doing the things that the LORD has instructed us to.

I believe procrastination is a snare of the devil -- that though we might listen, we are snared into some comfortable ground and do nothing about what we've learned and which we know applies to us.

I am personally guilty of this.

Your post has reminded me to gird up and go do!

Thank you again for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts. Thank you also for your kind words. It's a blessing to have 'discovered' your blog.

Shalom Aleichem.