Having a Hearing Ear
November 1, 2020
He who has ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:15).
One of the rules to effective communication is to engage in ‘active hearing’. When I first came across that phrase it was in a counseling course in college. Since then I have heard it used a lot. When you think about it, it makes sense.
How many times have we, as men, heard our significant other ask pointedly, “Are you listening to what I’m saying!?” or “Did you hear me!?” This usually happens when our mind is thinking about something else other than what is being said - bottom line, we’re not paying attention.
This is nothing new. Back in the days of Jesus people had this same problem. In concluding His remarks about John the Baptizer, Jesus said a familiar biblical phrase, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” In fact it is used 11 times by Jesus in the Gospels and The Revelation. It’s a proverbial expression stating that the highest attention should be given to what is being said.
The words of Jesus concerning John the Baptizer were of the utmost importance to the Jews of that day. By identifying John as the one the prophet Malachi said would come in the spirit of Elijah, Jesus was telling the people that He Himself was the Messiah. Malachi said (4:5), Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. That day had come.
Jesus came to save Israel and to usher in His Kingdom. He knew His mission would not be successful, that He would be rejected by the Jews, and crucified. Judgment upon Israel would then come, the old covenant would be set aside, and the Jews would be scattered to the nations. That was the ‘great and terrible day of the Lord’.
In the Book of the Revelation, Jesus used this phrase to awaken the church to those things that brought Him concern, things that would destroy the witness and work of the church if they were not addressed and corrected. We need to pay attention to His words as well, for they pertain to us and to every church we minister in and through.
The tragedy is that many people are too busy with their lives, with their ministries, with their church programs to realize the dangers that go unnoticed. That was true of the 7 churches of the Revelation. Jesus sees all that goes on in the fellowship of believers. He hears all that is said. He knows our motives and intent. He commands that we listen to Him in our ministry because the church belongs to Him, the witness is His, He is the head and we are His body.
“Holy Spirit, give us ears to hear when You speak to us so that we may avert disaster in our churches. We know Satan has many methods to thwart the work of the church and to weaken the church. Continue to speak to us words of divine wisdom so that we will maintain a strong and effective witness for You. In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.”