The Grace to Hear

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Genesis 42:18-28; 1 Corinthians 5:9-6:11; Mark 4:1-20

From the Reformer

Here you see that it is not enough that signs be shown and the Word be taught, unless the Spirit is within the one who teaches. Thus Pharaoh with his people paid no attention to the signs of Moses, and the Pharisees even blasphemed against the signs of Christ. So great is the hardness of the human heart that it is moved by no signs and wonders, is affected by no words, and is shaken by no threats.

—Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol 9, p 272

Pulling It Together

“But you did not listen,” Reuben reminded his brothers. (Gen 42:22) Paul said that he wrote warnings to the Corinthians. Evidently, they had not heeded his admonitions.

We do not always listen, which often means that we do not clearly hear. In a scene from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” Jesus is teaching the multitudes, and one in the crowd who has been busy talking, instead of listening, wonders why Jesus said, “Blessed are the cheese makers.” Soon, their conversation degenerates into considerations of the general blessed state of “any manufacturers of dairy products.”

When the word of God is preached, it is perceived in a variety of ways. Some hear but do not understand. Others, like those in the Python scene, have the word snatched away because they are too busy with their own ideas of religion. Others are preoccupied with people, worldly concerns, and other cares, and so, the word does not take root because they have been listening to themselves, instead of to God.

Others, actually hear or understand because grace has been given them to “seriously ponder the Word, hear it, and put it to use.” (The Book of Concord, p 379)

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