Eyes To See and Ears To Hear

We have the story of Stephen, one of the chosen seven, in Acts 6:8-7:1 “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.’ And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.  Then the high priest said, ‘Are these things so?’”  Stephen proceeded to give a brief history of the Israelite people, starting with Abraham and going to King Solomon.  This part of his response assured the Jewish leaders that he supported their common Jewish heritage. But Steven was disturbed by the hardness of the hearts of the Jewish leaders.  He ended his response with the following rebuke.  Acts 7:51-58 “’You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.’ When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”  The Jewish leaders did not want to accept Jesus as the Christ. They saw the great wonders and signs but they did not want to believe. They were “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears.”  They were not open to hearing the truth.  They were so closed to hearing the truth that they stopped their ears and proceeded to stone Steven.

Even today we have people who have stopped their ears so that they do not hear the truth.  Many do not want to hear about God and believe in Him; they want to believe in evolution and no supreme, creative power.  They do not want to hear that Jesus died for them so that their sins may be forgiven or that there will come a judgement day where all will be judged according to their works here on earth.  They have closed their eyes and ears to the truth.  Jesus taught about the kingdom in parables.  Matthew 13:10-16 “And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.’”  Many today are hard of hearing and have closed their eyes lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that Jesus should heal them.  Pray for God to open their eyes and ears.

But even you and I who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior may have blind spots, sometimes called scotomas.  Jesus taught in Matthew 7:3-5 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  We can see the faults of others but we may not be able to see our own failings.  We may judge others for not being loving when we ourselves are not loving.  We may judge others for being hypocrites when we ourselves are hypocrites.  There may be many places where we have blind spots about our problems or excuse ourselves for our faults.  Pray to God that He would open your eyes to see what you need to change in your life.

You may be blind to something that God has revealed in the scriptures.  The apostle Paul talks about those who did not receive the love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).  I encourage you to love the truth of God, even if it means changing what you believed in the past. Pray for God to open your eyes to His truth.

Finally, we all should be led by the Spirit.  Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Are your eyes and ears open to the leading of the Holy Spirit within you? Pray to God to open your ears and give you sight to see where the Spirit is leading you in your life.

I encourage you to pray for those who have shut their eyes and closed their ears that they may see and hear what they need to perceive.  Also, pray to God that He would give you eyes to see and ears to hear what He wants you to see and hear.

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