Ears to Hear

John 16:5 “But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’”

Do you read the Bible?  If you do, why do you read it?  Hopefully, it is to listen to God’s own words and thus have your eyes opened to His revelation of those things that are critical to life and which otherwise you could not know.  When we are reading and studying His Word, we hopefully realize that we are literally sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing directly from Him.  This fact should change our perspective on everything.  However, it is very likely that, like the apostles to whom Jesus spoke in the verse above, our focus can be on earthly things at the very time that God is speaking to us of heavenly things. 

In John 16 Jesus is speaking to his followers about the fact that He was going to soon die and leave this world, going back to the Father.  This was not the first time He had told them this.  He was constantly speaking about the kingdom of God. He constantly had His eyes on the Father, doing the things the Father directed Him to do and saying the things the Father told Him to say.  He knew why He was on earth. It wasn’t to stay here and establish an earthly kingdom.  Satan had tempted Him with that opportunity.  It wasn’t to seek temporal blessings for Himself or those who followed Him. His eyes were always on heaven, on the Father, on the kingdom, and on eternity. 

As Jesus spoke to His apostles about His coming departure, none of them asked about where He was going.  None of them had any thought about “the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:1).  Their perspective was only on the fact that Jesus was leaving them, and they were going to be left without His physical presence. All their hopes of high positions and the power, privilege, and possessions in an earthly kingdom they thought Jesus was going to establish, were dashed.   What were they going to do?  They felt hopeless if Jesus was going to leave them. 

It would seem that many of the preachers we see on TV today have the same earthly perspective as Jesus’ apostles.  They are all the time talking about the privilege of the believer and God’s promises to bless them with temporal blessings. They are focused on the here and now and the pursuit of wealth, health, good jobs, and “success” – namely all the same things that everyone without Christ is seeking. They take the very teachings of Christ and twist them to an earthly and temporal focus, rather than a heavenly and eternal focus for which they were meant. 

As we read God’s Word today, may He help us to ask Him for eyes to see as He does, with a perspective from which He gave His words to us.  While it is generally true that following Christ can mean blessings in this life, it is also true that this is not a guarantee, and the truth is that persecution, loss of possessions, physical calamity, and even death can result.  But in spite of this, “not a hair of our head will perish” (Luke 21:18) when viewed from an eternal perspective. May God keep us from a Christianity that just focuses on “What’s in it for me?” in the here and now.  As we listen to the words of Christ, may we ask Him what He really wants us to know, for in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).   May we seek to know how we may glorify the God who saved us, rather than how we may gain advantages for ourselves from worldly “success.” May He give us a heart that knows that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).” May He truly give us ears to hear (Luke 14:35).

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