Monday, April 8, 2013

Back in Matthew - How Do You Listen?

After taking an eight week break from Matthew to do the Community Bible Experience, it is time to finish up the book!  It was such an interesting contrast to read through the entire New Testament in such a short amount of time after taking sixteen weeks to read through 15 chapters.  I was blessed with such a different view while reading through it so quickly!  After reading small sections of verses, there were some wonderful treasures I found in looking at a broader view.  Don't you just love what a rich and amazing gift God gave us with the Bible?  But, now it is time to finish the book of Matthew and I am ready to dig in!  Please read Matthew 16:1-12 (for the last eight weeks, I haven't linked up to Bible Gateway, so I just wanted to remind you that if you click on the verses, it will take you to biblegateway.com where you can choose to read different versions).

These verses are interesting on so many levels for me.  First, Jesus was asked for a sign and Jesus refused to give the Pharisees a sign.  Instead, He told them that they will receive the sign of Jonah, which I am sure angered them.  Then He told the disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which confused them.  I don't know about you, but these verses make me laugh a little because the disciples were just like us!  They were upset that they forgot to bring bread, so they immediately assumed that Jesus was talking about the bread.  But He wasn't even thinking about the bread; He was trying to warn the disciples against listening to teaching that can lead them astray.

First, I want to point out that the "sign of Jonah" is a reference to the fact that Jonah was in the fish for three days and spit out on the third day.  Jesus was telling them that the only sign He would give them was His death and resurrection on the third day.  He pointed out that they spent so much time studying, yet they still didn't recognize their Savior when He was right there talking to them.  Jesus warned the disciples not to follow the Pharisee's examples because their teaching would only lead them away from Jesus.  But, in both cases the main point was being missed.  However, after correction, the disciples soon understood what Jesus was really telling them.

Why do you think that Jesus was misunderstood?  It is part of our human experience, isn't it?  We misunderstand each other and we are misunderstood.  This is because we often listen to what is being said through our own filters rather than the filter of the person speaking to us.  For example, if I am not always honest to people and say one thing when I really mean something else, I will probably assume that everyone else talking to me is doing the same.  Because of that, I will always be listening to them with a filter of distrust.  Other things that can play a role in this is our past hurts and experiences.  But, when we are listening to others we need to consider their experiences and listen to what they are really saying.  And we need to believe and know that when we read the Bible, that it is truth.  We also need to consider the context and for whom the text was written so we can understand it better.  That is challenging, isn't it?

Are you listening to what the people around you are really saying, or are you listening with your own personal filters?  Are you listening to God as the voice of truth?

This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. We truly need to become better listeners of each other & of God. May He give us ears that hear! I was your neighbor at Sharing His Beauty. Blessings!

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  2. Your last words remind me: 'What others think of you is none of your business'. Lovely post, thanks for sharing.

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