When Jesus taught his disciples He often used parables. When His disciples asked Him why He taught in parables He replied, “‘Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them'” (Matthew 13:11 NIV). He goes on to tell them those who do not follow His teaching are fulfilling the words of Isaiah the prophet.

“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'”

Matthew 13:13-15 (NIV)

If you’re like me it might seem like Jesus’ response was as mysterious as the parables He taught. However, I believe there is a key to understanding the words of Christ. Therefore, I want to take a look at what Jesus meant when He said people have eyes but do not see, ears that do not hear and have calloused hearts.

When searching for answers about the things we read of in the Bible the best place to find those answers is in the Bible. The first course of action is to always ask God. Each day, before I start my reading, I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s word to me. After all, all Scripture is in the inspired word of God by the Holy Spirit, so it just makes sense to ask the author to explain the meaning of His work. Fortunately, the Lord has provided us with different translations of His word to assist us in understanding. If you’re studying the Bible in English then you have over 50 different works to choose from. If we turn to John 9 we read about Jesus healing a man who was born blind. I think the key to understanding our question, “What did Jesus mean when, ‘He said people have eyes but do not see, ears that do not hear, and hearts that are calloused'” can be found here in John 9. Allow me to suggest you take a moment to read it since I’m not going to go through it in this text.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus, “‘Are we blind too?'” they were on to something (John 9:40). Jesus tells them, “‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains'” (John 9:41 NIV). Although Jesus healed the man who was born blind the Pharisees couldn’t get over the fact Jesus had healed the man on the Sabbath. They thought they loved God because they followed His laws. In following the Laws of God they forgot who God was. Therefore, they were spiritually blind to the works of God. Yes, they could see the physical things of the world but their spiritual blindness kept them from seeing, and understanding, what God was doing in the world.

Thusly, those who claim to be able to see the things of God because they can see the things of the world are, in fact, blind. We can apply the same principle then, to hearing things. One might hear perfectly the sounds of birds singing, greeting the splendor of the day. However, if one cannot hear the voice of God, whispering His love, then one might as well be deaf. So, if eyes that are blind, and ears that are deaf, refer to spiritual blindness, and deafness then what about the heart?

In the book of Genesis, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5 NIV). If you search through the Bible you’ll find the heart is often paired with the mind and spirit. That’s because the Bible isn’t talking about the physical heart as much as it is referring to the character of an individual. Our character is made of our thoughts and the reasons behind those thoughts. When we act, therefore, we are displaying our character or our heart.

Human beings have been gifted with different senses. I grew up with the understanding we had five senses; sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. However, scientists are discovering more. Our senses tell us about our environment, and we can differentiate from things such as light and darkness because we have learned, through our senses, what these things are. In short, our senses tell us things we already know because we have experienced them before. When we experience something we don’t know we’ll try and associate it with something we do know. I suppose this is why so many meats might taste like chicken to some people.

The main problem we all have is we act on the things we think we know. There’s nothing wrong with behaving based on experience. It can literally be the difference between living and dying if we don’t learn about things like gravity. However, when we trust that all we can sense is all that is real, we have, whether or not we realize it, become prideful.

I know it might not seem like pride that tells you iguana takes like chicken. However, if you lived somewhere that didn’t have chickens and never had tasted chicken, but had eaten an abundance of iguana, then chicken would taste like an iguana, right? What, you might ask, does this have to do with seeing, hearing, and the heart? Good question. When we decide something in our heart, then we can see, from the chicken, it shapes our perception of reality, and what we believe. Therefore, what we see we believe, not based on what we see, but on what we have seen before.

When everything we perceive is based on what we think we already know then, isn’t that pride? How does Merriam-Webster define pride?

1: the quality or state of being proud: such as
a: inordinate self-esteem: CONCEIT
b: a reasonable or justifiable self-respect
c: delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship
parental pride
2: proud or disdainful behavior or treatment: DISDAIN

Conceit and disdain are two words I see that reveal the pride we’re looking at here.

What can we say then about blind eyes that see, ears that hear but are deaf, and hearts that are hardened? The one in this condition is prideful and believes in the things they know more than the things of God. This person lacks the humility to comprehend that they can be wrong.

My friends, when I think about all of the qualities that make up someone who loves God, the greatest of these is humility. We are not called to live lives that glorify ourselves but lives that promote the love of God. We are called to love each other. When I was a child and my sister and I was fighting, my mother would tell us we ought to behave and love one another because one day they would be gone and we’d only have each other. When I look around today, however, I see brothers and sisters, many of whom, are lost and without hope, drowning in this dark world. If we walk around claiming we can see and hear, and we do nothing for the lost, then perhaps the love of God is not in us.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.