By Jack Glover
As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8)
Every part of the human body has a purpose. The ear is the part that allows us to learn by hearing. Jesus had just spoken the parable of the sower to a large crowd of people when He uttered the words above. The apostles then asked Him the meaning of the parable. Jesus explained that the reaction of people to what they hear has different results.
The admonition “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” was a common statement of Jesus. It does not refer to the mere hearing of sound but the proper understanding of what was said. Thousands of people listened to Jesus speak the gospel, and did not understand or properly apply it. Even His apostles did not correctly perceive the new kingdom (church) or his death and resurrection (Acts 1:6).
The resistance to Jesus’ teaching fulfilled this prophecy of Isaiah: “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them” (Matt. 13:14-15).
How we hear (understand) is important because our salvation depends on correct obedience to the commandments.
One time a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” Jesus replied, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:27-28).
James said to “prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22), and Jesus pointed out that making claims of righteousness without obedience will only bring rejection by Him (Matt. 7:21-23). When the people told Jesus his Mother and brethren were desiring to speak with Him the response was, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21).
Hearing and obedience are linked throughout the Bible. Many people heard Jesus but refused to obey His words. How is your hearing?