Reflections: February 7, 2021
By Jacob Ehrhard
As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Luke 8:8b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "John, don't forget to take out the trash!" "Yeah, mom," John replied as he continued progressing to the next level of his video game. The next morning, the trash was overflowing as John was snoring from his late-night gaming.
Having ears doesn't guarantee hearing, and hearing doesn't mean listening. This is the paradox of God's Word. People hear it and don't understand. And Jesus conceals the message intended for the world under difficult words. Even His explanation to the parable doesn't reveal much more than the parable itself.
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Jesus' exhortation needs to be paired with another that comes a few verses after the parable: "Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away" (Luke 8:18). It's not enough to simply hear. It's also how you hear.
So what should you listen for when you hear God's Word? The parable indicates one condition necessary for God's Word to bear fruit: "As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience" (Luke 8:15).
"Honest and good" is a technical term the Greeks used to refer to a character that was shaped by righteousness. In the context of the Gospel, the "honest and good heart" that receives God's Word and bears fruit with patience is a heart that hears God's Word and listens for the righteousness of God.
He who has ears to hear, let him listen for the righteousness of God that is found in Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in You, mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Sexagesima)
-Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL
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