Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eight times in the NT, the writer will say some version of--He who has ears to hear, let him hear, Matthew 11.15. This saying comes after parables or strong sayings by Jesus. In the Matthew passage, this saying comes after Jesus has told a multitude how important John was.

Jesus says there has never been anyone born of woman greater than John. Why? Because God said--behold I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You, Matt. 11.10. John took the place of an angel going before Jesus, preparing the way for Jesus to bring the kingdom of God to the world.

Then Jesus says--And if you care to accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come, Matt. 11.14. Why Elijah? On the last page of the OT, Malachi 4.5 says--Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet beore the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.

What all of this means is that when we read--He who has ears to hear, let him hear--we need to look at what was written just before that. We need to realize that an elevated level of spiritual insight is being conveyed. As the Lord God always spoke to Israel in the OT but never appeared to Israel, Jesus is saying that what He says is God speaking as God always spoke.

A perfect example is Matt. 11. Before 11.14 John sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He is--the Coming One or should we look for another? John is Jesus' cousin: he knows Jesus is the Coming One. What he is really saying to Jesus is, You can get me out of jail, if You want. Jesus refuses because John is to have a better resurrection by his beheading. So Jesus says--blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me, 11.6. This means to John, if you can accept your death, your resurrection will be glorious. John accepts it, so Jesus praises John.

In fact Jesus says John was in the spirit of Elijah, 11.14. Then Jesus says, He who has ears to hear, let him hear. This statement means, if you can accept John's death as from God as John was the spirit of Elijah who has come, if you can accept that then do so. You are blessed with greater spiritual insight into the kingdom of God if you can.

Now this is not easy to accept. An intentional death, the spirit of Elijah, the kingdom of God, all these things are there for the one who has the faith of God.

But few will accept them.

In Revelation 6 those in heaven who had been killed for their faith ask God to avenge their death upon their killers, 6.10, 11. John may have been among them. If we accept what Jesus said about John--that he has a better resurrection--we can accept Revelation 6 as a picture from heaven saying their deaths will be answered by the Lord God.
When we look at the description of John's clothes in Matt. 3.4 they are--a garment of camel's hair, a leather belt, with locusts and honey for food. In 2 Kings 1.8, Elijah is a hairy man with a leather girdle around his waist.

And if we can accept what John said about himself as the forerummer to Christ, if we can accept what Jesus says about John being in the spirit of Elijah, if we can accept that John's death is from God to give him a better resurrection, then we can be brought to a higher level of spiritual insight. John stood outside the kingdom, preparing the way. Jesus is the door to that kingdom, inviting us in to the kingdom.

That is, if he have ears to hear.

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