What Did He Say?

Today is Fathers Day (June 20, 2021). I wanted to write a Fathers Day article, but bear with me. I must provide context first. Distinguish between not hearing, not listening, and not understanding. Not hearing might literally mean that you have an impediment that prevents your hearing words or sounds. I have that. I am mostly deaf in my right ear due to an outbreak of shingles that destroyed nerves in the right side of my face and shoulder. Also, I have severe Tinnitus in that ear because my mind interprets the vibrations on the eardrum to be white noise (sounds like a rush of wind all of the time). I lost both the upper and lower ranges of my hearing in both ears due to military activity (I was subjected to deafening Naval Aircraft noise as a Navy Pilot and about a year of noise from 155 MM howitzers being fired).

“Not hearing” can also mean not cooperating. Have you ever tried to get cooperation from someone and that person took a stance against you?” “No sir! I will not hear of it!” In the Christian Bible, “not hearing” means not believing the Word of God.

Not listening means that you are inattentive. It could be that your mind is at work on some thought other than the message that you hear someone say to you. You have “tuned out” the talking person’s words. Maybe you detest the subject of the talking person’s words. You don’t want to hear what he says. Web search synonyms of “not listening.” There are a lot of descriptive terms for it, which implies that it is common for people to appear to be listening, but their thoughts are anywhere but where their body is located.

Not understanding means that you do not derive the correct or intended explanation of what has been said to you. Not hearing could lead to not listening or to not understanding, but not understanding is a distinct impediment from not hearing and from not listening.

Web search Matthew 11: 25-30. Matthew is one of three of Jesus’ disciples who were particularly diligent at writing down what Jesus said during his three-year ministry. Cross check what Matthew wrote with the writings of Disciples Mark and Luke in order to gain context (the meaning) that Jesus wanted to convey to us. In my study Bible, sections of scriptures are bound with a summary heading. For this particular set of verses, the summary heading is “Rest for the Weary.” I do not believe that Matthew wrote that. Some other person tried to summarize what Jesus said.

A conundrum is a mystery. Matthew 11: 25-30 succinctly provides the reader with a glimpse into the mystery of God, and “Rest for the Weary” falls way short of what you should get out of reading what Jesus said. Jesus begins by praising God for hiding meaning that a child can find easily, but adults cannot (“not listening”). Why? The Bible contains verses that tell us that God is personally involved in creating (knowing) every unborn child, and that after birth, every child retains an innocence that maintains that strong connection with God. The child begins to lose this perception of God as he or she is indoctrinated by adults into the ways of the world, but the child retains the grace of God, even if he or she no longer perceives it.

Next, Jesus states that God has given him power, that the relationship between Jesus (the Christ and the Son of God) and God (the Father) is personal, and it is very strong. Jesus said, “No one knows the Son (Jesus, himself) like the Father (God) and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son Chooses to reveal him.” Think about that last part. Did Jesus say that we cannot (on our own) save ourselves? Does he clearly say to each of us that we must come to God through him (Jesus) and seek to hear, to listen, and to understand (through him) what pleases God?

Now, read the third and final part (Matthew 11: 28-30). His words are an invitation to you. You accept his invitation when you pray, in Jesus name, to God. Web search The Lord’s Prayer to find the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples. Open your prayer that way, then just talk about what you want God to hear, to listen to, and to understand. End your prayer like this: “In Jesus name I pray, amen.” Hint: Be sincere in prayer. Be humble and long on thanking God for the grace that he gives you and has given you since you were a child. Ask God to open your ears (and eyes) so you can hear, listen to, and understand what God wants you to do.