Am I listening to Jesus? Do I hear what He is saying? Do I have ears to hear?
Of course, I have ears. Obviously, I can listen. Will I listen though? I must choose.
I choose to listen to Jesus. That is my commitment. So be it!
The key, found later in this story is to:
- Hear the word – It all starts with listening.
- Welcome it – Hearing the truth from Jesus has to be welcomed. I must be open. I must accept it and let it into my life.
- Produce fruit – Listening must lead to action. I have to do something with what I’ve heard.
Again he began to teach by the sea, and a very large crowd gathered around him. So he got into a boat on the sea and sat down, while the whole crowd was by the sea on the shore. He taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching, he said to them: “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly, since the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce fruit. Still other seed fell on good ground and it grew up, producing fruit that increased thirty, sixty, and a hundred times.” Then he said, “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.” | Mark 4:1-9
Why did Jesus teach in parables? His disciples asked Him that very question. A careful study of His reply reveals that Jesus used parables both to hide the truth and to reveal it.
The crowd did not judge the parables; the parables judged the crowd. The careless listener, who thought he knew everything, would hear only a story that he did not really understand; and the result in his life would be judgment. The sincere listener, with a desire to know God’s truth, would ponder the parable, confess his ignorance, submit to the Master Jesus, and then begin to understand the spiritual lesson Jesus wanted to teach.
Here is the literal translation:
9 And he was saying, “[The person] who has ears to hear [with] had better hear!”
Jesus started with a direct command to his audience that they listen to this parable: “You [plural]—hear!” Now he both individualizes the command “who has” [singular] and makes it indirect “who has” [rather than “You”] to include anyone outside as well as inside his immediate audience, so that anyone in the audience of Mark’s good news book is included, for instance.
Such a person is supposed to put his ears to good use by listening to the parable. Jesus will interpret as a parable about different kinds of hearing. Having ears to hear with doesn’t imply there are people without ears. It only emphasizes the usefulness of ears for hearing.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Mk 4:1–41). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 121). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 152). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.