Links Daily Devotional

Openness to Jesus

“Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I will heal them.” (Acts 28:27b, NIV)

Golf courses are designed for trouble—bunkers, water, trees, mounds. And when your ball starts going sideways, suddenly all that trouble becomes all your eyes can see. So when I am walking with a player that I coach, I will often remind him to “see targets, not trouble.” You can retrain your mind to look for pictures that help in your preshot preparation.

Likewise, professional caddies feed the ears of their players as much positive reinforcement as possible. Listen in on any given weekend and you’ll repeatedly hear, just as a player moves to set up over a shot, something like this from the caddie: “I like that club. This is your shot.” The caddie knows just what he wants his player to hear: good stuff.

The lesson is simple. Our eyes often can see what they want to see and our ears hear what they want to hear. More than that, our hearts can give their affection to what they will.

In the closing paragraphs of the book of Acts, Paul was delivering the message of Jesus as Messiah to a gathering of Jewish leaders in Rome. Some, we are told, were convinced by Paul’s message, but others staunchly held their ground. Upon hearing their disagreement with one another, Paul invoked a prophetic passage from Isaiah 6 to describe what he saw happening.

Through Isaiah, God had said that He would make callous the hearts of those who wanted nothing to do with Him. Now Paul, in the first of verse 27, confirmed that this had occurred among the Jews—many had calloused hearts that could not receive the message of salvation in Jesus. They had, in effect, closed their eyes, covered their ears, and shut off their desires to know the fullness of God. What a tragic condition, a mortal illness!

In advancing beyond this observation, Paul announced that he would carry the message of Jesus’ salvation to the Gentiles, for “they will listen!” (v. 28).

We might, if we are not Jewish, be tempted here to delineate between the Jewish people and the rest of us. We might feel emboldened toward superiority. But like Paul, we must see the facts in the world around us. And when we do, in humility and truth we must admit that (a) so many Gentiles too have taken up the no-see, no-hear, no-desire stance toward God; and (b) an increasing number of Jews are finding Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah of Scripture—their hearts have turned!

What is the right response is to walk in this way: keep our eyes peeled, our ears open, and our hearts yearning for who God is, that we may see His love make fruit in us and that His glory may be revealed through us.

Jeff Hopper

August 18, 2011

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