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God’s Ways, Understanding


The Scriptures contain the word of God revealed throughout the centuries through God’s representatives. Since God is spiritual, humans have limitations in understanding the mysteries of heaven. When Jesus revealed the mysteries of heaven, many could not understand him. Jesus had to interpret his parables to the disciples in private. He told them quoting Isaiah, “I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand’” (Mt 13:13).

Understanding the mysteries of heaven is a gift from God. That is why the Psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes to see clearly the wonders of your law” (Ps 119:18). Jesus said, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will” (Mt 11:25-26). Jesus granted the knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven to his disciples (Mt 13:11). Still, they often failed to understand Jesus’ actions and teachings, especially his predictions on his passion, death, and resurrection. After the third prediction of Jesus’ passion, Luke documents, “But they understood nothing of this; the word remained hidden from them and they failed to comprehend what he said” (Lk 18:34).

Listening to and understanding the Word of God can have a positive impact on the listener:

1. The twelve apostles left everything they had and followed Jesus full time during his public ministry (Mt 19:27; Lk 18:28), and later continued preaching the gospel facing persecution and martyrdom.

2.The Samaritan woman who spoke with Jesus helped the people of her town to become believers in Jesus (Jn 4:4-42). The Samaritans invited Jesus to their town. After listening to him, “they said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the saviour of the world’” (Jn 4:42).

3. Nicodemus, who had held discussions with Jesus at night (Jn 3:1-21) became an admirer of Jesus. He defended Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Jn 7:50-52) and cooperated with Joseph of Arimathea in the burial of Jesus, contributing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds (Jn 19:39-40).

4. While Jesus was interpreting the Scriptures “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” to the two disciples who were travelling to Emmaus, their hearts were burning within themselves (Lk 24:13-35).

5. When Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch who was reading Isaiah, he asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The eunuch’s reply was, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” (Acts 8:30-31) Philip’s interpretation led to the conversion and baptism of the eunuch, and he continued his journey rejoicing (Acts 8:35-39).

6. While Lydia from Thyatira, a dealer in purple cloth, listened to Paul’s preaching, “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying.” She and her household received baptism (Acts 16:14-15).
When Jesus opened the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures, they got better spiritual insight than ever before. Their doubts on the resurrection of Jesus were cleared, and they became more convinced of the Messiahship of Jesus.

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