#0008 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
My Objective in this BLOG and in posting controversial articles isn’t to be radical and disrespectful toward religion and religious doctrine, specifically…but rather to challenge readers to think on their own—and to think deeper about God and to get a more specific image of their very own, of who God is. This can’t be accomplished as long as preconceived images of Him remain in our minds. All of us carry around in our heads incorrect images of God; we carry other images or ideas about God that have gotten skewed somehow; there are still other ideas about Him—to which we hold tightly—and we’re not exactly sure what it is we’re supposed to do with them. The images of God that fall into these areas we would ultimately be better off rejecting. If we can’t do that, then we would do well to at least set them aside—even if it’s only for a time. If we are unable to do this or are unwilling to do it—we won’t be able to move forward in our spirituality and in our relationship with Him; but if we can get to the place where we are able to do this—then reading and responding to this BLOG might prove helpful in your spiritual journey.
Let’s face it, if we can’t get real with God, we will never be able to pull off getting real with humans—including ourselves. But if we can make it happen, that would be really something, for many reasons. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” is something Jesus said lots of time while He was with people—teaching them. I think He repeatedly said it because He didn’t want people jumping to conclusions over the things He was talking about. But they did it anyway and today humans have made a science out of jumping to conclusions. This phrase sums up a sentiment that is fleeting. I’m sure Jesus had crowds and certain fans who would follow Him from town to town just to see Him and hear His words over and over again. In doing this, these people must have heard Him deliver the very same or similar sermons more than once and even though the words He used may have been the same, the essence of His message—the life within it—would ebb and flow in their hearing, depending upon where their heads were and where their hearts were. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Back in 1970 I watched a slide series presentation outlining the doctrine of the RLDS Church; it was during this viewing that I first experienced this fleeting sentiment in a very real and pungent way. The series was set up categorically making it easy to follow the gist of the information. I was one of 3 or 4 guys going through the slides at the time and the way the presenters had it set up—we would cover a set of slides dealing with a different category each week. Over the course of several weeks, not everyone was able to make all the sessions; so consequently there was quite a lot of rerunning of the sets that one or more of us had missed. The final set in the series was entitled: Life after Death and that one they ended up showing several times. It was really a good set—very powerful and persuasive and I remember (as vivid as if it happened only last night) at the end seeing it for the 3rd time, I experienced this fleeting sentiment of knowing, beyond all doubt, that there was a God and that He knew me intimately and He loved me, for reasons I couldn’t (and still can’t) comprehend. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Doctrine and religion tends to work against this entire concept of the fleeting sentiment Jesus invited His audiences to experience in His use of this short phrase. He would use it as a kind of 1st Century rendition of hash tagging His best stuff for His followers. Another way to think of it is as one side of a pair of bookends which Jesus would often use to frame key principles or concepts of the Kingdom. He that hath ears to hear… was His ending phrase or His right-side bookend. The opener He often used—His left-side bookend—was the phrase, verily, verily, I say unto thee. Verily, verily is how it is worded in the KJV but in another translation the phrase is: very truly I tell you… If I was following Jesus around on His speaking tour and if at any time during one of His sermons I heard Him say: Verily, verily, I say unto thee…I would quickly punch the record button on my tape machine and let it run until I heard the He that hath ears to hear, let him hear line; because I would want to catch everything said in between these bookends. I’m not saying He would use these two phrases together every time He wanted to highlight something important (He’s not a robot, after all) He was a dynamic speaker, however and the stuff He was saying—stuff that would be impacting the whole of humanity from then on—was exciting both for Him to share as God in the flesh and for human beings of all kinds and all times to hear. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Along with the formation and maturation of the Christian religion, however this entire concept of a fleeting sentiment of truth is no longer on the table for His followers. It has been replaced by doctrines and authorities and formulae and the denominational mindset. Baptized Christians see themselves metaphorically as walking a tightrope toward the stanchion of salvation. It appears to them as if there is little or no wiggle room—no margin of error—God is a zero tolerance kind of guy. When they read: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” they hope their minister or pastor or priest, or whatever is included among those having these types of ears. They’re almost sure Jesus couldn’t be talking to them, after all they never went to divinity school; how would they be able to understand Him?