ATP Blog 29
Two things come to mind with that title: ‘Do you hear what I hear?’ and ‘Hear ye, hear ye!’ The first is from a Christmas song about animals talking to humans, trying to get across the message of the Messiah’s arrival. The other is the exclamation at courts, trying to get people’s attention to the matter at hand. What does it mean to ‘hear’ what someone is saying?
Defining ‘Hear’ The Greek word acouow has a fuller meaning than how we tend to use the English word ‘hear.’ It has the meaning of listening, understanding, and considering action. When I was teaching in public school, I would often ask students, ‘Are you hearing what I am saying?’ I wanted them to not only listen, but to seek understanding, then put it to practice. Testing would then come to evaluate their understanding and ability to practice the skill. The same is in our Spiritual lives. God is asking you, ‘Do you hear what I am telling you?’
Purpose of ‘Hearing’ Why is it important to hear from God? Verse 24 says, ‘He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.’ There is a progression: first, you hear what God is saying (My Word), in this case, through Jesus Christ. Once you have processed and considered what you have heard, you must decide to believe what you have heard. Again, we come to a word that has a bigger meaning than we normally use: believe. In the Bible, the word insinuates action, not just a mental decision.
Result of ‘Hearing’ After hearing and believing, comes the result of everlasting life. Processing and believing was your part of the process; life giving is the result given by the Father in reward for true belief. The final step in the progression, another gift from God, is the relief from judgment. This means that you are now under the umbrella of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, and the judgment that sends people to hell no longer applies to you; your debt has been paid by Christ. Your judgment now will be regarding your good works, and rewards for eternity.
People who ‘Hear’ Generally, we think of ‘hearers’ being those who are alive, and in the vicinity of the speaker. The Bible carries the definition must further, since God is capable of anything (except to sin). Those who hear, thanks to scripture, carries forward from those who physically heard Christ, to those of us who ‘hear’ through the reading and listening to Scripture (God’s written word). Then we get to verse 25, which says, ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.’ ‘The dead’ could refer to those who had physically died from creation to that point, but more likely refers to the spiritually dead. Those who are ‘dead in their sins,’ as Jesus put it, do not have the ability to comprehend God’s Word (a part of hearing, as we have discussed), and thus it passes through their ears without effect, until the Spirit of God enables them (us) to process the information, and make a choice to believe what God has said.
You who ‘Hear’ So, you have heard God’s Word … every Sunday, every time you read the Bible, every time you read this blog, every time you attend a Bible Study. Now, what will you do with what you have heard? Will you truly ‘hear’ it, believing God, and letting it change your life (actually, giving you true life)?