Let me take you back to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and pull out some verses that will sort of wrap around what Jesus is saying here and tie a bow on it. Matthew 4:23 says that – “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Matthew 9:35 – “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom.” Luke 16:16 – “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached.” Matthew 6:10 – “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 10:7 – “As you go, proclaim this message: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Over and over in the Parables Jesus repeated the words – “The kingdom of God is like…” So, my question is “What was the focus of Jesus’ teaching and preaching?” The kingdom.
Luke 4:43 tells us – “But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” He has been doing this for nearly three years now, and the people still don’t get it! In fact, the disciples are not really sure that they get it! So, Jesus takes the time to fully explain the Parables to them. He says “the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” This begs the question, “Why?” Well it’s an “eye, ear, and heart” issue! Listen again to the answer Jesus gave them to their question – “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts.” The people were following Jesus around, but they were not really seeking. Here is the first key to being a seeker; Our hearts, souls, and minds must be filled with the desire to know and love God completely; with no reservations. If we have this desire, then our eyes will be fully open to see truth in God’s Word; our ears will be fully open to hear all that is preached and taught through sermons and Bible studies; and our hearts will be opened to understanding through the work of the Holy Spirit. In Christian circles we call this a “hunger for God and His Word”.
It is when our “hunger and thirst for righteousness” is filled by the life-giving understanding of the Holy Spirit, that we are truly Blessed!