15 For this people’s heart has become insensitive, and with their ears they hear only with difficulty, and they have closed their eyes, on the odd chance that they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and come back, and I would heal them.’
16 But your eyes are being blessed, because they now see, and your ears, because they now hear.
17 Honestly, I am telling you, many prophets and righteous people looked forward to seeing what you now see, but they did not see it then, and to hearing what you now hear, but they did not hear it then.
The crowds of Jewish Galilee had made their choice. They were now rejecting Christ and his message, although they had had the most intense evangelistic exposure anywhere at any time. Jesus explains that they had become insensitive in their hearts. They had chosen to blind their eyes to all those manifestations of the Holy Spirit – the healings and deliverances. They would listen to Jesus’ words, but they did so with difficulty, as if they had already taught themselves what he was going to say. So they would not respond to his challenges. If they would correspond to any of the paths in Jesus’ parable, it would be either the hard, rocky ground, or – for some of them – the thorny ground.
Anyone with any religious experience can become that way. We can judge everything we hear and see on the basis of our past experiences. Faith in Christ and his coming kingdom is all about being open to change, and expectant of something new. We need to be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do now, and what he is going to do next. Without that spiritual sensitivity, we might lose out on something vital.
LORD, forgive us for being ignorant of what you want to say, even as we read or listen to your words in Scripture. Give us spiritual sensitivity.