by Barry Newton
After graduating from High School, I spent my days in an Australian foundry near the banks of the Brisbane river. The raging heat from the electric furnace exceeding 2000 degrees Fahrenheit would cause us to perspire heavily, while ingots of brass and gunmetal within the cauldron would slough down into glowing molten metal.
Admittedly, we were not as close to the raw heat as the metal. Nevertheless, the same heat that dried us out would liquefy those heavy bricks. You might say, the heat revealed something about each of our natures.
In a similar way, Jesus knew his parables would affect people differently. Those already blind, because their hearts were calloused, would not be moved to turn toward God and receive healing. Conversely, these very same stories would lead those who were seeking to take further steps to inquire and draw nearer with ever greater understanding.
Jesus’ message to us in Matthew 13:10-17 is sobering. It warns us that help comes, not through some external source that will force us to respond favorably, but by already being receptive and inquisitive.
May the words Jesus spoke to those early disciples, that is, to those who already demonstrated their openness to following after him, also be words he could use to commend us.
“Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” (Matthew 13:16).
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