Jesus taught in parables, stories involving familiar (to His hearers) life situations, in order to teach kingdom truths. After He tells His first parable (of the sower), Jesus cries out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

When His disciples ask Him what the parable means, Jesus tells them:

“To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parable, that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'” (Luke 8:10)

So what was different about the disciples? Why were THEY “given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God…”? What is the difference between the disciples (the ones with “ears to hear”) and “the rest”?

ONLY ONE THING…

THEY CHOSE TO FOLLOW JESUS.

The disciples weren’t smarter than “the rest.” They weren’t richer, or wiser, or gifted teachers, or anything else that would warrant this GIFT of having ears to hear.

Many of them were poor uneducated fishermen. But another was a ‘sinful’ tax collector. And one of the women in His group had been possessed by demons.

Nope, there was nothing about the disciples that warranted this gift of hearing ears.

There was ONE difference… ONLY ONE…

THEY CHOSE TO FOLLOW JESUS.

…above all else! They left family, and jobs, and homes to follow Jesus.

This choice is available to US as well, this invitation to follow Jesus, to be “given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.”

So what does it mean to FOLLOW JESUS? The answer is in the parable that Jesus tells of the sower. To FOLLOW JESUS is to be “good ground.” It means that when we hear “the word [of God] with a noble and good heart” we “keep it and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)

And finally, just in case we are still not getting it… when Jesus is told that His mother and brothers are waiting to see Him, He says, “My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)

So this is the definition of following Jesus according to Jesus. This is the way to receive the gift of HEARING EARS…

Listen for the word of God (Scripture, prayer, fellowship with believers). Surrender and submit to that word “and do it.” THAT IS FOLLOWING JESUS.

It isn’t just feeling warm fuzzy thoughts about Jesus. It isn’t posting happy memes about Jesus. It isn’t even going to church on Sunday. FOLLOWING JESUS requires our whole life. But in return we are “given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.”

I want that.

With my whole heart, mind, soul and spirit… I want that.

Lord Jesus, please give me hearing ears!!