“He who has ears, let him hear.”
– Matt 13.9
Yesterday I was chewing on the simple fact that apart from the Holy Spirit, we are all Spiritually dead (Eph 2.1); that we need God to breathe immortal, spiritual life into our mortal bodies so that we can repent and know and love Him. And it requires the working of the Spirit to open our eyes and ears to see and hear. This is why Jesus often concluded His parables and teachings with the phrase, “He who has ears, let him hear”. Not everyone has spiritual ears that can hear the Truth of the Gospel. This is what made the day of Pentecost so remarkable.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
– Acts 2.1-13
Pentecost was a holiday that Jews celebrated where they offered the first fruits from their harvest to God. This was one of only three holidays where all Jews were supposed to come to Jerusalem, and we see listed in the verses above that there were men from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2.5) with sixteen nations listed as an example of the diversity of countries represented. The disciples were actually speaking different languages (2.4), but there were more nations represented than those speaking in tongues. The miracle here is in the ear of the listener. What is most remarkable is that not only did they hear in their heart languages, but they heard with Spiritual ears and three thousand people were saved (Acts 2.41).
Jesus purposefully taught in parables so that people would not understand what He was teaching. They could hear the Spiritual truths with their physical ears, but it was given only to the apostles to learn the Spiritual meaning (Matt 13.11). Jesus did this to fulfill prophecy (Matt 13.14-15) and also to bring about His purpose on Earth in death, burial and resurrection. But when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, He came to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16.8) and to give people the ability to hear Spiritual truths and be transformed (2 Cor 5.17).
Thus we see the Apostles granted the ability to speak foreign languages and the languages were miraculously multiplied for the audience. But most importantly, three thousand people heard with Spiritual ears and were transformed (Acts 2.41).
Do you hear the truth in your heart?
Or do you hear the truth with your ears only?
We can test ourselves by our reaction to the Gospel. The natural man says, “Of course Jesus died for me, he loves me”. He also says, “I do not deserve death for my actions, I’m not that bad”. The Spiritual man says, “‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18.13). He says, “I know my sin damns me to Hell, but praise God for salvation through Jesus Christ.”