“Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
In the Old Testament we see that the prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s coming judgment. God tires of his people’s disobedience and sends Isaiah with the harsh message: “You have a choice: Go on not seeing and hearing, or turn from your wicked ways and be healed.”
Israel’s blindness blocked their healing and led to their exile to a distant land. However, there was a glimmer of hope: “the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” If you cut down a tree and leave the stump, new growth can sprout from it. God does not give up on his people.
Jesus quotes Isaiah’s mysterious words as he explains why he teaches in parables (Matthew 13:15). But such disappointing words are not the end of God’s mercy. Jesus sees new growth on the stump and says to his disciples, “Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” (13:16).
Paul also refers to Isaiah’s words when he meets resistance from Jewish leaders in Rome and they reject the good news of salvation through Jesus (Acts 28:23-27). Paul then concludes, “God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” (Acts 28:28).
It may seem, at first, that God blocks the healing. But as we follow these words through Scripture, we see that God longs for his people to “turn and be healed.”
Open our eyes and ears, Lord, that we may see and hear. Give us understanding of your good news, and guide us to prepare for your coming. Amen.
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