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“This is why I speak to them in parables:  “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:  ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

So, do we see and hear, elect?  Do we see the joy on the face of Magdalene and the excitement of her voice as she cried out, “I have seen the Lord”? Or do we still fail to see and hear the truth that comes out of the mouth of witnesses because we have been dulled by the incessant sounds of doubters, disbelievers and dissenters whose ears can only entertain the inevitable, not the impossible, and whose eyes can only see the dirt they come from and not the Heavens they are going to?  If three years of seeing the Lord Himself perform countless signs, wonders and miracles before them again and again, and hearing Him teach them simple truths that illuminated their hearts, could still leave the eleven dull of hearing and sight to Magdalene’s face and voice… then we must take heed and consider, less we too become one and ones who though seeing do not see and though hearing do not hear.

As much as you have begun to be shown the difference between the mercy, compassion and sympathy of the Lord, can you see them when they appear before your very eyes… these miracles, compassions and sympathies of the Lord, or when you hear of events in the world that are fulfilling the prophetic word of Jesus?  As prophecies turn to news, have you learnt to see and hear and know what you are seeing and hearing that you may also learn to decide and therefore judge correctly so that you do not condemn the innocent?

And who is the innocent that we are first speaking of?  Is it not the Lord Jesus, for He alone is the only Innocent One.  Even Judas realised, for he said, “I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood.” If he could see it, why could not the eleven and we who have believed their message that God would rise and rise quickly to bring Him justice, and deal with all who have lied about Him and presented Him slanderously to the world?  And do not forget those who disbelieved them and mocked Him.

So then, who has been lying about Jesus?  The demons?  No, for they shouted the truth when they screamed, “You are the Son of God,” and, “I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

Who are those who disbelieved Him?  Those who were not His own people?  No, for the Samaritan woman went and asked everyone, “Come, see a Man who told me everything I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?” when Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am He,” after she said, “I know that Messiah is coming.” See, elect, she did not say, “I believe the Messiah is coming,” but rather, she said with full expectation, “I know that Messiah is coming.  When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” Consider this… until the Lord by His grace called us out of the prostitute and made known to us clearly the Father He came to reveal, how many of us could have said what she said with the confidence she had?

Who has dishonoured Him?  Not the roman centurions, for three of them – two in Capernaum – honoured Him with such faith that Jesus had to say, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith,” and, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” The latter heard about Jesus and sent some Jewish elders to ask Him, trusting them to speak well on his behalf and then sent friends to say to Jesus that he was not worthy of Jesus to come, “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” And the first who sought Jesus out, only to realise, “I do not deserve to have You come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed,” when Jesus said, “I will go and heal him.”

The centurion of Matthew 8.5 saw Jesus, I repeat, saw Jesus, not just the face or the surface of the Man, but saw the authority, power and truth of the Person who said, “I will go and heal him,” and realised it was enough if He just said the word.  He saw that the word of the Man was enough.

The centurion of Luke 7.2 heard of Jesus… and from what he heard of Him and about Him was enough for him, the centurion, to also realise, like his comrade did, that the word of Jesus was enough to get things accomplished.

Again, both of these men, these centurions, heard and saw the authority and the power of the Man that were carried in His words.

Then finally the third centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry and saw how He died, …said, “Surely this Man was the Son of God!”

All three centurions saw and heard something of Jesus for them to acknowledge His authority, power and character that allowed them to put their trust in Him against their very beliefs and religion, for, for them to place their trust in the word of Jesus as they did was treason to Caesar, and to declare Him “the Son of God” was blasphemy.  For to a centurion, Caesar’s word was above all words and their god was Caesar himself.

So, who is it then who has been hiding the truth about Jesus and even lying about Him these last two millenniums?  Who is it then who has not the confidence that He is coming and that when He comes He will explain everything to us?  Who is it then who has been substituting the words of Jesus with the words of other men as if the words of Jesus are not enough?

It is certainly not the demons, nor those who are not His people, and certainly not the heathens or pagans as it is evidenced in scripture as witnessed by the demons, the Samaritans and the centurions… more than two or three of them to satisfy the law that says, A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

So according to scripture, who are they who have been substituting the words of Jesus with the words of someone else?  Was it not James the Younger, son of Mary, whose father is Joseph, when he stood up, as it is written, saying, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath”? A judgment endorsed by the many – The apostles and elders, your brothers… – who then wrote the letter to the gentiles in Acts 15.23 saying, You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.  You will do well to avoid these things.

Do you hear or see a single teaching of Christ in those words that fulfil this command of Jesus to the disciples after His resurrection, “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”? They do not even fulfil His pre-crucifixion commands.  In fact, they are contrary to His commands and teachings when it comes to clean and unclean food and blood.  So who did not and does not care to take Jesus at His word?  Not pagan centurions, enemies of Israel, but the disciples and believers themselves.  (Can you see… can you hear yet?)

Who are those who disbelieved Him and are not expecting Him to come?  Do you lock yourself away in a room if you are expecting Him to come?  Do you journey to another town on the day you have heard He is risen if you are expecting Him to come?  Do you leave the place you were told to wait at if you are expecting the One He is sending to come?

The eleven had locked themselves away in the room in Jerusalem, a place where He had not told them that He would meet with them.  Had they been expecting Him to come, would it not, should it not be where He said He would be meeting them – in Galilee?  And since they all came from Galilee, should they not have gone home… really gone home and back to Bethsaida or Capernaum where most of them came from?

And if you were expecting Jesus to come to where the eleven are, would you go to Emmaus?  No, the two on the road were not expecting Him to come, which is why they did not recognise Him when they saw Him.

And if you were expecting the Holy Spirit after you have been clearly told that night by the One you did not expect to see, would you have gone back to Galilee some 80 miles away to go fishing?  Certainly, they were not expecting the Lord to join them when they were fishing, otherwise why would you put on your coat and jump into the water?  Who were the ones who were not expecting Him to come?  Not the Samaritan woman or her fellow villagers, but His own disciples, even apostles.  If that is the case, what can we expect from mere believers?  A room full, two on the road, seven in the boat – there were enough to establish this matter.

And finally, who has been lying about Him or hiding the truth about Him?  You may say, “…Jesus of Nazareth was a Man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs…” and that He is “Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit…” and “…this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” He may be accredited, exalted and also Lord and Christ… but who He is was still not said.  Why was it so difficult to say He is the Son of God, the Son of Man, and that He received from HIS Father, not the Father?  You see, half the truth may not be a lie… but nature hates vacuums.  When you only give a half of the truth or some of the truth, the rest of the space can be filled with lies… but when you can give the whole truth, there is no room for lies.

Isn’t it ironic it was the demons who spoke the whole truth about who Jesus is but not His apostle in the maiden preach of His church to the world He gave His life to save?

You want more witnesses I hear… then consider the centuries when we have been told He was born December 24th on a cold winter’s night, visited by the wise men in the stable, and that His mother remained a virgin for starters.  And that His believers should not have these signs to accompany them:  In His Name “…they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well,” for they are no longer for today or needed.  Who lies about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Son of Man?  Not the demons, elect… not the demons.

So now, to whom do we show mercy, compassion and sympathy?  Why should the world respect, believe and honour our Master when we are the ones who belittle Him and lie about Him?  Can you see what they see, elect?  Can you hear what they hear… with our doubtful speech of Him, our ignorance of His words and ways and our fearful lives?

So what then, elect, was the secret of the centurions that they could see and hear as they did, and the secret of the Samaritan woman who lived in such expectation of the Messiah’s coming that she could say to a Jew, “I know that Messiah is coming.  When He comes, He will explain everything to us”?

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