Lesson 151-April 8, 2018
Lesson: “The Recognition of God’s Graces”
Introduction: In todays lesson we continue looking at the response of Jesus to the disciples question, Why do You speak to them in parables?” In our text, Jesus continues to offer the answer by referencing the Old Testament prophet Isaiah.
(vv. 14-15) “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says; ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears. Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’”
To help us in our study we need to look at Isaiah’s words recorded in Isaiah 6:9-10. Please read this passage.
These verses penned by the prophet, not only speak of God’s judgment upon Israel during his own time, but speak with a forthtelling of the time of Jesus’ day. Isaiah had been called by God to pronounce God’s truth and judgment concerning the rebellion of the people which lead to “drunkenness, debauchery, immorality, dis- honesty, injustice, and hypocrisy” MacArthur. Even though they were warned by God of His coming judg- ment they continued to spiral downward into some of their darkest days. They refused to hear God’s prophet and God’s message and in their stubbornness and rebellion they refused to turn to God, seeking His help and mercy. We see this in the words of Chapter 6 as the Lord speaks to Isaiah in verses 9-10.
Many in Jesus’ day were rejecting Him in spite of what they had witnessed in His outward miracles. The mir- acles had testified of who He was but the multitude of Jews refused to see and hear the truth. Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah concerning those that would not understand the truth of God’s Kingdom. Even though Jesus Christ stood visible before them and spoke words of truth to the them, they continued in their re- bellion rejecting Him. They refused to see or hear the truth choosing to reject the Christ (Messiah).
“God told Isaiah that people would listen without understanding and look without perceiving; Jesus witnessed the same reaction by His teaching. By quoting the prophet Isaiah, Jesus was explaining to this group of fol- lowers that the crowd resembled the Israelites about whom Isaiah had written. God had told Isaiah that the people would listen but not learn from his message because their hearts had hardened beyond repentance. Yet God still sent Isaiah with the message because even though the nation itself would not repent and would reap judgement, some individuals would listen. Jesus came for these Israelites, hundreds of years after Isaiah, but the scenario was the same. Most would not repent because their hearts were hardened, but a few would listen, turn from their sins and believe. The deafness to the message did not mean that the message was false or that the message was somehow at fault. Neither Isaiah’s nor Jesus’ audiences were denied the opportunity to turn and receive forgiveness. Instead, refusing to listen would mean inability to perceive and understand anything Jesus had to say” (Life Application Bible Commentary).
Please read Matthew 12:24.
Question: What accusation was made? Who made the accusation? To whom was the accusation made?
In this accusation we find the stubborn rebellious blindness brought about by a refusal to believe that culminat-
ed in their rejection of Jesus.
Question: What are some reasons that people sitting in the sanctuary of Mars Hill Baptist Church offer for their continual rejection of Jesus Christ?
What are we taught from Jesus’ words of Matthew 13:11-15 concerning those that reject Jesus Christ?
What may happen as a result of a heart continuing to reject Jesus Christ although God has given grace oppor- tunity after grace opportunity?
Please explain in your own words the meaning of the following sentence:
The same sun that softens the clay ultimately will harden the clay!
How can this apply to the heart of an individual and the work of the gospel message in that individual’s life?
(vv. 16-17) “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear.”
“The disciples were tremendously privileged because they were seeing what no one had seen before. The prophets of the Old Testament had longed to be living when the Messiah arrived, but their desire had not been fulfilled. The disciples were favored to live at the crisis moment in history, to see the Messiah, to witness His miracles, and to hear the incomparable teaching which came from His lips” (MacDonald).
The disciples were blessed by the graces of God to literally be seeing and hearing what the prophets had fore- told. Please read 1Peter 1:10-12.
Question: Do you think that it would have been easier to believe in Jesus as the Messiah if you had lived in Jesus day instead of in 2018?
Please give careful thought to your answer and provide Scripture references to support your answer.
Those past prophets of the Old Testament “remained faithful, even though they never saw the ultimate fulfill- ment of the promises they proclaimed. The disciples claimed these promises and were eyewitnesses to their fulfillment in Jesus” (Anders).
Jesus begins verse 17 with “for assuredly I say to you”, these words give special significance and importance to the fact of the graces and privileges given to the disciples.
The question becomes for us today, what do we do with the graces and privileges given to us? Before one can answer this question honestly it might be better to first answer another question. What are some of the graces and privileges we enjoy today? Please answer as it applies to all areas of your life.
Now that we have identified many of these graces and privileges, what are we doing presently with these graces and privileges God has granted us?