Jesus makes an interesting statement in Luke 8:18 when He said “take heed therefore how you hear”. Notice that He didn’t say “what you hear”. Could it be that how we hear or how we know is more important than what we hear and what we know? And maybe, just maybe, the answer to this question may help us better understand what Jesus came to solve.
Let’s go back to Eden for a moment.
When God created Adam and Eve, He made them with a specific perceptual ability. They were designed to live by the free flowing life of God, completely tuned into their Creator, Who was also their source. However, they rebelled and all of this changed. They left Eden with a different nature than the one they entered with. Now they see differently, hear differently and perceive differently. It was at this time that Adam said “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” That doesn’t sound like the same man who came alive by the very breath of God, does it?
But this is not just about Adam and Eve … it’s a story about all of us. As a result of their actions, the entire human race views reality through a distorted lens. Genesis calls this lens the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I propose that this is the main problem Jesus came to address, a problem that no one else could solve but Him.
This “knowledge” is depicted as a tree, just as “life” is depicted as a tree. Think about that, Adam and Eve could literally see knowledge and life …they were leaves and fruit on these trees. I don’t believe this is just a metaphor but actual creative ability. Jesus marveled often at man’s current state and his inability to ‘see’ or ‘understand’. In His discussion with Nicodemus, He says to him “are you the teacher of Israel, and you do not understand these things?” In another place, where Jesus is warning his disciples about the Pharisees, He tells them “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?” And a couple of verses later, “How is it you do not understand?”
Maybe we should consider that what we see is directly connected to the way we see, and what we hear is directly connected to how we hear. That maybe Jesus is not commenting on man’s physical organs and their ineffectiveness, but rather on a deeper problem, man’s imprisonment to an alien nature.
A key to this reality is hidden in the first chapter of Deuteronomy where we see God angry with Moses and Israel because of their unbelief. In verse 39 God says “Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there (the promised land); to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.” Notice that God is granting those who have “no knowledge of good and evil” not just “no knowledge evil”. In other words, God is advancing those, and only those, who are not governed by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but rather by the other tree, the Tree of Life!
Jesus picks this up when He says in John 10 that “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” … and we will pick this up in my next blog. We will see that the promised land mentioned in Deuteronomy 1 is a picture of the Kingdom of God, which is the central message of Jesus’ ministry. We will also see that the “law of life” is governing those who are transformed by the Holy Spirit into new creation (nature), not simply refurbished into better, more moral people. So stay tuned.
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