4/14 John 8:43

43 "Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word."

Jesus very clearly told His audience that He had come from God. He told them that they were enslaved to sin, but if they received His words they could be free (John 8:31-32). The people insisted that they were descendants of Abraham and were free. They accused Jesus of being from an illegitimate relationship. Jesus bluntly told them that their father was the devil. Jesus leveled with them in an attempt to get them to see their true condition. In return, they slandered Him. Jesus clarified the situation in our verse for today-they couldn't understand what He was offering them because they could not bear to hear the truth about themselves.

Christians face the same struggle today when they try to communicate with unbelievers. If we tell unbelievers that they need to repent of their sins and receive Jesus' gracious gift of forgiveness, they suddenly can't understand us. On the one hand they will admit they have done things they knew were wrong. On the other hand they often will not acknowledge the need for forgiveness from a holy God to whom they are accountable. Like the Jewish audience with whom Jesus was speaking, they can't bear to hear our words. That is why they can't understand the simple and clear message of the gospel.

Most people will readily admit they see decline in the American culture from the point in time when the Bible and prayer were taken out of schools. If we try to point out the connection, however, suddenly they can't understand our words. The unbeliever interprets statistics and other factual information in a way that is disconnected from any spiritual connotations. Why is that? That can't bear to hear the truth because it teaches the need to submit to God.

Consider: Only the Holy Spirit can break through to a heart that refuses to hear. Prayer must accompany our verbal witness if we are to successfully convey truth.