April 24

Text: Matthew 13:51

"Have you understood all these things?" They *said to Him, "Yes." (NASB)

Pardon a personal illustration.  By the time I was 16 I was a serious student of the Bible.  I preached regularly; I taught regularly; I even was the speaker for “gospel meetings.”  I thought I knew a lot about scripture!  Then I went to college and took college Bible classes—did I ever feel ignorant!  There was so much more to be learned!  At age 22, I began preaching full time.  Because of the situation, I quickly discovered I had so much I needed to learn if I was to make scripture relevant to life.  About age 24 I went to graduate school where I majored in New Testament.  Yet again, I discovered how little I knew.  That experience transformed my study habits!  At age 30 I took my family to Africa to enable my wife and me to work with rural people there.  I laughingly refer to that as my Ph.D. experience!  I realized realities I never had seen before. 

About age 56 I was given the opportunity to return to graduate school to audit a Bible course each summer.  There was so much to learn!  Things unknown in the late 60’s were common background knowledge then!  Then I retired from preaching when I was age 70 after more than 50 years of preaching and teaching.  After all those (and more) learning experiences, all I can say is, “There is so much to understand—there is more to it than that.”  May God’s mercy prevail over our ignorance!

When the disciples said they had an understanding of Jesus’ parables, they had no clue of God’s full intent in Jesus or the kingdom.  Consider Acts 1:6-11 as evidence of how much they yet had to learn and understand.  If we interviewed them at the Matthew 13:51 moment, I have no doubt they were confident in their knowledge and understanding.  They had no idea of how much they needed to learn!

It is so easy to think we know and understand more than we do!  It is so easy to underestimate our ignorance!  An important part of knowledge is being honest about our ignorance!

Suggestion for reflection: How do you acknowledge your ignorance?  (Read Hebrews 5:11-14.)

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