Happy are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear.
Why were Jesus’ disciples able to understand when others were not? Because they were willing to search for the real meaning behind Jesus’ words, build on what they had already accepted, and use what they had heard in their personal lives and in helping others. (Matt. 13:11, 12, 36, 51, 52) If we want to understand Jesus’ illustrations, we need to follow the example of his faithful disciples. First, we need to be willing to take the time to study and meditate on what Jesus said, to do the necessary research, and to ask the appropriate questions. This leads to knowledge. (Prov. 2:4, 5) Next, we need to see how that knowledge fits in with what we already know, discerning its benefit to us personally. That results in understanding. (Prov. 2:2, 3) Finally, we should use what we have learned, putting it into action in our lives. This shows wisdom on our part.
He was raised up.
That the dead could live again was not a new concept to Jesus’ apostles; resurrections had occurred before they were born. They knew that God had empowered the prophets Elijah and Elisha to perform such miracles. (1 Ki. 17:17-24; 2 Ki. 4:32-37) A dead man had even come to life when his body was thrown into a grave and it touched the bones of Elisha. (2 Ki. 13:20, 21) Very likely, all of us have been greatly moved by reading accounts of the resurrections that Jesus performed. When he restored a widow’s only son to life, she must have been astonished. (Luke 7:11-15) On another occasion, Jesus resurrected a 12-year-old girl. Imagine the joy and wonder of her previously grief-stricken parents when their daughter was brought back to life! (Luke 8:49-56) And how onlookers must have been thrilled when they saw Lazarus step from the tomb alive and well!
Show yourselves thankful . . . , encouraging one another with psalms, praises to God, spiritual songs sung with gratitude.
We can learn much from the apostle Paul about cultivating gratitude. Evidently, he meditated on his blessings, for he frequently expressed heartfelt thanks. Paul well knew that he had been “a blasphemer and a persecutor and an insolent man.” Hence, he gave thanks that despite his past sinful conduct, God and Christ had shown him mercy and had entrusted him with a ministry. (1 Tim. 1:12-14) Paul also deeply appreciated his fellow Christians and often thanked Jehovah for their fine qualities and faithful service. (Phil. 1:3-5, 7; 1 Thess. 1:2, 3) And when Paul faced trialsome situations, he was quick to thank Jehovah for the timely support that he received from his spiritual brothers. (Acts 28:15; 2 Cor. 7:5-7) It is not surprising, therefore, that Paul’s writings encourage Christians with the words of today’s text. w15 1/15 1:5