And after they had argued back and forth among themselves, they left with this final word from Paul: “The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet, ‘Go and say to this people: When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ So I want you to know that this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles, and they will accept it.” (Acts 28:25-28, NLT)
Paul has reached Rome and before his trial is given an audience with members of the local synagogue. He preached to them Jesus as Messiah. Some believed, others didn’t. But as they were leaving Paul describes their response to the gospel message as a direct fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah (6:9-10).
Today we might say they didn’t “get it” or that it didn’t “sink in” or “stick.” Certainly they understood his arguments and heard his logic. They saw the description of the Messiah in the Old Testament Scriptures Paul showed them. Their brains were able to comprehend Paul’s logic. The problem was their hearts…the seat of the will. They refused to act upon what they saw and heard.
Rarely do I come into a witnessing or counseling situation where the person I’m speaking with simply can’t understand the concepts I’m sharing. I do meet people quite often who “get it” but refuse to do anything about it. The issue is usually a hardened heart, not a slow mind.
I’m not sure what the Lord is speaking to you this week, but here’s my prayer: Lord, keep my heart soft toward you. Help me to keep my will submitted to you. My problem isn’t a comprehension issue or a knowledge issue, it’s a heart issue. Forgive me for hardening my heart. Break it and make me yield to you. Amen.