Life Verses – Ears to Hear

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

I’m sorry I left you hanging last week. (See “Life Verses – On Fire“) Like the two on the road to Emmaus, my heart was on fire as the Lord impressed upon me that He wanted me to write. My willing heart had to seek His heart—a long process in bringing me to the fulness of His will.

That year, I was engaged in a Bible study of Matthew with other ladies in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). As I worked through the study, I found myself thinking of the lesser known characters along the way.

I wanted to stop and imagine what might be the rest of their stories. Wouldn’t it be intriguing to see them as more than just two-verse people? What were their families like? How did they relate to Jesus? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to write about one of these and bring them to life?

Every now and then, I noticed that Matthew recorded this phrase from Jesus,

“He who ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15

A few chapters later, there it came again.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:9 and 43

I stopped each time to ponder those words.

Later in our study of Matthew, we came to the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the flurry of activity with the Temple guards, religious leaders, and disciples, Peter spontaneously started swinging his sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant.

I checked the other three gospels and found a few more facts about this man. Jesus healed the man’s ear. The man’s name was Malchus. 

At some point, everything came together for me. Malchus was a lesser known character. He lost his ear, but Jesus gave him back his hearing. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” What happened to this servant? Malchus worked for the high priest who was determined to have Jesus crucified? How did that personal touch, that healing, affect Malchus’ decisions?

That, my friends, was how my first book gave birth. I titled it “Ears to Hear.”

It had been a long, slow process that year, but the Lord seared my mind with the idea of looking at lesser known characters in the Bible, then to apply “ears to hear” to the account of Malchus with Jesus in the garden and his miraculous healing.

It  took seven years to get from research to writing, editing, and seeking a publisher to the final finished product. Many times I cried out to the Lord, “Who am I to think I can do such a thing?” Then He would remind me that indeed I couldn’t, but He could—with my cooperation.

Another seven years later, Nicodemus’ story was published in “A Heart for Truth” which was twice as long.

Now, five years later, the story of Matthew is getting close to ready in “Eyes to See.”

I sing from a favorite hymn, “Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”

~ Joyce ~ 

 

 

 

The Rest of the Story

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

After living with the word “Write!” for awhile (see last week’s post), I began a study of the book of Matthew for several months. I found myself attracted to the lesser known characters, wondering what might be the rest of their stories. For instance, Zebedee.

Going on from there, he [Jesus] saw two other brothers, James the son of  Zebedee and his brother, John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matt. 4:21-22

We discover that Zebedee had two sons, James and John; he was a fisherman, and the boys left him and the fish to follow Jesus. What kind of father was he, I wondered. Was he loving or harsh, gentle or disagreeable? Did he yell at them to get back in the boat? Did he encourage them to follow their hearts? What did he know of Jesus?

Or what about the leper?

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Matt. 8:2-3

Who was this man with the dreaded disease of leprosy? What was life like to be doomed to a leper’s colony, never again to be appreciated, to walk in the market place, or to be touched? We don’t even know his name. What was his life like before leprosy? How did he know about Jesus? How did it feel to have the sensation of healing move through your body? To see your fingers and toes restored? To feel your face without sores? These lesser known characters had lives and personalities. They had varying perspectives of Jesus.

One day, a phrase caught my attention as I continued through Matthew.

He who has ears to hear,  let him hear. Matt. 11:15

I pondered that phrase. Later Jesus told the parable of the soils and at the conclusion, he said again,

He who has ears, let him hear. Matt. 13:9

I meditated on that verse as it appeared over and over.

Little by little, I wondered what it would be like to write about one of these lesser known characters. Maybe even a full-length story. Is that what the Lord was calling me to write?

When I came toward the end of the Matthew study, there in the Garden of Gethsemane was the high priest’s servant along with others who had come to arrest Jesus.

…Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Matt. 26:50-51

I turned to Mark – same story. I checked Luke – same story, but Dr. Luke added that Jesus healed the servant’s ear. In John, I discovered that Peter was the one with the sword. John also gave us the servant’s name – Malchus. That same warm spirit came over me and I knew that this was it. I was to write about the lesser known character, Malchus. He was miraculously given renewed “ears to hear” and I was to tell his story.

In Ears to Hear, Nicodemus made a few appearances. At one point I planned to develop his story along with Malchus, but it didn’t seem to work. So I felt led to save Nicodemus for book two.

Well,  that was the calling. I guess I’ll have to take one more blog to talk about the pathway to publication, its victories and pitfalls. Until then, may you find your heart open to His leading in this next week.  

~ Joyce ~