I love this photo. It captures the very moment when young Harold Whittles hears for the very first time. A doctor had just placed an earpiece into his left ear.
The astonishment in his young face is just priceless.
Little is known about Harold or the background to this story. We do know that the photographer was Jack Bradley and that the photo first appeared in Reader's Digest in 1974. Mind you, I think this is one of those occasions where an image tells its own story.
I thought a little more about young Jack and his trip to see the Doctor that day. No doubt he had wondered why this funny looking object on a string was being pushed into his ear. And why was it so cold? And then it happened. It may have been only a single word. But he HEARD it. He didn’t exactly know what "hearing" was - but hear it he did! He didn’t move a single muscle.
He was simply astonished by the word.
At about the same time as coming across this photograph (thanks Kerry), I was reading Jesus' "parable of the sower" in Matthew 13. With the photograph still in my mind, it was the part at the very end of the story that caught my attention. After telling the parable, Jesus simply said this…
"He who has ears, let him hear."
Jesus' listeners could physically hear and presumably were following this simple story. However, understanding its spiritual message and also recognising the Teacher's true identity was another story!
Jesus summed it up like this…
“…I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear…”
They heard the word but they weren't touched by the word.
The people that day were being taught by none other than the "Word of God" (John 1:1).
They heard the word but they weren't touched by the Word!
Jesus put it this way (quoting from Isaiah)…
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.
Jesus speaks to us all when He says this…
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)
Please read the words of Jesus carefully. I wouldn't want anyone to "come into judgement" or "fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).
Quite a long time ago, when I was a few years older than Harold Whittles, I too heard and was astonished by the Word. I discovered that God had sent His Son to die for a sinner like me. I simply had to believe in Him and accept His free gift of salvation.
May you be astonished by the Word today…They were utterly astonished, saying, "He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." (Mark 7:37)
(All Bible quotations are from the NASB)
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