From the Word
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.’ 6 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Matthew 13:15–17, RSV
Christ spoke these words especially to his disciples at the time when he was greatly moved with spiritual delight and praised his heavenly Father for the revelation of the gospel. He was especially anxious to speak with them because their own salvation also depended upon that revelation. They are nothing more than words of thanksgiving that the disciples lived in the time of the revelation of the gospel, which brings deliverance and salvation from sin and misery to the world. The beloved prophets had prophesied of this time in a glorious manner, they longed for it beyond measure. Therefore, he would say, you are blessed and more than blessed; for you now enjoy the truly golden year, the pure kingdom of grace and the blessed time; only be careful that you retain it and make good use of it.
On the one hand he exhorts to thanksgiving for such grace; and on the other he laments over the great ingratitude of the world, because there are so few people who know and receive this grace, and many even despise it. Therefore Christ especially turned to his disciples and praised them, as though he wished to say: Your eyes and ears are indeed blessed, which see and hear this gospel grace; alas, there are many eyes and ears that do not wish to see and hear it, although they have it right before them. This is a great and superabundant treasure, but the great mass of the people only despise it, and even persecute it.
But the blessed treasure really depends upon a right seeing and hearing; for it is plainly revealed and stands in the clear light before their eyes. But the great mass cannot see nor understand it. What did it help the Pharisees that Christ himself preached the gospel to them? What would it help all the fanatics and critics if forgiveness of sins were preached twice as clearly as it is? They are so completely chilled and choked with thoughts of their own conceits and pleasures dear to them that they can neither see nor hear anything else. But these are indeed blessed eyes and ears that can make a right use of the blessed time or dispensation of the gospel, and know what God has given them in it.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 312–13.