Can the Dead Hear?

Can the Dead Hear?

John chapter five contains an event where Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and tells him to carry his matt and walk. In the minds of the Jewish leaders, this equated to working, a thing which was not supposed to be done on the Sabbath day. Jesus clearly saw it differently and considered healing someone a great thing to do on any day, not only a Sabbath, and walking away with his matt was not working in Christ’s mind.

After this event, we have discussion about it from verses 16–30. The Pharisees accuse Jesus of breaking the sabbath, and Jesus comments back. In the story we have a contrasted example of one group who heard Jesus speak, but rejected it, and a man who heard Jesus speak and did as instructed. The subject is thus about hearing God’s voice. In this context, here is what Jesus says:


It is not hearing with the physical ears which is the subject of verses 24–25, but rather hearing in the sense that you ‘understand.’ And in that quote, the ‘dead’ which are the spiritually dead will live. In other words, if you are spiritually dead, but you truly hear God’s words…. it sinks into your heart and you understand and receive it… you are changed and will live. This is the essence of believing God. It isn’t just believing that there is a God, because the Pharisees believed there was a God, but they rejected Jesus words and didn’t ‘hear’ him.

In the second quote it is now talking about everyone who is physically dead, and about the final judgement. Jesus now says that in this situation everyone will hear his voice, and rise to be judged, some rewarded and some punished. So the two quotes are talking about two different types of dead, and two differnet types of hearing, and two differnet types of result.

In the actual story, the Pharisees were dead, and did not hear the voice of God in Jesus. The disabled man who was healed did hear the voice of Jesus and received life.

The question remains, do you ‘hear’ Jesus?