¹⁰And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
¹¹Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
¹²For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
¹³Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
¹⁴In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
¹⁵For 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.’
¹⁶But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
¹⁷For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The disciples of Jesus thought it was strange.
Why doesn’t He say plainly what He means? Why does He speak in such a way that no one understands Him?
In that regard, we have it much simpler. Recently we read the parable of the sower along with the explanation. The people then only heard the story.
Mark 4:10 says that only the disciples ask about the intention of Jesus (cf. Matthew 13:10,18).
Jesus gives a very remarkable explanation for his speaking in parables.
The parable of the sower was not a pretty illustration of Jesus’ message (as a preacher sometimes uses an example to make his message clear). Jesus’ intention was expressly that certain people should not understand Him (Matthew 13:11-13).
In the beginning almost everyone enthusiastically followed Jesus, now there is more and more resistance against Him (the seed in little soil and the seed among the weeds is already visible).
By speaking in parables, Jesus accentuates the differences between people.
Jesus now focuses his teaching only on the small group of disciples close to Him. The parables are for them (Matthew 13:11). They desperately need this education in the mysteries of God’s Kingdom, because soon they will be workers in the service of this Kingdom.
In Matthew 13:14,15 we read a prophecy from Isaiah (Isaiah 6:9,10).
Jesus applies this prophecy to the Jews who see and hear Him. They have had the unique opportunity to greet their King, but they have not accepted Him.
Jesus came to save His people, but they themselves have closed the door to healing through Him (John 1:9-11).
Fortunately there are others too, the disciples of Jesus.
They do listen. Jesus calls them blessed. They may know the Savior. They are privileged over Israel’s prophets (Matthew 13:16,17; 1 Peter 1:10-12).
Jesus separates the world.
There are people who are deaf to Him, they themselves stand in the way of their salvation.
But if you will listen to Him, you will receive great riches (cf. Psalm 19:8-12).
- How can people understand and accept God’s Word? (Compare Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 16:14.)
- Pray to God that you understand the mysteries of His Kingdom.
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