Summary: In the Bible Jesus says, “I came to seek and to save what was lost.” Jesus came to proclaim good news to the captives. Jesus came to reveal the truth about God. Jesus came to be light in a dark world. But what if I told you that it’s not quite as simp
September 12, 2004
WHAT PARABLES REVEAL ABOUT YOU
In the Bible Jesus says, “I came to seek and to save what was lost.” Jesus came to proclaim good news to the captives. Jesus came to reveal the truth about God. Jesus came to be light in a dark world. But what if I told you that it’s not quite as simple as that? What if I told you that there’s another side to Jesus’ ministry? What if I told you that, in certain situations, Jesus didn’t come to reveal the truth? Instead, he came to hide the truth? What if I told you that at certain times Jesus purposely declared God’s truth in a way He knew most people wouldn’t understand?
Turn with me to Matthew 13:1-15. In Matthew 13 we discover a disturbing fact. Jesus, who came to seek and to save the lost, sometimes hid God’s saving truth from them. Why would Jesus do that? And if Jesus sometimes hide the truth from the lost, could he be hiding truth from you? Could he be hiding truth from me? Let’s see if we can answer those questions. And let’s begin by reading Matthew 13:1-15.
Matthew reports, That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into the boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.”
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”
In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus begins to teach the people with parables. A parable is a story based on a real-life situation that teaches a spiritual truth. The problem is that the hearer has to figure out what the spiritual truth being taught is. In other words, when Jesus taught with parables he was teaching in an indirect way. When Jesus taught in parables a lot of people had a hard time figuring out exactly what He was telling them. And some of those people happened to be his own disciples. So in Matthew 13:10 his disciples come to him and ask, “What’s up Jesus? Why do you speak to the people in parables?” Do you know what the essence of Jesus’ answer is? Jesus says, “I teach in parables in order to conceal the truth.” Now understand—Jesus doesn’t teach in parables to conceal the truth from everyone. He teaches in parables to conceal the truth only from those who have already rejected Him.
To his disciples, Jesus says, The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them (that is, to the people who have already decided against Jesus).
Now why would Jesus hide the truth from hard-hearted unbelievers? Why not continue to reach out to them? Why not continue to offer grace? Why not teach them in a clear and direct way? Why use parables? Why? We’ve already said it. Because the people Jesus speaks to in Matthew 13 are people who have already heard the truth about Jesus and forever rejected it. They are hard. They are unrepentant. They are not interested in anything Jesus has to say.
These are people who have already seen Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. Matthew 12:24 tells us that these are the people who accuse Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Satan and not by the power of God. These are people who blaspheme the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 12:39 Jesus calls these people a wicked and adulterous generation. Do you want to know why Jesus teaches in parables? Do you want to know why Jesus hides the truth from these people who refuse to receive it? Jesus hides the truth because Jesus honors the truth.