LET ME TELL YOU A SECRET
Lord, I am surrounded by the endless stream of images and chatter. Incline my ear to hear the still, small whisper of Your voice.
Read Matthew 13:10–23
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart 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.’
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you always understand what you read in the Bible?
My late mother was a code-breaker in Bletchley Park during World War Two. This was part of a large team that deciphered German codes and shortened the war by at least two years according to many commentators. But throughout her long life she was haunted by a piece of legislation that kept her silent until her final few years: The Official Secrets Act. Her wartime work was a secret she dared not divulge.
It’s surprising, then, to hear Jesus say that parables mys\tify most people except his disciples, who have been given knowledge to understand their hidden meaning. In the words of Winston Churchill, parables seem like a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Is Jesus being deliberately cruel or manipulative? The clue lies in the long quotation from Isaiah 6:9-10, where God suggests that it is spiritual blindness and ignorance that prevents people from turning towards him for life and healing. So I wonder if Jesus is simply saying that following and listening to him brings spiritual wisdom and understanding whereas indifferent religious observation keeps us in darkness.
It’s easy to read Scripture as a habit or duty. What does God want to say to you through your reading this week? How can that which you read change your everyday habits?
Lord, as I pray through this passage, open the eyes of my heart once again.