THEY JUST DON’T GET IT
Lord, thank You for including me in the small circle of those who understand.
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.
“They are darkened in their understanding… you heard about Christ and were taught in him” (Eph. 4:18,21) Pray that you may “put off your old self… to be made new” (Eph. 4:22,23).
The kingdom of heaven is good news (cf. Mark 1:14,15). Jesus presents his kingdom as a place of blessing: the “poor in spirit” find a home (Matt. 5:10); the persecuted, a reward (Matt. 5:10); children, acceptance (Matt. 19:14). Sadly, many fail to greet it as good news. There are “secrets” or mysteries of the kingdom (11) which cause some who listen not to hear. These mysteries need revelation (1 Cor. 2:9,10). This gives rise to a solemn aspect of preaching the good news. Paul uses the sense of smell to describe spreading the good news. To some we will smell like perfume, but to others a stench—an “aroma that brings death” (2 Cor. 2:16), confirming them in their unbelief. Presenting Gospel truth always has that double-edged effect. It is why tears always accompany evangelism.
Jesus speaks. Some are never going to penetrate the secret. Parables will never make sense to those who are blinded by their presuppositions, stuck in their unwillingness to think outside of their own limited understanding. Paul says of the Greeks, “they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:22, NLT), so they reject the truth, never plumbing its depths. They hear, but nothing resonates, so it gets moved to the too-difficult tray or directly into the trash bin. We should not, however, over-read this passage: “natural insight is not enough, spiritual enlightenment is given (11). But how and to whom it is given is not the theme of these verses” (R.T. France, Matthew). The emphasis here is that much of the good-news-sowing will never bear fruit (18–22) but that disciples must be hugely grateful for revelation (16,17). We give thanks with humble hearts that secrets of the universe have been revealed to us (1 Cor. 2:8–11).
Read again the explanation in verses 18–23. How does that help you to understand your evangelism—and also your own heart? What do you need to pray in response?
Lord, give me added revelation so that I may discern even more clearly Your deeper truths.