10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “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 he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

Matt 13:10-12 (NIV)

Immediately picking up on the change in Jesus’ mode of teaching, His guys come to Him asking directly why the variation. Our Lord gives two of the three reasons in our verses for today. First, He spoke to them – and others who believed in Him – in order to continue to reveal Truth and increase their knowledge of the kingdom of heaven. Secondly, He spoke in this fashion to hide spiritual Truths from those who would not believe – those who had already willingly hardened their hearts to His ways and teachings. Remember, the religious leaders had just attributed our Lord’s divine power to Satan. We must beware not to continually harden our hearts through unbelief to Truth – the example of Pharaoh would certainly be a case in point - his outcome being far from desirable. Pharaoh continued to harden his own heart until at long last Scripture states, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart:

7 Pharaoh sent men to investigate and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go. Ex 9:7 (NIV)

12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses. Ex 9:12 (NIV)

Those who staunchly refuse to believe in Jesus do not possess divinely enlightened minds and therefore remain unable to perceive spiritual Truth and walk in His ways. Like the good seed sown on hardened ground, the Truth is quickly taken away from them. They have their mind-set, their aspirations, their longings, on the sinful nature. The lack of faith prohibits the hardened heart from submitting to God’s commands.

“Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but faith is the foot which carries the soul...With faith I can do all things; without faith I shall neither have the inclination nor the power to do anything in the service of God.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Obedience is the child of trust.” John Climacus

I am reminded of Paul’s words penned in Romans:

6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8 (NIV)

“Man is now a horror to God and to himself and a creature ill-adapted to the universe not because God made him so but because he has made himself so by the abuse of his free will.” C. S. Lewis

In some ways perhaps it seems merciful of Jesus to speak veiled Words to the unbelieving hearts as His hearers would be held accountable for less. Much is expected to whom much is given. The saddest condition a person can be in is to sit under services steeped in Truth and worship yet their hearts remaining dead, senseless and untouched. In contrast, the nearer we come to Christ and the more we share our lives with Him the greater our knowledge of the mysteries of the Gospel which is - without a doubt - the highest and best knowledge. I am reminded of the words in Jeremiah:

2 “This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it--the LORD is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’” Jer 33:2-3 (NIV)

What I Glean

  • Jesus spoke in parables to reveal Truth and increase knowledge in those who believed but also spoke in this manner to hide spiritual Truths from those who would not.
  • I must be careful not to harden my heart to Truth.
  • Faith gives feet to the soul producing obedience to God’s commands.