Speaking in Parables
December 27, 2020
And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:10-13).
It would appear an unfair matter that Jesus would allow some people to benefit from His teaching in parables while others would be excluded. But because we know that Jesus did all things well (Mark 7:37), there was a good reason for including some and excluding others.
In the parallel passage in Mark 4:10-12 we understand that the ‘disciples’ included all who followed Jesus and were committed to Him, not just the 12 men Jesus specifically called to be Apostles.
Parables were a common way of teaching truths that challenged the hearer to pay close attention to their teacher. Jesus taught the ‘mysteries of the kingdom’ to those who desired the Kingdom of God. This, by their own admission and action, excluded the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees who were concerned only with killing Jesus.
The ‘mysteries of the kingdom’ are not those matters of God’s Kingdom that cannot be known, but have been hidden for the purpose of discouraging those who have no interest in the Kingdom from pursuing such knowledge. Only those who have demonstrated an allegiance of faith in Jesus would be privileged to hear those ‘mysteries’ though they would not readily comprehend them unless and until Jesus explained them in such a way they would understand how to interpret them for themselves.
Verse 12 is a proverbial saying that simply means, ‘A person who improves on what light, grace, and opportunities he has, shall have them increased. A person who does not improve on them will lose them’. In saying this, Jesus affirmed that the Jews had many opportunities to learn spiritual truth, and some light still lingered among them, but because their hearts were hardened against Him, it was a just judgment that they would lose what spiritual insight they had.
The same teaching holds true today. Spiritual knowledge is given to those who are committed to Jesus Christ. If they improve on that knowledge through Bible study, prayer, meditation, etc., that knowledge will increase which will, in turn, increase one’s spiritual maturity in the Lord. It was a rebuke of the Apostle Paul that the Christians in Corinth had to be fed the milk and not the meat of the Word of God because of their spiritual immaturity. May that not be said of us!
“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for sending Your Holy Spirit to teach us Your Word so that we may grow to spiritual maturity and thereby bring honor and glory to Your name, Amen.”