November 14, 2021
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet (Matthew 21:45).
The Scripture states that after Jesus spoke these last parables the Chief Priests and Pharisees perceived He was speaking about them. The word ‘perceived’ means to know, understand, or realize. They knew Jesus was talking about them in parables. They realized they were the ones being condemned in the parables. But did they understand they were spiritually condemned?
The disciples asked Jesus, Why do You speak to them in parables? (Matthew 13:10). His answer is very revealing. To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given . . . This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:11,13). In other words, Jesus taught in parables not to explain spiritual truths to the people, but to keep spiritual truths from the people. This was to fulfill the word of the Lord to the prophet Isaiah 700 years earlier. Go, and say to this people: “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.” Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed (Isaiah 6:9-10). Jesus said as much in Luke 8:10; Mark 4:11-12.
Why would Jesus intentionally hide truth from unbelieving Jews by using parables? Their spiritual blindness was the result of willfully rejecting the Gospel. It was, and is, God’s response to the persistent sin of rejecting Jesus. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) . . . because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Whenever the Gospel taught plainly or in parables, understanding, salvation, and spiritual growth results when it is received in faith (Romans 3:20; 10:17). Rejecting the Gospel will always result in confusion, hardness of heart, and condemnation (Psalm 81:12; Romans 1:24). While certain parables can be difficult to understand, even for Christians, the Holy Spirit will guide (believers) . . . into all truth (John 16:13); God’s Word, which includes parables, is truth (John 17:17). If the parables of Jesus make no sense, if their meaning escapes those you are ministering to, you should understand it is from spiritual blindness.
Did the Elders of Israel understand Jesus condemned them in His parables? Yes. Did they understand they were, in fact, already condemned by God? No, because they were spiritually blinded by the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
“Holy Spirit, open the understanding of those we minister to so that they will see their spiritual condition and respond to the Gospel of Jesus. To His glory and praise I ask, Amen.”