MT 13:10-17



[Mt 13:10-17]:

(v. 10) '''The disciples came to Him and asked, "Why do You speak to the people in parables?"

(v. 11) He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

(v. 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.

(v. 13) This is why I speak to them in parables:

'Though seeing, they do not see;

though hearing, they do not hear or understand.'

(v. 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.

(v. 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.'

(v. 16) But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

(v. 17) For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." '''

[Mt 13:11]:

(v. 11) "He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them."

[D. A. Carson states, (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 8, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, pp. 307-308)]:

"Ta mysteria tes basileias ('the secrets of the kingdom') is not explained; its meaning may be deduced by the context and by the use of mysterion ('secret') elsewhere. Mysterion has no obvious connections with pagan mystery religions but reflects a thoroughly Semitic background... It appears in the OT in Daniel... [Aramaic raz] which refers to some eschatological secret, some portent of what God has decreed will take place in the future. The Greek term can also reflect the Hebrew sod ('secret,' 'confidential speech'), taken from the heavenly council... 'Mysteries' are divine plans or decrees, often passed on in veiled language, known only to the elect, and usually relating to eschatological events.

For the 'secrets of the kingdom' to be 'given' the disciples suggests that to them certain eschatological realities are being revealed. What is revealed is not Who Jesus is, the nature of God, or the power of love... rather, the 'mystery of the Kingdom is the coming of the Kingdom into history in advance of its apocalyptic manifestation'... That God would bring in His kingdom was no secret. All Jews looked forward to it. 'The new truth, now given to men by revelation in the Person and mission of Jesus, is that the Kingdom which is to come finally in apocalyptic power, as foreseen by Daniel, has in fact entered into the world in advance in a hidden form to work secretly within and among men'

[It is evident that our Lord intended to bring in His Kingdom had all Israel accepted Him and trusted in Him as Messiah and Savior, (Lk 3:4-6; Mt 4:17); but as predicted this did not happen at that time, (Ps 22, Isa 53). So the Kingdom Age was postponed until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled, (Ro 11:25; Lk 21:24)]

It is unlikely that the plural 'secrets,' as opposed to Mark's 'secret,' refers to everything Jesus has taught... The strongest reason for the latter view is that some of the parables deal with ethical matters, not eschatology, reflecting, it is argued, the full gamut of Jesus' teaching (e.g., parables of the hidden treasure, of the pearl, of the unforgiving servant). But in reality all such parables, as we shall see, necessarily presuppose some form of realized eschatology to make their ethical demands meaningful. The plural 'secrets' is best accounted for as a typical Matthean preference for the plural (cf. Matt 4:3-Luke 4:3; Matt 8:26-Mark 4:39; Matt 26:15-Mark 14:11; and a regular changing of 'crowd' to 'crowds' at Matt 12:46; 13:2; 14:22; 15:36; 21:46; 23:1; 27:20)...

[Mt 13:11-12]:

(v. 11) "He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

(v. 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."

[Carson, op. cit., p. 308]:

"The reply to the disciples' question (Matt 13:10) is thus given in terms of election in v. 11, which is further explained in v. 12. Verse 13 [below then] recapitulates the reason for speaking in parables but now frames the reason, not in terms of election, but in terms of spiritual dullness. Matthew has already given Jesus' answer in terms of divine election (v. 11); now He gives the human reason:"

[Mt 13:13]:

(v. 13) "This is why I speak to them in parables:

'Though seeing, they do not see;

though hearing, they do not hear or understand.' "

It is interesting to note that those who do not have the mind of Christ, i.e., unbelievers and even carnal believers who have blocked the mind of Christ that indwells them as a result of their carnality, do not have the capability nor the interest in discerning spiritual truths especially from Scripture and especially that which is in the form of a parable from the Bible:

[1 Cor 2:14-16]:

(v. 14) "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

(v. 15) The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment.

(v. 16) 'For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ."

So that at first hand, the unbeliever and the carnal Christian mind is not capable of understanding spiritual things nor is it willing to seek what is truth:

[Ro 3:10]:

(v. 10) "As it is written:

'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God."

So the parables our Lord spoke required one to be spiritually minded in order to begin to understand what He was saying.

Secondly, the message in our Lord's parables was not readily discernible to those who were spiritually minded until they sought the Lord for an explanation. Most people, even most believers, do not seek the Lord for an explanation for most of what God says in His Word - especially truths that are relayed in parables.

[Carson, op. cit., p. 308-9]:

"Jesus now explicitly applies His answer (vv. 11-12) to those who are not disciples.... hina plus subjunctive [mood] [cp Mk 4:12 = 'in order that'] ...implies that the parables' blinding outsiders is a function of divine election... [and] hoti ('because') ...means that Jesus speaks in parable because the people are spiritually insensitive. Though they 'see,' they do not really 'see', [i.e., comprehend and believe what our Lord is teaching.]...

God's Word portrays God's sovereignty and man's responsibility at the same time as instrumental in man's understanding of His Word. So God's infinite capacity can and does allow for man's responsibility to seek to be successful in understanding what God has said. There is no conflict, as some maintain, for God is Who He is, omnipotent and man is who he is, finite.

[Carson, cont.]:

"Matthew has taken up these themes in greater detail... to affirm that what is taking in the ministry of Jesus is, on the one hand, the decreed will of God and the result of biblical prophecy and, on the other hand, a terrible rebellion, gross spiritual dullness, and chronic unbelief. This places the responsibility for the divine rejection of those who fail to become disciples on their own shoulders while guaranteeing that none of what is taking place stands outside God's control and plan... This sheds much light on the parables. It is naive to say Jesus spoke them so that everyone might more easily grasp the truth, and it is simplistic to say that the sole function of parables to outsiders was to condemn them. If Jesus simply wished to hide the truth from the outsiders, he need never have spoken to them. His concern for mission (9:35-38; 10:1-10; 28:16-20) excludes that idea. So he must preach without casting his pearls before pigs (7:6). He does so in parables: i.e., in such a way as to harden and reject those who are hard of heart and to enlighten - often with further explanation - his disciples. His disciples, it must be remembered, are not just the Twelve but those who were following him...

Thus the parables spoken to the crowds do not simply convey information, nor mask it, but challenge the hearers. They do not convey esoteric content only the initiated can fathom but present the claims of the inaugurated kingdom and the prospects of its apocalyptic culmination in such a way that its implications are spelled out for those in the audience with eyes to see..."

[Compare 2 Cor 3:12-18]:

(v. 13) "We [Church age believers] are not like Moses, who veiled his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it [the glory of God as reflected in the face of Moses, (vv. 7-11)] while the radiance [of God's glory] was fading away.

(v. 14) But their [the Israelites'] minds were made dull; for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

(v. 15) Even to this day when Moses is read a veil covers their [the Israelites'] hearts.

(v. 16) But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, 'the veil is taken away.' "

Notice again that it is God Who has veiled the minds of the Israelites, yet it is Israel who has turned away from the Lord.

To continue the study of Mt chapter 13 with our Lord's explanation of the parable of the sower and the soils click on the 'continued' button below: