Matt 13:1-17 Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In verse 10, the disciples wanted to know why Jesus would teach in parables. If he wanted them to understand what he was saying, they figured that he should have told them plainly what he wanted them to know. In fact, there is something plain about parables because they use common things in the earth to explain spiritual truths.
In these parables of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus used parables to teach the disciples and to keep the unbelieving Pharisees in the dark. A parable can be like a riddle. It makes you think and consider what you hear. Like the riddle, “What’s greater than God, more evil than the devil, rich men don’t have it, but poor people do?” You see, you have to think. The answer is, “Nothing.”
Parables also make you come to the Lord for understanding, just like the disciples did in this case. If someone were really interested in knowing what Jesus said, he would ask him personally. Of course, the Pharisees weren’t about to do that. They were too proud and they didn’t believe him.
A good example of how Jesus used parables to explain things to the disciples is found in Jn 16:13-22, 25, 28-30. Here you can see the process of preaching first. Then when they don’t understand, they inquire of the Lord. He gives them a parable (woman with child) and they hear him plainly.
In verse 11, Jesus said, “it is given unto you to know.” That’s because they wanted it and were willing to receive what was given to them from the Lord — Matt 11:25
In verse 11, Jesus spoke of the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” In Chapter 12, Jesus had upbraided the people for their unbelief. So, the outright offer of the kingdom of heaven to Israel (Matt 11:14) was withdrawn and the kingdom of heaven went into mystery form. To this day, the world does not know anything about this kingdom (and most preachers and scholars don’t either). Christmas, for instance, to the world is about a mother and her baby. But to Bible believers, the birth of that baby is about the Son of God who will govern after he destroys his enemies and the enemies of the Jews. So, it is not given to the world to know.
In verse 12, we see a principle that is demonstrated in the parable of the pounds and talents in Matt 25 and Lk 19. The servant with one talent had to give his to the servant with five talents and the servant with one pound had to give his to the servant that had ten. This demonstrates that all Israel had everything in Rom 9:3-5. When Jesus came to fulfill all that was given to Israel, some rejected him and some accepted him and his preaching. Those that accepted, like the disciples, got more given to them. Those that rejected, like the Pharisees, got nothing and lost even what they had in Rom 9.
In verse 13, therefore, Jesus spoke in parables. The Pharisees saw Jesus and his miracles but did not “see” that he was God manifest in the flesh (Jn 14:8-9). They heard him preach, they heard the words of God and they heard Moses (2 Cor 3:13-16). But they did not understand (Matt 12:41-42).
In verses 14-15, the response of the Pharisees and those who rejected Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10. And look back before Isaiah gave that prophecy at what the Jews had seen and rejected, Is 5:8, 11, 13, 18-23. Jesus did not want to convert and heal the unbelievers like they were anymore than he wanted to leave Adam and Eve alive forever in a cursed body by letting them eat from the Tree of life.
In verses 16-17, the eyes and ears of the disciples were blessed because they got to see things that none of the other prophets ever got to see and hear (Matt 16:16-17). Many prophets and righteous men had desired to see and hear what they saw but they did not get to (Heb 11:13, 1 Pet 1:10-12). However, in the near future, they will finally get to see and hear Jesus and WE will get to see him face to face and hear him with our ears — Glory to God!!