The disciples came to [Jesus] and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”
Jesus’ disciples were flummoxed. While this happened often to these men to whom the Messiah would entrust his church, this time we might have shared their bewilderment. Jesus came to save the lost, redeem the oppressed, and show God’s love for the world. Yet, for some reason, he concealed his message in parables. His answer to their question, that some have been given knowledge and others have not, looks disturbing (more-so when lifted from its context, as above). What was Jesus saying?
1. Jesus was responding to the religious elite’s rejection of him. The rejection of Christ, recorded in the previous chapters of Matthew, is harsh. Just prior to this encounter the religious leaders respond to one of Jesus’ miracles by calling him an agent of the devil.  “The die has been cast,” summarizes Pastor Stanley Toussaint. “The people of Israel are amazed at the power of Jesus and His speech, but they fail to recognize Him as their King… they have separated the fruit from the tree.” 
2. Parables mercifully spared the hard-hearted from rejecting Christ’s message. Instead of rejecting the religious leaders as they rejected him, Christ began speaking in parables. He delivered grace to all who would hear and gave the hard-hearted space to respond. (The Pharisees Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus later come to faith, as does religious council member Joseph of Arimathea, and many others.)
3. What was concealed in parables was revealed on the cross and after the grave. If humankind’s primary problem was lack of knowledge then Jesus would have doubled down on his teaching so none would perish due to ignorance. Instead he went to the cross to die the death we deserved and rose from the grave to give us the life we could not have earned. We may wrestle with Christ’s teachings, but the answer we need is found in his sacrifice.
God, thank you for your patience with those who rejected you. Apart from you our hearts are like theirs. Thank you that you walk with your rejectors, sacrifice for them, and love them so deeply you would give your life. Give us patience and fruitfulness as we respond and share your grace with those around us.
Miracles and Parables Among Skeptics
Part 2 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org
 See Matthew 12.22-32. |  Stanley Toussaint, Behold the King. p. 168.