Matthew 13:10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables? 11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 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. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 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. 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.'16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 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.
What type of film or book do you like. One that takes you up in it's story. Or one that causes you to think about some of the issues behind it?
Jesus was telling parables, stories with a deeper meaning. They were good stories in their own right, but they challenged the hearers to think about what Jesus was trying to convey.
Jesus had just told the parables of the sower, or soils. This refers to the different responses to God's word. Jesus explained the meaning of this parable to the disciples after today's passage, so we shouldn't think that they initially understood all of Jesus' teaching. Indeed, when you read the gospels they seemed to originally fail to understand much of Jesus' teaching, especially concerning his death and resurrection.
The disciples were not asking about the meaning of a parable, although Matthew records Jesus' explanation of it. They were asking why Jesus spoke in parables.
Jesus didn't speak in parables so that people could easily understand God's truth. Neither did he use parables to confuse, condemn or alienate people. Jesus told parables to challenge. To encourage people to think deeply about God.
The parable of the soils which surrounds this passage tells how people will not grow spiritually because of hardness of heart, or shallowness of faith, or the worries of life.
Jesus compares the crowd with the Israelites in the Old Testament who rejected the word of God. This contrasts with the disciples who are matched with the Old Testament' prophets and righteous men. Although they will not understand everything immediately they are open to God and are prepared to listen , question, and be moved on in their trust of God. In doing this they will be witnesses to, and instruments in God's plan to bring in his kingdom.
Jesus is warning people not to be superficial or lazy about their faith. To wrestle with his teaching and how to apply it in our lives. For those who can't be bothered this will further separate them from God and harden their hearts.
Some years ago there was a film based on the female major-league baseball teams of the 1940's, "A League Of Their Own". In one of the scenes in the movie, the star catcher of the Rockford Peaches, played by Geena Davis, threatens to quit. She's tired; she's warn out; she's worried about her husband who has gone to war; and in a low moment, she is ready to "throw in the towel." This star catcher, by far the best player in the league, complains that the game is just "too hard." The manager of the Rockford Peaches, played by Tom Hanks, tries to talk her out of quitting.
When she says, "It's too hard, " he replies, "Well, baseball's suppose to be hard. . .If it weren't hard, everybody would do it." And then he says this: "Hard is what makes it great!"
As we grow in a hostile environment let us persevere in our faith and remember: