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Matthew 13:10-15 – Why Speak in Parables?

|| Mark 4:10-12, 25; Luke 8:9-10, 18

MT13:10 And the disciples approached and asked Jesus: “Why do you speak by means of parables?” MT13:11 Jesus responded by saying, “You [disciples] have been permitted[1] to know the mysteries[2] of the Realm of Heaven,[3] but to those [people] it has not been granted.[4] MT13:12 For whoever possesses[5] will be made to abound even more;[6] and whoever possesses nothing, even that will be removed. MT13:13 For this reason I speak to them in parables: because though looking they do not see; and, though hearing, they do not comprehend.[7] MT13:14 Thus is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah,[8] which says, ‘Hearing you will hear but not comprehend; and observing you will look but not see. MT13:15 The heart of this people is become thick,[9] and with their ears heard with irritation.[10] They closed their eyes, so they would never [really] see; and their ears would never hear, and their hearts never comprehend – and they turn around[11] and I heal them.’[12] [Isaiah 6:9, 10]

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[1] You [disciples] have been permitted: Or, KJV: it is given unto you; PME: you have been given the chance. By means of their discipleship to the Nazarene they have been granted a favored position to hear and understand.

[2] Know the mysteries: The Greek is GNONAI TA MYSTERIA. Or, TCNT: the knowledge of the hidden truths; PME: to understand he secrets of. This is the only context where Jesus’ translators use “mystery.” (Luke 8:10) Paul uses the word 1 Corinthians 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; Ephesians 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:7. The word also appears in Revelation 10:7; 17:5, 7.

[3] Realm of Heaven: Or, Kingdom of the Heavens. In Luke this is “kingdom of God.” Some would apply this term to the celestial realm where God resides. It is strongly possible, however, that the phrase refers to the realm, domain, or territory over which Messiah reigns. Some have called this “the realm of profession.” Jesus is talking about that “congregation” (church) he will build and the opportunities of gaining membership with all its rights and privileges (Matthew 16:18). Jesus is about to give several parables that explain truths about the development and evolution of his Church and those members within it.

[4] To those [people] it has not been granted: Did Jesus gesture toward the beach crowd? Perhaps the disciples were so arranged only they heard this statement. Likely the crowd included the enemies of the Lord and what follows applies to them.

[5] Whoever possesses: Or, KJV: whoever hath; MON: whoever holds; NOR: if a man has possessions.

[6] Made to abound even more: Or, KJV: have more abundance; MON: more shall be given; NOR: he will get more until he has more than enough. The Nazarene’s disciples possess a privilege and responsibility within the group of his disciples. This is only the beginning, for according to their proper use of what they have, they will receive even more.

[7] They do not comprehend: The crowd has no taken the step of following the Lord as one of his disciples. They will hear the parables but not understand without an explanation by Jesus. Or, KJV: neither do they understand; BAS: the sense is not clear.

[8] The prophecy of Isaiah: This is a quotation of Isaiah 6:9, 10. This portion of Isaiah is also quoted at Acts 28:26, 27 and John 12:40. Some scholars believe Matthew and John are quoting from different original texts. Matthew adhering to the Greek text and John to the consonantal Hebrew text.

[9] Heart of this people is become thick: Or, KJV: heart is waxed gross; WEY: this people’s mind is stupefied; GDSP: this nations mind has grown dull. Jesus has already laid a heavy burden on his generation, calling it adulterous (apostate) and destined for a difficult judgment (Matthew 12:39). The Jewish hierarchy is particularly close-minded and their conscience (or, heart) will surely harden more and more until that fateful day when they scream, “Crucify him!”

[10] Heard with irritation: Or, KJV: dull of hearing; GDSP: hear faintly.

[11] They turn around: Or, KJV: be converted.

[12] I heal them: The Nazarene does not mean himself. The “I” is Yehowah in Isaiah 6. “Them” is the nation of Israel. This is a judgment on the generation or the entire nation, not individuals.

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Preceding

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 13:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable: the Soil and the Seed

++

Additional reading

  1. Congregation – Congregatie
  2. The Question is this…

+++

Related
  1. The mysterious journey towards God
  2. Of Sheep and Parables
  3. Class: Parables of Jesus, Matthew 13
  4. Upside Down Kingdom Parables: No Cost Too Great
  5. Parables of Jesus
  6. Understanding Parables
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