Matthew 13:11-13 - The Mystery of Parables (continued).

Matthew 13:11-13 - The Mystery of Parables (continued).

Matthew 13:11-13 (NLT) He replied, "You are permitted to 
understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To 
those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and 
they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not 
listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from 
them. 13 That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they 
don't really see. They hear, but they don't really listen or 

You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of 
Heaven, but others are not. Matthew 13:11 
   The disciples asked Jesus why He so often taught in parables, 
but His response may have raised more questions than it answered. 
Why would He permit some people to understand the secrets of the 
Kingdom but not others? Why wouldn't He speak in a way that everyone 
could easily understand? Isn't the gospel of salvation for everyone 
who believes? Why not, then, make it easier for everyone to believe? 
For some reason, Jesus spoke in a way that created a dividing line 
between faith and unbelief. Only some could grasp His teaching.  
   Even those who could grasp His words still had questions. The 
disciples didn't understand some parables at first, like that of the 
sower, until Jesus explained them. But at least they could accept His 
explanations. They received the truth of His teaching, which is more than 
could be said of the skeptics and legal experts listening to Jesus. 
Some members of His audiences were listening in order to find fault 
or disprove Him as a legitimate teacher from God. They did not have 
"ears to hear," as Jesus often put it. But those who were listening in 
order to learn - who genuinely believed that Jesus was speaking truth, 
or at least were open to the possibility that He might be - found 
themselves in a privileged position. They learned the secrets of the 
   You can learn the secrets of the Kingdom too. The dynamic is 
the same when you read Scripture and listen for God's voice. If you 
come as a true seeker, you will hear Him. If you come as a skeptic, 
you won't. Or to put it another way, whatever agenda you have as you 
listen - whether to discover eternal truth or deny it - it will be 
satisfied. The secrets of the Kingdom are open to you if you are open to 
   Jesus, give me the kind of heart that can hearYour mysteries 
and understand them. Make me a sponge that absorbs eternal truth. 
Help me root out any attitude that might block my hearing. [The One 
Year Hearing His Voice Devotional by Chris Tiegreen] 

[Jesus said.] "That is why I use these parables, for they look 
but they don't really see. They hear, but they don't really listen 
or understand." Matthew 13:13 
   Jesus' words are deep and insightful, but it doesn't take an 
advanced degree to understand them. The key issue is not intellectual; 
it's spiritual. Some analytical minds may not be able to decipher the 
true meaning of Christ's teaching, but that really isn't the point. 
Christianity is not a mental exercise. Following Jesus is a matter of the 
   Jesus' teaching - and the voice of God in general - always 
comes to us with a context and a choice. It's no coincidence that 
Jesus' explanation of why He spoke in parables came right after the 
parable of the sower. It's a story about the condition of the hearer's 
heart, and Jesus' explanation about the purpose of parables picks up 
the same theme. Some people have hearts to hear; others don't. Some 
are looking for a reason to believe; others are looking for a reason 
not to. The Lord's words are always clear enough for those with open 
hearts to understand, and always obscure enough that those with closed 
minds will not be able to understand them. Truth always requires some 
level of faith and humility in order to receive it.  
   That's true of anything God says, not just the teachings of 
Jesus in Scripture. If you are looking for purely objective, rational, 
analytical, unquestionable words from God, you will be disappointed because 
you are actually looking for a way to hear that requires no faith. 
If, however, you are willing to go with the flow of the Spirit and 
trust yourself to His leading, even when it seems subjective, you have 
opened your heart to hear. His words aren't illogical, but they are 
certainly extralogical - above our ability to reason. If we can accept 
that, we can embrace the deep truths of His Kingdom.  
   Lord, You don't want me to turn off my brain. But neither do 
You want me to reject any word from You that doesn't fit my logic. I 
give You permission to blow my mind with the things You want to tell 
me. [The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional by Chris Tiegreen] 

[Jesus said.] "The hearts of these people are hardened, and 
their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes - so their 
eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot 
understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them." Matthew 13:15 
   A hardened heart is the enemy of God's voice and a 
frightening spiritual danger. God is perfectly willing to correct a mistaken 
heart, give wisdom to a simple heart, sway a reluctant heart, and 
awaken a sleeping heart. But a hardened heart requires softening, and 
that usually takes time. God doesn't force His way into the spirit of 
a calloused soul. He woos and pursues, often very persuasively and 
even irresistibly, but He doesn't demand. He is looking for a loving 
response, not an obligatory one. Hearts that have grown cold and calloused 
effectively keep Him out, and He lets them.  
   That hardening isn't always a conscious choice. In fact, it 
usually isn't. Little by little, we may desensitize ourselves to 
whatever God is doing in our lives, slowly and imperceptibly growing cold 
to His overtures. We justify and rationalize and come up with lots 
of explanations - many of which may even sound spiritual - for 
relying on our own wisdom and making our own decisions, but they all 
create distance between us and God. Over time, our hearts harden and 
our ears forget how to hear. We become spiritually dull.  
   Whatever it takes, develop your sensitivity to God and His 
whispers in your life. Ask Him to tune you in to the sound of His voice. 
Don't wait for Him to shake the foundations of your life to get your 
attention. Give Him your full attention every day. Devour Scripture, watch 
for His words, and look for ways to apply them. Let the softening of 
your heart draw you into God's nourishing, healing, strengthening 
   Lord, is my heart calloused? Have I tuned You out? It's 
difficult to recognize hardness in myself, and I need to know. In any 
areas of insensitivity in my life, soften me up. Draw me close. Get my 
attention and hold it. Heighten my spiritual senses to pick up on even the 
slightest whisper from You. [The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional by 
Chris Tiegreen] 






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