Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
Matthew 13:10-17 (NIV)
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because 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 they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 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 truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
In our devotions this week, we will look at the parables of Matthew 13 that were not covered in our recent sermons. In this passage, Jesus seems to be saying that his parables are meant to hide God’s grace from some people, but this is not quite the case. “Hearing” and “seeing” illustrate acceptance or rejection of the gospel of Jesus. For example, in Acts 1:37 after Peter delivered a sermon to a large crowd their hearts were “cut” open by what they heard about Jesus. However, in Acts 7:57 after Stephen delivers a similar sermon to Jewish leaders they did the opposite! They literally “covered their ears” and yelled like a child does to drown out the Gospel! The message is for all people because Jesus died for all people. But not all people want a savior or want to hear that they need one! Seriously ask yourself: do I really like hearing that I have limits, that I am broken, that I am helpless or that I cannot save myself? Jesus did not come to encourage us to try harder or put us back on the right track. He came to kill our self-centered selves and give us a completely new life. Resurrection is always preceded by death, but that is hard for us to hear. Why parables? They are short stories that challenge our hearts to “hear” and “see” Jesus in new ways.