It’s Up to You

Jesus wasn’t being fair. At least He sounded unfair, when He told his disciples why He spoke in parables, instead of laying out His truths in a straightforward way.

“He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 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. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 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.’” (Matthew 13:11-15, NIV)[1]

Sounds unfair, doesn’t it:  “Whoever has will be given more, etc.?”  Did Jesus arbitrarily try to confuse some people and keep them from His salvation?  The answer is revealed in the words Jesus quoted the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:9ff).   There are some people who cannot “see and hear,” who will never understand God’s truths.  But that is because They have closed their eyes!”  By that choice, “this people’s heart has become calloused…”   When people shut their eyes to God’s truth, when they turn away from God, their hearts do become hardened, and it becomes tougher – potentially impossible –  for them to understand anything about God.

You have seen a lesser example of this dynamic as most teenagers close their eyes and ears to what their parents try to teach them.  For a time, in the minds of those adolescents, the parents have become stupid  and ignorant.  The youth’s make a choice that hardens their hearts.  In most cases, the resulting separation and angst is temporary.  No harm, no foul.   But when people close their eyes to God, the effects are potentially much more serious and long-lasting.

When Jesus told a parable, it was like a bunker-buster of truth, designed to penetrate beyond the callouses on our hearts.  Once the seemingly harmless story has gotten past our defenses, the truth contained within it “goes off.”  But the impact of that truth separates the HAVES from the HAVE-NOT’S.  For those who HAVE a readiness to learn and receive, the truths contained in the parable produce “aha moments” of increased understanding.  Those who DO NOT HAVE that readiness don’t get it.

When those who HAVE, respond to what they understand, when they TURN, Jesus heals them.  He erases their separation from God by fully paying for their pardon on the cross.  He reconciles them with God and gives them eternal life – His Holy Spirit.  This Spirit is born in their souls and grows, producing a crop of fruit (of the Spirit) in the world. (See “Sow What” and “Seeds of Truth“)

In other words, the impact of Jesus’ parables in your life, depends upon you.  It’s up to you.  It depends on whether you HAVE a willingness to learn His truths, or whether you have closed your eyes and HAVE NOT.

[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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