“TO YOU IT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO KNOW THE SECRETS … “
Children love to know a secret! And to share it! Lots of whispering!!
But when Jesus answered his disciple’s question, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” [Matt. 13 v.10] by “answering, “to you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven,” he was not saying, keep this a secret, don’t tell anyone about this” he meant, that by giving his message by telling simple stories that had a meaning, the message would get through to the people he wanted to reach, the ordinary people.
These “secrets” however, the educated lawyers and religious leaders would “look down their noses” at! This sort of talk was too lowbrow for them to take seriously. Their attitude would fulfil, says Jesus, what Isaiah wrote, “You will indeed hear, but never understand … for this people’s heart has grown dull” [v.14,15].
This has happened repeatedly throughout history, people have not listened properly. They have also tried to “improve” on the message and, as a result, have misunderstood and become like those Paul referred to who “desiring to be teachers … without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” [1 Timothy 1 v.7]
An example of is the reference of Jesus to the “kingdom of heaven”. He never says kingdom in heaven, rather he means a heavenly kingdom to come on earth to replace the kingdoms of men – as we pray when we say the Lord ’s Prayer.
When Jesus visited his own “hometown (Nazareth), he taught them in their synagogue, in a way that astonished them. They said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? … and they took offense at him” [v.54,55,57].
Some of the parables we read today we know well. We read of the wheat and the weeds growing together with no attempt to destroy the weeds until harvest time. At that time all will be revealed and judgement will be against those who, in God’s sight, are “weeds”.
“Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned” [v.30]. The world today abounds with weeds more than ever; how long until the harvest? Then the “Son of man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin … then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom …” [v.42,43] You know, there is no half and half, you are either weed material – or wheat – that has embraced “the secrets of the kingdom” and that can be put to uses in God’s Kingdom that are passing wonder – far beyond our present understanding.