Explore the Bible: Matthew 13:7-10
Jesus used many parables in His teaching, and Matthew 13 has several of them. After He gave the parable of the sower, His disciples were curious as to why Jesus used parables. His answer was that those who had spiritual insight would understand the point of the parable, while those who refused to listen would hear the story but miss the point. He quoted Isaiah 6:9-10 to explain this principle.
The passage Jesus quotes is from the call of Isaiah in chapter 6. Isaiah has his vision of the Lord in the temple, and answers God’s call for someone to go and speak for Him. Even as He commissions Isaiah, the Lord warns him that people will refuse to listen to what he has to say, and will reject his call to return to the Lord. Jesus recognizes that people in His own time were in the same position as those of Isaiah’s time, and that many simply refused to listen to or understand what He had to say.
This refusal to heed the word of Christ goes beyond a few parables taught in the first century. Today there are many who attend churches and who know what the Bible says, but who refuse to accept that it is God’s Word. While there are certainly parts of the Bible that are hard to understand and require some significant study, much of its message is straightforward. The gospel is clearly spelled out, and the way to heaven through Jesus is stated many times in very plain language.
So how do people miss it? Many really don’t. They understand exactly what the Bible teaches, and their human nature rebels against the thought of it truth. They want to believe that they can make themselves right with God, and that there are other ways to heaven. They see the Bible as infringing on their freedom and hopelessly narrow-minded, not a message that fits the world of our day as they see it. It isn’t a question of intellect, but of will.
As we continue to study God’s Word, we have to constantly search our own hearts to see if we are open to hear what the Holy Spirit has to teach us or if we want to make the Bible fit what we already believe. Jesus’ own disciples took years to begin to figure out just what He meant by His teaching, and the gospels make it clear that when He died they didn’t yet comprehend what happened. It took years (and the Spirit!) to open their eyes fully to the full truth of His teaching.
We should be ready to allow as much time as it takes for the lessons of Scripture to find a home in our hearts. You may find that over time you see parts of the Bible more clearly, and maybe you even have to change your mind to match the truth. Some sections you may never fully grasp, and some truths of Scripture are simply beyond our finite human minds. (Just how does the Trinity work, anyway?) The rest of our lives, and indeed all of eternity, await our continued searching of the Scriptures to more fully understand the mind of God.