“When He was alone with the Twelve, those who were around Him asked Him about the parables. He answered them, 'The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you...'”
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“When He was alone with the Twelve, those who were around Him asked Him about the parables. He answered them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables so that they may look and look, yet not perceive; they may listen and listen, yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back and be forgiven.’” Mark 4:10-12 (HCSB)
At a glance, it seems that Jesus wants some men to know the truth and others not to. But this is not the case because, if it were, His motive would be inconsistent with Scripture.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NKJV)
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB 95)
So what’s the deal with Jesus’s statement about insiders and outsiders?
First off, let’s examine who was with Jesus. Some Bible translations lead you to believe it was just Jesus and the twelve disciples. The more accurate translations indicate that the twelve were there, but there were also others.
In Scripture, Jesus is highly concerned about the source of testimony regarding His miracles and Messianic identity. He directed people to “tell no one, rather show yourself to the priests and present the offering Moses required.” He wanted things to stay on the eye-witness level and not become a mob witness. Whenever a demon announced Jesus as Messiah, Jesus would silence it. He sent the people He healed directly to the priest.
Jesus wanted the Spirit to reveal that He was Messiah, not demons, a mob, or human intellect. That is not to say that we should not preach the Gospel. It is merely that our powers of persuasion do not make unbelievers believe. The Spirit reveals Truth when we preach. And Truth is found when people humbly seek it because they are willing to receive the testimony of the Spirit, whose ministry is to reveal Truth. To the non-believer, the Bible (and Biblical preaching) is just a collection of words and ideas. But matched with the Holy Spirit, God’s Word becomes “revelation.” For those willing to receive the Spirit’s revelation, otherwise simple morality lessons or “parables” become foundations for repentance and faithful living. Outsiders come in.
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah
[son of Jonah], for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’” Matthew 16:17 (NKJV)
Salvation is offered exclusively through Jesus but is available to all who will humble themselves, receive the testimony of God’s Spirit, and faithfully choose to believe.
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©Steve Wiggins 2021