Why Did Jesus Teach in Parables? Matthew 13:10-17
Part Two:
“14) In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; 15) For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’ 16) But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17) For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭14‬-‭17‬
Jesus now gives a second answer as to why He was speaking to the people in parables. The short version might read; “I speak in parables to fulfill prophesy.” Though He did not mention Psalm 78:2, it has a direct bearing on the question of the disciples. It says; “2) I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter dark sayings of old.” The rest of Psalm 78 lines up with His quotation from Isaiah 6:9-12 sighted by Jesus in the text above. I include Psalm 78:2, because it clearly foretold that the Messiah would teach in parables.
Now let’s turn our attention to Matthew 13:14-15. This is nearly an exact quote from Isaiah 6:9-10. It comes from the commission of Isaiah to go and preach to Israel. God told him that though he would peach to the people, they would not listen because they were blind and deaf. Their hearts were closed.
Jesus faced the same response from the religious leaders. The Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and priests were mostly deaf and blind. Though many of the common people were connecting the dots of His words and works to the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, the religious leaders were deaf and blind with calloused hearts. Jesus concluded His public ministry by teaching in parables to keep the dull and blinded in darkness, rebellion and rejection.
Paul eventually argued in Romans 11 that the rejection of Israel led to the gospel going to the Gentiles. But he also noted that there has always been a remnant in Israel and that God would keep His promises to His Old Testament chosen people.
Jesus was teaching in parables to fulfill prophecy and bring about salvation for all mankind. The rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leaders paved the way for God’s greater plan for humanity.
Peter included this mystery in the powerful message he preached on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:22-24 shows that God was active in the background setting the stage for the crucifixion and resurrection. In other words, Jesus preached in parables to ensure that the gospel would be fulfilled.
But the greater question is; “When is the veil taken away?” “At what point do people hear with understanding?” That question is answered in 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:4; “When people turn to Lord the veil is removed.”
The Holy Spirit opens people to the gospel and the meaning of Scripture. He is the teacher. Salvation unlocks the door of understanding the parables taught by Jesus and to all of Scripture.
Born-again believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit have a blessing and treasure that many in the Old Testament sought. Believers can read Gods Word with Spirit anointed understanding. Their ears and eyes are open. Their spirit is alive. The wall of separation between them and God is removed. The lights are turned on. They can enjoy indescribable fellowship with God through His Spirit and in His Word.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global