SECRETS OF THE KINGDOM

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Epiphany- Day 26

Matthew 13:10-17 NIV

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Those who have will be given more, and they will have an abundance. As for those who do not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 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.”

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

CONSIDER THIS. . .

“Why do you speak to the people in parables?” In other words, why don’t you just spell it out, write a manifesto, make it a book even, create a movement? Why all the cryptic stories? Just say it. Make it plain. Give it to us straight. That’s what we want our leaders and teachers to do isn’t it?

Why have we so little tolerance for mystery or for the ways of wisdom?

Could it be because knowledge actually is power? This might help explain Jesus’ m.o. We come to knowledge with what I call a mastery methodology. We want to master the content so we can manipulate it. It puts us in control. But Jesus’ approach is just the opposite. To understand his teaching will require a “mastered by” approach. It will be our submission to the master that opens the way for our understanding of his message. Parables invite the humility of submission to the teacher. Parables inspire the posture for epiphany. With our eyes and ears opened, the flashes of insight and understanding lead us to places of glad gratitude. And it builds on itself over and over and over again. “Those who have will be given more.” The sad corollary is also true. Those who refuse to be mastered by this Messiah will slowly become smaller, more cynical, angry and hard of heart. They will, in fact, lose the insight with which they began.

What might this mean for this day? How might we invite the Lord to soften our hearts; to open our eyes and ears so that we might see and hear and turn to him and be healed? Please God. (jdw)

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