Chapter 13 in Matthew is today’s Bible reading. Jesus speaks in parables. He speaks of sowing the words of God like sowing seeds on various grounds (good and bad soil). He is speaking of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. In reading the two subjects together and the previous chapters in Matthew, we know that Jesus is sowing the seeds of the Kingdom of God while teaching the large crowd who follow Him to hear Him and to be healed. The message today is “The Kingdom of Heaven”. Jesus is speaking and teaching the same message to a large crowd of varying heart conditions like the soils He talks about. In this passage, Jesus differentiates those who are listening and to whom He will give more understanding, and those who are not listening. The difference is in the word “listening”. By listening to Jesus, they will see the truth and receive. Jesus has taught and done many miraculous signs, but not all listen or see with understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven message Jesus is preaching authoritatively and powerful demonstrating by His supernatural ministry on earth. Unless one understands how it operates one cannot receive the Kingdom of Heaven and become a part of it.
One alarming thing that Jesus has pointed out is that the audience has control over whether they hear or not hear. See or not see. He explains why they cannot hear or see. “For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes-so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.” (Matthew 13:15) This statement clearly places the responsibility on an audience because he can close his ears and eyes by hardening his own heart and thereby misses out the Kingdom of Heaven. Frightening.
Bible verses are quoted from the Holy Bible NLT. (Boldness added)
Matthew 13:1-15 New Living Translation (NLT) Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.’[b]