In my prior post I posed the question of why Jesus might not want to make himself known, plainly, to everyone.
In Mark 4 and elsewhere he seems to indicate that one of the purposes of his parables is to partially obscure the truth about himself, “lest they turn and be forgiven.”
Thus Jesus is sometimes referred to by scholars as the “hidden” or “veiled” Messiah.
The parables, then, often act as filters, preventing those who don’t have genuine spiritual hearing from grasping the mysteries of the kingdom.
In their fine volume, Hidden But Now Revealed (IVP), Beale and Gladd put it this way:
“Parables must be decoded.”
By pursuing their meaning, facing their implications, allowing their truths to penetrate.
But the crowds resist. As was prophesied in Isaiah 6 and quoted in the gospels, the people’s hearts were hard. God would not quickly relent. He would not cater to their intransigence or reward their stubbornness.
He would not let them off the hook by giving them easy understanding.
“For those on the outside [the crowds],” Jesus says, “Everything is in parables.”
To return to the original question, then, of why Jesus doesn’t reveal himself more plainly to people, his answer seems to be: because they are not ready for me.
A notable exception among the “crowds” is the tainted, broken woman of Luke 7, who crashes a party to weep at the feet of Jesus. He says of her, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.”
The humble in heart will find God.
The curious will find an open door.
The obstinate will find Jesus curiously inaccessible.