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.
Beautiful post, Rick. Just what I needed to hear today!
Thanks, Aylin. There’s a lot more to be said about this topic, and I plan to add additional thoughts in future posts.
Thank you Rick, your post is thought provoking and beautifully stated. Looking forward to your additional thoughts.
Thanks for the good words. I have a new presentation on this topic so I will fill in some of the content here. Shortly 🙂
Please do Rick!
To add to your point,
Proverbs 8:17 says, “…those who seek me find me”
Jeremiah 29:13 “If you look for me wholeheartedly you will find me”
I also wonder if it is God’s intent that Christians walk more regularly in the super natural gifts like the New Testament believers did, thus demonstrsting that Jesus is real. Jesus pretty much always backed up his ministry with miracles as did the disciples and the first church.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4 “my message and preaching were not with wise and persuasive words bit with a demonstration of the Spirits power so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power. “
Hey Kelli, At a conference I staffed in IL, an atheist student said to me, “I’m not doing this. There’s no way I’ll ever be a Christian” . . . until he witnessed a healing two hours later, at which point he came to faith.
I just read this passage this morning, and loved your conclusions, and not just because they echoed mine. 🙂
Hey Sarah, Anyone who agrees with me must be doing something right . . . !