In Matthew 13:11, Jesus speaks about the kingdom of heaven in a way that might initially seem puzzling: "He answered them, 'To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.'" This verse is part of a more extensive section in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus uses parables to teach spiritual truths. Let's explore the meaning behind this statement and what it reveals about the nature of the kingdom of heaven.
The Parable of the Sower
To fully grasp the significance of Matthew 13:11, we must first understand the context in which Jesus spoke these words. Just before this verse, Jesus shared the famous Parable of the Sower. In this parable, He explained that the seed, representing the word of God, falls on different types of soil, symbolizing different responses to His message. Some receive the message with open hearts and understanding; others reject it or let worldly concerns choke it.
The Disciples' Privileged Position
When Jesus says, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven," He is addressing His disciples directly. He is emphasizing their privilege of being close to Him, receiving His teachings firsthand, and having their hearts and minds open to the truths of the kingdom. Jesus imparts knowledge to His disciples because of their willingness to follow Him, learn from Him, and grow in their faith.
The Parable's Universal Message
It's essential to recognize that Jesus' statement means the kingdom of heaven is exclusively reserved for a select few. His words in Matthew 13:11 emphasize that understanding the deep spiritual truths of the kingdom requires an open heart, a receptive spirit, and a decision to choose Him. Jesus uses parables to hide these truths and to exclusively reveal them to those who are genuinely seeking and following Him.
In essence, Jesus invites all to enter the kingdom, but not everyone will choose to understand or embrace it. Some will remain closed off due to pride, hardness of heart, or preoccupation with worldly pursuits. The "them" in the verse represents those who, like the rocky or thorny soil in the Parable of the Sower, resist the message of the kingdom.
The Call to Seek and Understand
Matthew 13:11 reminds us of the importance of seeking and understanding the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. It underscores the need for humility, receptivity, and a heart that seeks after God's truths. Jesus invites everyone to come and learn from Him, but it's up to us to respond to His call and open our hearts to His teachings.
Friend, I hope you didn't miss last night's kingdom teaching on the subject. Here's a link just in case you want to watch the replay.