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Matthew 13:10-17 The Message (MSG)

Why Tell Stories?

10 The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?”

11-15 He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again:

Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
    Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
    so they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
    so they won’t have to look,
    so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face
    and let me heal them.

16-17 “But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Matthew 13:10-16 Living Bible (TLB)

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you always use these hard-to-understand illustrations?”[a]

11 Then he explained to them that only they were permitted to understand about the Kingdom of Heaven, and others were not.

12-13 “For to him who has will more be given,” he told them, “and he will have great plenty; but from him who has not, even the little he has will be taken away. That is why I use these illustrations, so people will hear and see but not understand.[b]

14 “This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah:

‘They hear, but don’t understand; they look, but don’t see! 15 For their hearts are fat and heavy, and their ears are dull, and they have closed their eyes in sleep, 16 so they won’t see and hear and understand and turn to God again, and let me heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 13:10 Why do you always use these hard-to-understand illustrations? is implied.
  2. Matthew 13:12 so people will hear and see but not understand. Those who were receptive to spiritual truth understood the illustrations. To others they were only stories without meaning.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Matthew 13:10-16 The Passion Translation (TPT)

10 Then his disciples approached Jesus and asked, “Why do you always speak to people in these hard-to-understand parables?”

11 He explained, “You’ve been given the intimate experience of insight into the hidden truths and mysteries[a] of the realm of heaven’s kingdom, but they have not. 12 For everyone who listens with an open heart will receive progressively more revelation[b] until he has more than enough.[c] But those who don’t listen with an open, teachable heart, even the understanding that they think they have will be taken from them.[d] 13 That’s why I teach the people using parables, because they think they’re looking for truth, yet because their hearts are unteachable, they never discover it. Although they will listen to me, they never fully perceive the message I speak. 14 The prophecy of Isaiah describes them perfectly:

Although they listen carefully to everything I speak,
    they don’t understand a thing I say.
    They look and pretend to see,
    but the eyes of their hearts are closed.
15 Their minds are dull and slow to perceive,[e]
    their ears are plugged and are hard of hearing,
    and they have deliberately shut their eyes to the truth.
    Otherwise they would open their eyes to see,
    and open their ears to hear,
    and open their minds to understand.
    Then they would turn to me
    and let me instantly heal them.[f]

16 “But your eyes are privileged, for they see. Delighted are your ears, for they are open to hear all these things.[g]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 13:11 The Greek word musterion is found twenty-seven times in the New Testament and means “secrets” or “mysteries.” The mysteries of heaven’s kingdom realm are spiritual insights into the nature and ways of God. Jesus Christ can only be fully understood by the spirit, not merely by the intellect of man. Jesus taught his disciples using the cryptic language of parables to move them beyond intellectual abilities and engage the spirit. If the listener had a hunger to learn with an open, teachable heart, then Jesus’ words brought life and understanding. We must always be those who push aside our opinions and traditions to glean the deepest meaning of all that Jesus did and taught. See also Job 15:8; Prov. 3:32; 1 Cor. 2:14; Col. 2:2; 4:3.
  2. Matthew 13:12 Or “To he who has, more will be given.” This is an obvious ellipsis that, in the context, refers to having an open heart to receive the understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
  3. Matthew 13:12 Or “until they habitually superabound” (with understanding).
  4. Matthew 13:12 As translated from Hebrew Matthew.
  5. Matthew 13:15 The Aramaic is “waterlogged.”
  6. Matthew 13:15 See Isa. 6:9-10.
  7. Matthew 13:16 As translated from the Aramaic. Or “Your eyes have a blessing resting upon them because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

Matthew 13:10-16 Amplified Bible (AMP)

An Explanation

10 Then the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?” 11 Jesus replied to them, “To you it has been granted to know the [a]mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has [spiritual wisdom because he is receptive to God’s word], to him more will be given, and he will be richly and abundantly supplied; but whoever does not have [spiritual wisdom because he has devalued God’s word], even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 This is the reason I speak to the crowds in parables: because while [having the power of] seeing they do not see, and while [having the power of] hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand and grasp [spiritual things]. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

You will hear and keep on hearing, but never understand;
And you will look and keep on looking, but never comprehend;
15 
For this nation’s heart has grown hard,
And with their ears they hardly hear,
And they have [tightly] closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart, and turn [to Me]
And I would heal them [spiritually].’

16 But blessed [spiritually aware, and favored by God] are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 13:11 Things which humans cannot know or discover on their own unless God reveals it to them.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

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