Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
This is one of my favorite chapters. Jesus explains why He teaches the people in parables. God enlightened the Twelve to understand the mysteries of the kingdom to come, but the scribes and Pharisees refused to believe so understanding did not come to them. They were made blind and deaf by their unbelief. John quotes Jesus:
If I have told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? John 3:12
Jesus spoke in parables because those were real-life examples, and the spiritual truths were made simple and understandable to the people. Those who chose to believe, could easily understand the truth, and thus the Gospel became refreshing, living water to them. Those who chose not to believe the Gospel became a death knell to them.
Therefore, parables became the crux of Jesus’ preaching and teaching, life applications so to speak. The truth became the warm light showing the way for some, but became a blinding road-blocker to others. There is only one Jew (besides Bartemaeus, of course) I know who was blinded and it made him see the truth, and that was Paul on the road to Damascus.
These simple truths should have been beacons of enlightenment to the Pharisees, should have had them digging in Scriptures, but they chose to resist all enlightenment and remain stubbornly blind to the truth in the nutshell. Some were equipped with the wit to crack the shell, some were blind to the tools God gave them to get to the sweet fruit inside.
The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
Some seeds are deliberately ignorant. They see God’s grace, but refuse to hear the plain teaching of Christ’s, so they are blind as well. Because they are resolved to be ignorant, they shut down their learning senses to remain ignorant, and Satan devours them.
God gives us our righteous and understanding heart. He gave King Saul a new heart (1 Samuel 10:9). He spoke of circumcised hearts that are tender and yielding with longing (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6). When a person deliberately rejects God’s truth and grace, God justly denies any understanding because it is like throwing pearls before swine. Therefore, God chooses their delusions (Isaiah 66:4), and gives them up to their own lustful heart’s desires (Romans 1:18-32).
Paul testifies about his conversion on the road to Damascus as he spoke to King Agrippa explaining how Jesus worked in his life:
So I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.' "Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision Acts 26:15-19
Paul understood why the Jews were so blind. He tells the Romans it was to provoke the Jews to jealousy.
...even as it has been written, "God gave to them a spirit of slumber, eyes not seeing and ears not hearing" until this day. (from Isaiah 29:10; Deuteronomy 29:4) And David said, "Let their table become for a snare and a trap, and for a stumbling block," and a repayment to them; "let their eyes be darkened, not to see, and their back always bowing." (Psalm 69:22-23) I say, then, Did not they stumble that they fall? Let it not be! But by their slipping away came salvation to the nations, to provoke them to jealousy. Romans 11:8-11
And Paul tells the Corinthians who is doing the blinding.
But also if our Gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, so that the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
Jesus does an extraordinary thing in this chapter. The common people knew exactly what He was saying, and nothing had to be spelled out for them. He proclaimed those who chose to be blind and deaf to the Gospel very foolish if not plain stupid.
What good farmer deliberately sows seed on hard roads, stony ground, or in bramble bushes? What good farmer deliberately sows weeds in with his good crop? What good baker cooks with plain flour without leaven, and expects it to rise and brown beautifully? What person would bypass owning a field in which he or she knew abundant treasure, a pearl of great cost, was there for the plucking? No sane person, no person with the common sense that God gave him or her would do such things.
In essence, only those deliberately blind and deaf to godly wisdom and knowledge would believe the lies of Satan and reject the truths of God. Even the father knew Whom to turn to in order to gain help with unbelief, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
Believe God. Nothing is impossible for Him. Though Paul was a Jew. He was a blasphemer and an insolent man, he obtained mercy because he heard Jesus, was blinded, but chose to believe (1 Timothy 1:13).
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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