Matthew 13: Opportunity to Understand
Jesus begins Matthew 13 by giving a variety of parables relating to the kingdom of heaven, but these parables were not told in His hometown. At the end of the chapter, he does return home, and He is not received with much belief.
Mat 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Mat 13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
Mat 13:56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
Mat 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Mat 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
These people felt that they knew who He was. They felt like they understood His upbringing, and it doesn’t seem to me that people necessarily thought He was a bad guy, they just did not think of Him as a great teacher or miracle worker.
Jesus had the opportunity to teach in the synagogue, and while it says that He did not do many miracles, that implies that He might have done some. We don’t necessarily know the content of either of these things, but Jesus was probably saying similar things to what He had said elsewhere.
I point that out because, just like today, there are different responses to Jesus. We all have the same Bible more or less. Almost everybody at least in America is capable of going to the store and picking up a normal English translation to be on the same page as Christians around the world.
Why is it that for those of us who are Christians the response is different than it is for those who are not of the faith?
I actually think this is a rather complex question, but let me suggest something from earlier in the chapter.
Mat 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
It seems to me that there is a combination. On one hand, I do believe that God speaks through the Bible to us, so there is a supernatural element. However, it also seems that these people have shut themselves down on some level. It seems that there is some level of personal responsibility here as well.
I think I am going into much deeper theological water here, but it seems to me that at least the appropriate response is gratefulness to God that we have been given His Word. We ought to be thankful that we have the opportunity to understand.