He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
We love being in the know. Knowing a secret. On the inside, getting the scoop. Getting info that everyone on the outside craves but can’t get to. It makes us feel special because we have something that no one else has.
When Mary Ann became pregnant, she wanted to keep it a secret. This was the total opposite of me. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I wanted to take out a full-page ad in the newspaper. I wanted to rent a billboard and plaster it all over town. But out of love and respect for her, we kept it quiet.
When it comes to the secrets of the kingdom of God, Jesus says that the disciples already have the answer. They have the key to unlock the mystery. They have the combination to open the safe. They are on the inside; they have the secret information and instructions from God. But not everyone is so fortunate. Not everyone is informed.
The secret is hidden not because it’s hard to understand. Not because you need a genius IQ or advanced degrees. As a matter of fact, the secret is really simple. It’s right in front of them. It’s as plain as the nose on their face. The reason it’s a mystery is not because it’s hard, but because it’s impossible to see when your eyes are shut.
You could be standing in front of a beautiful sunset, or the Mona Lisa, or the love of your life. But it wouldn’t matter. If your eyes are closed, they aren’t there to you. They could be a million miles away, or right next door, it wouldn’t matter. Shutting our eyes is shutting out light, love, forgiveness, hope.
Jesus says that the disciples have been given the secret. They already have it, nothing more needs to be given. And since they have the secret, it,s to continue changing their life each and every day. No one and nothing can take it away from them. It is theirs forever. Even though they had it all, it will gradually become clearer, invading more and more of their lives.
Not everyone is in the same position as the disciples. While the disciples were in the circle, there are people who are outside. The circle doesn’t keep people out. It’s people who keep themselves outside. They have put themselves outside and have no desire to move inside. They purposefully have put on blinders and willfully want to stay that way.
And who are these self-blinded people? They are Jesus’ enemies who were selling the lie that he was cooperating with Satan. They wanted no part of the truth. They hid the truth from themselves. They totally refused to believe anything else, they were not open to any other option. So, they were not willing to change their opinion, to turn around, to change their direction, to repent.
They were basically guilty of one sin, but it was a biggie. The biggest biggie of them all: willful rejection of the truth about Jesus. This is the unpardonable sin, the sin that cannot be forgiven. If someone refuses to believe that Jesus is from God, that he is God, then they choose against him.
This answers the question I hear all the time: why doesn’t God just save everyone? The answer is that God will not force anyone to worship him, love him, obey him. To do so would be against God’s nature and the way he made us. He lovingly wants nothing but the best for us, but he will not force us to outwardly worship and obey him if, on the inside, we’d rather be doing anything else.
It’s less about God sending people to hell, condemning them to hell, and more about their choosing separation from God. Yes, when you choose against God, you make yourself to be God, and since there can only be one God, you separate yourself from him.
To welcome and enjoy love, forgiveness, and hope, we have to open our eyes to God. We must turn from ourselves and our ideas, moving toward how God has revealed himself to us. To recognize him for who he says he is. To what he’s done in Jesus.
This means turning away from our old, preconceived ideas about what someone else said about God and look for ourselves. Yes, we can and should read what others have said, but does it match up to listening to what Jesus says about himself? To his nature and character? To his loving forgiveness for even the most awful crimes and sins against God and people.
With Jesus, all is forgivable. All can be washed clean. All can be renewed.
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is no secret to what has to happen now. The only person stopping us is ourselves. So, what’s stopping you?