{15}    Seeing and not perceiving [Mk 4:11-12]

Mk 4:11-12
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!”


·         Does it mean that Jesus deliberately uses parables to explain truth so that the hearers cannot understand?


·         between the parable of the sower (seeds in four soils) and the explanation of that parable.

·         parallel in Mt 13:13; Lk 8:10; Isa 6:9


·         “Parable” from Greek “parabole” (meaning “a placing beside”) means a comparison or an illustration. It is commonly used in NT for illustrative stories that Jesus draws from nature and human life and serves as a means of teaching.

·         The saying is adapted from Isa 6:9. The question is: was Isaiah ordered to go and tell the people to pay no heed to what they heard, thus make it impossible for them to repent and so escape the destruction that would otherwise overtake them?

·         No, the verse does not express a desire that some would not understand. It is simply the result.

·         In Hebrew, there is a tendency to express a consequence as though it were a purpose.

·         Matthew uses the word “because” instead of “so that” and the difficulty of the saying is more easily understood.

·         Jesus compares His preaching to the prophecy of Isaiah: while it gained some disciples, it also exposed the hard-hearted resistance of many people to God’s warning and appeal.


·         While the gospel leads to salvation of many, it is also resisted by many others. We should not be discouraged because of the resistance. [more on this resistance in another passage in Mt 7:6 about throwing pearls to pigs]


{16}    Neither will I tell you [Mk 11:33]

Mk 11:33
Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. (exactly the same in Mt 21:27; Lk 20:8)


·         Why did Jesus refuse to give a straight answer and hide the source of His authority?


·         in Jerusalem during the Holy Week

·         answering the chief priests, the teachers of law and the elders (Mk 11:27‑33), probably those from the Sanhedrin

·         question on his act in the previous day of cleansing of the temple (Mk 11:15-17)


·         Cleansing of the temple is a prophetic action. Zec 14:21 “And on that day there will no longer be a merchant in the house of the Lord Almighty.” The outer court (court of the Gentiles) will become a house of prayer for all the nations.

·         Why did Jesus cleanse the temple while the activity is needed for sacrifices to God? The answer is in Mk 11:17b: “But you have made it a den of robbers.” — because the merchants were charging unfair prices.

·         They did not deserve to be told; nor did he need to tell them, since His miracles (prior to the cleansing of the temple) proved that God was with him. His action was already the answer.

·         Jesus tested them by another question about the baptism of John the Baptist.

·         Jesus in effect said to them, “If you cannot recognize divine authority when you see it in action, no amount of argument will convince you of its presence.”


·         Some people will demand the authority of truth itself, forgetting that truth is the highest authority.