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10And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”11He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.12For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.13Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.14And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;15For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’16But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;17for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Leviticus29:3, Proverbs9:9, Isaiah6:9-10, Mark4:10-12, Luke8:9-10, John9:39,1Corinthians2:10,1Pet1:10)

It is graciously given to the disciples of Christ to hear and to understand these mysteries. Knowledge is the first gift of God. It is given to all true believers, who have an experimental knowledge of the gospel secrets. That is, without doubt, the best knowledge.
What a wonderful picture, Jesus sitting on the boat near the sea-side and the crowds sitting on the sand listening to His words. He began to explain to them the law of the growth of believers and the rule of spiritual contradiction in those that did not grow.
The believers heard the Word of God, agreed to it, and came to trust the incarnate Son of God, united with him through faith into a new covenant. They abided in Him, and their roots stretched out, going deep into His living word that they might receive power to fulfill His will and to free, in His name, others from the darkness of sin. Christ Himself dwelt in their hearts and gave them the opportunity to proclaim His salvation.
How great is the spiritual growth in the followers of Jesus that the Lord blessed them, for they had seen Him, recognized Him, heard Him, and obeyed His word. How miserable is the law of decline and retreat to those who oppose Jesus as their Savior. God sent the prophet Isaiah 700 years before Christ’s birth to harden the people of the Old Testament, because they did not truly repent after the Lord had saved them from the Assyrian army. They gradually sank into vice and evil, and consequently the Lord punished them and brought them by means of the Chaldean army into Babylon. This is called in history, “the Babylonian captivity.” After that, the Lord had mercy on them and opened the door for them to return, after 70 years of absence, to their homeland that they might listen to reason and turn back to their Lord. When Christ came, most of the Jews behaved just like their fathers, and hardened their hearts against Jesus and His gospel. This showed again that only a minority of them repented and warmly welcomed the Son of God, while the multitudes of the nation opposed Him violently, stubbornly and hard-heartedly. However, the prophecy of Isaiah had its fulfillment again; the Lord has broken them and dispersed them among the nations.
Would the Christian professors learn a lesson from the history of the hardening of the sons of Jacob that they should not follow them into judgment? All those that hear the gospel and do not respond to it become more and more hardened. The Lord has to condemn them in the end, because they rejected His salvation, turned away from renewal, and did not bear fruits worthy of spiritual life.
Jesus showed us in His first parable the result of evangelistic services in God’s field. The gospel is for all without distinction. The sower sowed in large quantities, throwing his good seeds everywhere; by the wayside, on hard stones, and among the thorns that would choke the seedlings. God gives every man the same chance to accept the complete gospel – that is the divine seed.

Holy Father, we glorify You because You sent Your gospel, the gospel of salvation to all nations. We thank You for Your Son Jesus, His refreshing Word that took and led us into repentance, faith, regeneration, and holiness, and offered us the hope of glory. Forgive us our weak love, for we have not offered the wages of salvation to sinners in their own language that they might repent and believe in You as their Savior and Lord. Have mercy on them, Heavenly Father, that they may hear You, understand the richness of Your love, see Your Son Jesus in the gospel, recognize Him perfectly, and change into Your merciful image.
What are the obstacles against spiritual growth, and what is the unbelievers’ rule of hardening?