Why is the Kingdom of God a secret?

Matthew records Jesus' parables about the kingdom of God as a series of 7 parables: the sower, weeds / tares, mustard seed, yeast, hidden treasure, pearl, and net / drag net (Matt 13:1-52). When the disciples ask why He was teaching in parables, Jesus responds with some enigmatic words:

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
"'though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.' (Luke 8:9-10, NIV)

Why are the secrets of the knowledge of the kingdom of God hidden?

1. Here is an example of a secret about the kingdom of God - what do you observe? What appears to be confusing and seemingly hidden?

"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. (Luke 10:8-12, NIV)

Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt 12:22-28, NIV)

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:20-21, NIV)

Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."
He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matt 13:36-43, NIV)

2. How do you make sense of the above? What methods did you use to come to your conclusion?

3. When asked why Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God in parables, He responds with a chiasm and cites a prophecy in Isaiah (Isa 6:9-10) at its apex:

This is why I speak to them in parables:
1 "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
2 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
3 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
4 you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
5 For this people's heart has become calloused;
6 they hardly hear with their ears,
7 and they have closed their eyes.,
7' Otherwise they might see with their eyes,,
6' hear with their ears,
5' understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'
4' But blessed are your eyes because they see,
3' and your ears because they hear.
2' For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people
1' longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Matt 13:13-17, NIV)

Note carefully the contrast between the first and second halves of the chiasm. What do you observe? How does this compare to your methodology of understanding a secret of the Kingdom of God? What does this tell you about the Jews of the first century?

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