Matthew 13 presents a very peculiar problem for Christianity, in verse 10-11 it says:
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”
From this, we learn that the masses were not able to understand Jesus when he spoke, apparently only those who were given the secrets of the kingdom of heaven would be able to understand what Jesus was saying. Who was given that knowledge? Just the twelve disciples. Therefore, according to the New Testament, Jesus went around preaching unintelligible sermons to masses of people (cf. Matthew 13:2, John 6:60), when the only people who could have possibly understood him were only the twelve because they possessed the “secret knowledge”. This however, is a compounded problem, as the secret knowledge (of the kingdom of heaven) that unlocked Jesus’ unintelligible sermons, didn’t seem to work. On more than one occasion the disciples had to stop Jesus and ask him to speak intelligibly to them:
“The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.” – Luke 18:34.
So let’s recap. Jesus speaks unintelligibly to the masses. Of the masses, 12 disciples have the “secret knowledge (of the kingdom of heaven)” which would enable them and only them to understand what Jesus was saying. Of these twelve, none of them understood what Jesus was saying according to Luke 18:34, because the meaning of what Jesus was saying was hidden from them. What this means is that Jesus did a lot of talking to a lot of people and no one was able to understand what he was saying. To explain this Monthy Python-esque scenario, I’ve developed a parable of my own:
Sam is a wealthy king. He called his entire kingdom together and said to the large crowd before him, that behind that door there was a million gold coins. He then invited the crowd to open the door. The crowd rushed to the door and tried opening it. The door was locked! Sam approached his close friends and said, “to unlock the door you need a secret key, I will give each of you a secret key so you may enter the room with a million goal coins!” What Sam did not tell them, was that they keys were fake and would not work. Sam’s friends ran to the door and each of them tried their keys, none of the keys were able to open the door. David, one of Sam’s friends returns to him and says that the keys are not unlocking the door. Sam the wealthy king is surprised, and tells them that he has given the keys for the door and it is their fault the keys are not working.
Then imagine that 2000 years later there were still people claiming to have that key, with the door still remaining forever locked. That’s exactly the scenario we are left with. What’s the use of giving them secret knowledge that’s supposed to explain what he’s been saying all along, when the knowledge is still hidden from them? You might be saying to yourself, this doesn’t sound right, there must be an explanation. Well, no less than 2 chapters later in Matthew 15:15-16 we read:
“Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also?”
In this case, Jesus of all people seems to be surprised that the secret knowledge he gave them (cf. Matthew 13:10-11, Luke 8:9-10), which he then hid from them (Luke 18:34), leaves them still unable to understand what he’s saying. In other words, Jesus is surprised they still don’t understand him, even though he is the one that hid its meaning from them.
and God knows best.