The Secrets of the Kingdom of God
A secret is…
…only meant for a select few people; it’s insider information. While it may seem unusual that God keeps secrets, especially about his kingdom, we find this is exactly what Jesus taught. He once told his disciples, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables” (Lk 8:10). Parables reveal things to true followers, but they obscure things for others who are not committed. According to an ancient prophecy from Isaiah, this was so that, “though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand” (Isa 6:9). In Isaiah’s day, God’s people were disobedient to him, so he sent a prophet to speak truth to them, but to do so in a way they wouldn’t understand until after they went into exile. His purpose was not to destroy his people, but to refine them, like a tree which gets cut down only to have the stump sprout and grow again (Isa 6:13).
The same was true in Jesus’s day. There were large crowds that were constantly following him (e.g., Lk 8:4), but not all the people were willing to accept him (Lk 7:29, 30). So Jesus began speaking in parables, beginning with a parable about a farmer, his seed, and different kinds of soil which yielded different kinds of results (Lk 8:5-8). His purpose does not seem to be to shut certain people out of God’s kingdom, but to explain why some people will not immediately receive God’s word (Lk 8:11-15). Then, after Jesus was gone (like Isaiah), his disciples could further explain his teachings, like a lamp on a stand shining its light for all to see (8:16-18).
Today, God’s secrets…
…have been entrusted to the church, being handed down through the word of God as it was taught by Christ’s disciples. We are, as the apostle Paul said, “those entrusted with the secret things of God” (1 Cor 4:1). But the secret things aren’t for just us, nor are they meant to remain secret. According to the parable, we are to “hear the word, retain it, and, by persevering, produce a crop” (Lk 8:15). So keep learning. Keep sowing. Be generous. And may the Spirit of God produce fruit for his kingdom.