Why Was Jesus Sometimes Ambiguous?
Jesus spoke clearly on the most important matters of life. He said that the greatest instruction of all was to “love the LORD, your God with all your heart” (Matthew 22:37) and that repentance and faith were necessary to attain eternal life (John 3:16 & Luke 13:1-5).
Yet Jesus was often ambiguous with his answers and would leave people scratching their heads. He would regularly answer questions with questions and hide invaluable information in figurative stories called parables. When asked why, he said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him” (Matthew 13:11-12). As you can see, even his “answer” reads like a riddle. Whoever has what? Money? Possessions? Political power? Truth? Evidently, those who were resistant to Jesus and his teachings would not have the interest or oomph to pursue deeper truths.
One of Jesus’ favorite expressions was: “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear” (Mark 4:23). Hearing is an activity. People can have ears and not hear. Jesus refused to “cast pearls before swine.” His words demand participation and we’ll often have more questions about his answers. No wonder the people “hung on his words”; Jesus kept them hanging.
Special thanks to John Fischer and his excellent book True Believers
Don’t Ask Why.
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