What does Matthew 13:14 mean?
ESV: Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
NIV: In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ''You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
NASB: And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘ YOU SHALL KEEP ON LISTENING, BUT SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU SHALL KEEP ON LOOKING, BUT SHALL NOT PERCEIVE;
CSB: Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:You will listen and listen,but never understand;you will look and look,but never perceive.
NLT: This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.
KJV: And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
NKJV: And 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;
Verse Commentary:
The disciples have asked Jesus why He now teaches the crowds in parables. Likely, they are asking why He doesn't spell out more clearly what He means (Matthew 13:10). From their perspective, it makes sense that if Jesus is more direct, more people will understand and believe. Scripture, in fact, shows this is not the case. Christ's explanation includes a prophecy from Isaiah which dispels that misunderstanding.

Jesus' surprising answer has been that He is teaching in parables, in part, to keep the crowds from fully understanding. These stories are a way of both teaching and restricting full access to the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. That knowledge has been given to the disciples. It is also being kept from the Israelite nation, at large. This is in response to their own stubbornness and disobedience.

This fulfills yet another prophecy from Isaiah. Jesus references the very beginning of Isaiah's work as a prophet of God, described in Isaiah 6:8–10. Isaiah responds "Here I am! Send me," to God's question about who would go for Him. God tells Isaiah to go and tell the people of Israel, in essence, to hear what is told, but not to understand it.

Jesus applies Isaiah's words to this generation of Israelites, as well. He says they will indeed hear but never understand and will indeed see but never perceive. In the case of Jesus' generation, the people have heard the teaching of the Son of God with their ears. They have seen the power of the Son of God on full display in His miracles. But they have failed to understand or perceive that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God and the Messiah. The ultimate reason for this is rebellion: they don't believe because they don't want to believe (John 5:39–40; 7:17). So, God will obscure their understanding even further, as a form of judgment (Proverbs 29:1).
Verse Context:
Matthew 13:10–17 comes in between Jesus' telling of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1–9) and His explanation of that story (Mathew 13:18–23). The disciples ask why Jesus so often uses parables when teaching crowds of people. According to Jesus, the disciples are privileged to know secrets that the prophets and righteous people longed to know. His use of unexplained parables, in part, is because Israel has rejected Jesus as the Messiah. This will fulfill Isaiah's prophecy about those with dull hearts who will hear without understanding. Otherwise, they would turn and be healed.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 13 focuses mainly on a series of parables. Jesus first describes these to a large crowd along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Later, in a house, He explains to the disciples the meanings of the parables of the sower, the weeds, and the fish caught in the net. Jesus then travels to Nazareth, teaches in the synagogue, and is rejected by the people of His original hometown.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 13 follows Jesus from the overcrowded house at the end of the previous chapter to a crowded beach on the Sea of Galilee. He teaches a large crowd in a series of parables, which He doesn't fully explain. However, He reveals their meaning to His disciples inside a nearby house. Jesus pictures the kingdom of heaven as a sower, a sabotaged field of wheat, a mustard seed, and a pearl dealer, among other things. He then travels to His original hometown of Nazareth where He is rejected by the people He grew up with. This leads Matthew back to depictions of Jesus' miracles, after sadly recording John the Baptist's death.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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