Good Monday Morning to this week 42 of 2019
He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him. Ephesians 1.9
Jesus answered them, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted. Matthew 13:11
In this passage of Matthew 13, Jesus answers in terms of the elect, God’s chosen people, defined by those who have genuine faith in God in contrast to those with rebellion, spiritual dullness and unbelief.
Jesus answers with a well-structured chiasm. (Two ideas are interwoven in one narrative.)
“Chiasmus, the figure of speech in which two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point; that is, the clauses display inverted parallelism”
While seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘you will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes,
They would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and he would heal them. Blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men
desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The literary beauty of the chiasm is apparent.
Another example of an ABCB’A’ chiasm in John 4.
A – But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
B – For the Father seeketh such to worship him.
C – God is a Spirit:
B – And they that worship him
A – And must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Chiasmus is not a secret Bible code, although it is often hidden by translations which may obscure the occurrence of repetitions of keywords and phrases, and sometimes it is hidden by numeric verse and chapter divisions.
Jesus himself taught in chiastic structures. Take the parable of the workers recruited for a penny a day recorded in Matthew 20. The parable is bounded by the classic chiasm.
“The first shall be last, and the last first” which is repeated at the end of this parable but in reverse – “the last shall be first, and the first last”!
In between, the parable is a dramatized chiasm – the first laborers are called up last, and vice versa. This clearly demonstrates that chiasm is a conscious technique in the mind of Jesus for teaching disciples.
One more meaningful Chisam.
No one can serve two masters;
for either, he will hate the one
and love the other,
or he will be devoted to one
and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and wealth.
(Matt 6:24 NASB)
Chiasms are usually arranged in the same top-to-bottom form as they appear in the text:
A – No one can serve two masters;
B – for either he will hate the one
C – and love the other,
C – or he will be devoted to one
B – and despise the other.
A – You cannot serve God and wealth.
In Western cultures, we are trained to look for the emphasis at the beginning and/or the end of the text. Therefore, we naturally believe that this verse is about serving either God or money.
Looking deeper at this chiasm, you see two places of emphasis: the center point focuses on loving the right master and the first/last elements focus on serving that master.
While serving God is good and proper, love and devotion to Him should be our driving force.
Wishing you deep insights this week as you look at the mysteries or secrets of God and discover beauty, right in the depth of the living Word.
Have a blessed week