13Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14And 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; 15For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ 16But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17for assuredly, 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.
Therefore [because of this] I speak to them in parables, because [cause] seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Jesus now got to the heart of why He spoke in parables. Although Israel was exposed to truth (seeing), they could not see the truth because they rejected His revelation through negative volition. Willful rejection of Jesus’ credentials leads to official rejection. They had all the revelation they needed to accept Him, but they were determined not to respond.
And in them [in reference to negative volition of Israel] the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled [being fulfilled],
Jesus quoted the Greek translation of Isaiah 6:9, 10 here to prove that His generation would go negative in volition towards Him (Luke quoted this verse in Acts 28:26-27).
The context of the Isaiah 6 quote was to show that Israel’s hardness of heart would continue until the land lay in ruins and the nation be put in exile. Israel was in a state of judicial blindness.
which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;
The Lord exposed truth to Israel, but they officially rejected Him as Messiah. Exposure to truth does not mean that they understood it. Israel’s spiritual blindness came from callousness of heart.
“Hear” has the idea of listening with response. Both hearing and seeing are systems of perception. Having reached perception about Jesus, they rejected who He was and what He did.
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
The heart of Israel was in a sad state so that it was blunted and not receptive to truth. They were insensitive to revelation.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
They did not hear because they did not want to hear.
And their eyes they have closed,
Closing of eyes is an expression of willful negative volition. They refused to look at truth.
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
The two occurrences of “lest” indicate fear of receiving truth. They were afraid to face the truth of what Jesus represents.
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’
Jesus could not heal the nation unless they “turned” (repented) towards Him. “Heal” here is spiritual healing.
But [as for you] blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
The disciples of Jesus were “blessed” or fortunate because they had positive volition towards His message. Their response was totally different than that of the nation Israel. God blesses those with positive volition. These were people with seeing eyes and hearing ears. God will bless those open to God’s Word.
The word “assuredly” indicates strong assurance by Jesus.
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.
Old Testament prophets and righteous men looked forward to the coming Messiah without having the opportunity to see Him, but the disciples did have this opportunity. The word “desired” is eagerly long for, set one’s heart on. This is a word of intense desire.
Obstinate people receive no further revelation.
Hard-heartedness is a serious problem because God stops communicating with such people. Jesus will not reveal Himself to unbelieving people.