Mark 4:10-12 (NASB)
10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables.
11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables,
12 so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”
Jesus had just finished teaching the crowd the parable of the Sower and after the crowds had left Him, the apostles and some other followers asked him about the parable. Jesus’ reply is profound. He told them that the mystery of the Kingdom of God had been given to them, but NOT to those who are outside.
This is the same parable and apostles’ and disciples’ response recorded in Matthew 13:10-11 with at least one BIG difference. In Matthew His Word is recorded that the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven is given to “you” (the apostles and disciples) but it is not given to them. Here in the Gospel of Mark Jesus better identifies who “them” are. He said, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables,...”
Those who are outside? Who is Jesus talking about?
It is patently obvious that if there are those on the outside there are those on the inside. The apostles and disciples (other followers in addition to the apostles) who asked Him the question about the meaning of the parable are those on the inside and the mystery of the Kingdom of God has been given to them, which includes understanding. The rest who are inside is everyone chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). These are God’s Elect. These are they to whom God will issue a call to salvation, and everyone God calls, He will justify and glorify (Romans 8:29-30). Since these who have been chosen have already been given to Christ, they shall come to Christ (John 6:37). The Father will draw them and those the Father draws, Jesus will raise up (John 6:44). God does not draw each and every man who ever lived or will live, nor are all men called (1 Corinthians 1:26).
Those “who are outside” as Christ has identified, will hear only the parables but will never understand. The mystery of the kingdom of God must be given to a man, he will never figure it out on his own. He is unable because it is a spiritual truth, and since his spirit is dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13) he will never understand, nor accept anything from the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). Whatever he hears with his physical ears will always be foolishness to him. He has been blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Jesus went on to quote Isaiah 6:10 thus proving that He was fulfilling prophesy by not opening their eyes and ears by quickening their spirits. It was clearly God’s intention that “those who are outside” see the Christ but not perceive, and hear the truth but not understand, otherwise they would return and be forgiven, and God had no plan or intention to forgive them! Why? Because they were not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). God loves only His Elect and we are the only ones He has forgiven. Those “who are outside” reject the Son and will not see life because God’s wrath remains on them (John 3:36).
We become children of God not by human decision (John 1:13).