“And he answered them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.’” (Matthew 13:11).
In the first two plagues of the Exodus story, whatever God empowered Moses to do, Pharaoh’s magicians could also do. That changed with the third plague. It is almost like God was in a contest with the magic of Egypt! Of course, the contest ended with the third plague – which the magicians could not duplicate. God was supreme.
With the next three plagues that lesson would be repeated, along with another one: This supreme God has a chosen people. “‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people” (Exodus 8:22-23).
My people. Your people.
Jesus emphasizes the distinction: “to you it has been given. But not to them.” The disciples were “insiders.” The crowds were “outsiders.”
To Christians Paul wrote ‘Christ gave himself to redeem us, to purify for himself a people who are his very own’ (Titus 2:14). Peter wrote: “[Y]ou are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God . . .” (1 Peter 2:9).
Insiders have two tasks: First, to behave like insiders – like Jesus – so that no one will malign the word of God, so that people will be ashamed of opposing us, so that we can make the teaching about God our Savior attractive to others (Titus 2:5,8,9). We can’t do that if our lives look theirs. Second, having made the word of God attractive by our behavior, we must bring those outsiders inside our world.