I find it fitting that Jacobs explains here that Frank Kermode wrote in the dedication of The Genesis of Secrecy: “To Those Outside.”
But what is the answer here? Why the difference?
Honestly, I am not sure….
But I am going to research this a little, ask around, and (when I have two seconds) get back to you on it.
Update (late in the day before I even hit publish):
This issue is often regarded as a translation problem.
For instance, Mark 4: 12, indeed, says what is noted below, but here is the NLT version:
so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:
‘When they see what I do,
they will learn nothing.
When they hear what I say,
they will not understand.
Otherwise, they will turn to me
and be forgiven.”
Do you see it?
For if they did understand…they would not act this way.
They do not understand…because they are not allowed to.
I think the long and short of it is that parables were used to confuse and obfuscate the Jewish politicians and simultaneously nourish believers.
In a wonderful book on reading and interpretation, The Genesis of Secrecy, Frank Kermode writes eloquently about one of the most peculiar and troubling cruxes in the text of the Gospels. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus, after explaining one of his parables to his disciples, refers to the great crowds that gather to listen to him: “The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand’ ” (13: 13; the quotation there is from the prophet Isaiah). But in Mark’s Gospel, he says that “to those outside, everything comes in parables, in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven’ ” (4: 12; emphasis added). In the first text, people exclude themselves by their indifference; in the second, they are forcibly excluded from the beginning.
-Alan Jacobs, The Year Of Our Lord 1943 (Amazon)