Why Did Jesus Teach in Parables? Jesus’ Surprising Answer
David W. Jones contributed to this article. What was the purpose of Jesus teaching via parables? We must first grasp what parables are in order to be able to respond to this issue. The Gospels contain a total of 39 different parables of Jesus. Each of these stories has a different length, ranging from the Parable of the Old Garment, which is only one verse long (see Luke 5:36), to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which is about twenty-one verses long (see Luke 15:11–32). Others exist in each of the Synoptic Gospels, whilst other parables are exclusive to one Gospel story and cannot be found in any other.
The term “parable” literally translates as “to come beside” in the Greek language.
Parables are not fables because they transmit more than just a moral truth; and since they concentrate on more than just words and phrases, parables are not metaphors, similes, or word images because they focus on more than just words and phrases.
At first look, parables may appear to modern readers to be vivid illustrations of Jesus’ teachings that serve to clarify them.
What about Jesus’ use of parables, on the other hand, do you think is correct?
Why Did Jesus Teach in Parables?
Note how, immediately following the telling of the Parable of the Soils, which is recorded in all three of the Synoptic Gospels (see Matt. 13:3–23; Mark 4:2–32; Luke 8:4–15), and before He explained its meaning, Jesus was questioned by His disciples, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?” (Matt. 13:3–23; Mark 4:2–32; Luke 8:4–15). (Matt. 13:10; Luke 13:10) The exact reason why the apostles asked this question is not specified; nevertheless, it is possible that the disciples were concerned that the people would not grasp Jesus’ teachings if they did not ask this question (cf.
- In any case, Christ’s response to the disciples’ query concerning His use of parables is both startling and enlightening, regardless of the reason for their questioning.
- For the avoidance of confusion or misinterpretation, Jesus pointed out that the veiling of spiritual truths from the unbelieving people is in fact a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophesy found in Isa.
- 6:9 and the following statement: “And Jesus said to them, ‘To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it has been given in parables, that “Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand”‘ (Luke 8:10; cf.
- However, this raises the question of why Jesus would purposely conceal truth from those who do not believe in him.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11–12), which we might highlight as a response to this.
Rom. 3:20; 10:17), whereas rejection always results in misunderstanding and hardness of heart (cf. Rom. 3:20). (cf. Ps. 81:12; Rom. 1:24). This concept is conveyed throughout the whole book of Scripture.
Jesus’ Parables and Self-Evaluation
We can take comfort in the fact that, even if certain parables of Christ in the Gospel narratives can be difficult to comprehend, the Holy Spirit, who indwells all of God’s people, will “guide. into all truth” us when we read them (John 16:13) because God’s Word, which includes parables, is the unalterable truth (cf. John 17:17). In any case, if the parables of Christ do not make sense to us, and especially if their meaning escapes the understanding of the people to whom we are ministering, we should consider Jesus’ teaching on the purpose of parables.
Jones is a Professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Seminary, where he also serves as the Associate Dean of Theological Studies and Director of the Theological Masters Program.
He writes on the Bible on his website, redeemedmind.com.
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Why did Jesus teach in parables?
QuestionAnswer It has been claimed that aparable is a narrative with an earthy setting but a heavenly message. The Lord Jesus regularly used parables to illustrate profound, divine truths, and he did so repeatedly throughout his ministry. Storytelling like this is easy to recall, the characters are memorable, and the symbolism is replete with depth of meaning. In Judaism, parables were a frequent method of imparting knowledge. Before a certain point in His career, Jesus had used a number of vivid metaphors using everyday objects that were recognizable to everyone (salt, bread, sheep, and so on), and the meaning of these analogies was quite obvious when taken in the context of His teaching.
The question is why Jesus would allow the vast majority of people to be perplexed by the meaning of His parables.
Before He began to explain this tale, He separated His followers from the rest of the audience.
In other words, to those who have, more will be given to them, and they will have an abundance; but to those who do not possess, even what they possess will be taken away from them.
When it comes to them, the prophesy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which states that “You will hear with dull ears and will not comprehend; You will see with dull eyes and will no longer see; For the hearts of this people have become dull.” In order to prevent them from being able to see with their eyes and hear with their ears, they have closed their eyelids, lest they be able to comprehend with their hearts and turn, therefore allowing me to cure them.
- The blessings of God are upon your eyes because they see, and upon your ears because they hear.
- From this point on in Jesus’ mission, when He talked in parables, He exclusively explained them to His disciples, and this was the case throughout His ministry.
- He established a clear contrast between those who had been given “ears to hear” and those who persevered in disbelief, saying that they were constantly listening but never genuinely perceiving, and that they were “always learning but never able to recognize the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).
- They received more and more truth as a result of their acceptance of Jesus’ message of truth.
- He has opened our eyes to the light of truth and our ears to the pleasant words of eternal life, and we are grateful to him for doing so.
- The simple truth is that there are some who have no interest or care for the incomprehensible mysteries of the divine.
- For people who have a true desire for God, the parable is a powerful and unforgettable vehicle for conveying divine truths to others who are hungry for God.
- As a result, the tale is a benefit to those who are prepared to listen.
However, for individuals with dull hearts and ears that are slow to hear, the parable can serve as both a tool of judgment and a tool of charity. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) What was the purpose of Jesus teaching via parables?
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Why Did Jesus Teach in Parables?
People were taken aback by Jesus’ method of teaching. It was engrossing and easy to read and understand. He taught through the use of short allegorical stories known as parables. In fact, Mark informs us that when Jesus taught, “He never said anything to them without first telling them a parable” (Mark 4:34a, New International Version). It was for this reason that people were taken aback by His teaching. The manner in which He communicated was open to everybody, yet it retained an air of power that first-century Jews had never encountered.
1. Parables were easy to understand
Much of the conversation about spirituality is centered on abstract notions and ideas. As a result, some individuals shun them because they believe they are unrealistic and useless. Jesus desired to bypass the professors of the law and deliver His message directly to the people, which meant He needed to speak in a way that would be understandable to those who heard Him. Jesus was able to communicate religious truths in a way that was immediately relatable to those who heard Him speak in parables.
After hearing a tale, people become more interested in the discussion that follows.
In order to do so, people must engage the identical parts of their brain as they would if they were actually experiencing the tale.
Engaging the imagination of the audience allowed Jesus’ teaching to truly resonate with the audience.
2. Parables are easy to remember
It wasn’t enough for Jesus’ statements to be easily comprehended; they also needed to be easily remembered. A narrative provides the listener with a hook to cling onto as well as a simple technique of communicating the same lesson to others in the same situation. Our brains like to process information in a pattern-based manner. Through the prism of our previous experiences and knowledge, we make sense of new information and decisions. It was through the use of parables that ordinary people could make connections between abstract spiritual notions and patterns that were relevant to them.
New knowledge is more easily retained by our brains when it is given in a narrative structure that we are comfortable with. It was easy for people to relate to Jesus’ parables because they had a familiar story-like cadence:
We needed Jesus’ words to be memorable, not only because they were simple to understand. With a narrative, the listener is provided with a hook to grasp onto as well as a simple manner of conveying the same lesson to others. Our brains like to analyze information in a logical manner by looking for patterns in the information. Through the prism of our previous experiences and knowledge, we interpret new information and make decisions. It was through the use of parables that ordinary people could make connections between abstract spiritual concepts and patterns that were relevant to them.
It was easy for people to relate to Jesus’ parables because they had a story-like cadence:
3. Parables reveal the hearts of the listeners
Sometimes individuals place a high value on notions that are difficult to comprehend and comprehend fully. It gives them the impression that they are intelligent and significant. Many of the Pharisees fit this description. People like this are dismissive of concepts that are too easily understandable. But this is because, rather than seeking the truth, these leaders desired to be the exclusive proprietors and administrators of esoteric beliefs, rather than seeking the truth. Given that Jesus’ parables were easily understandable by everyone, the Pharisees were inclined to reject them as stupid and insignificant.
- Jesus communicated the fundamentals of the kingdom in a way that even a toddler could understand them.
- When the disciples inquire as to why Jesus speaks in parables, Jesus responds by stating that this is the case.
- Whoever possesses will be given much more, and they will have an excess of resources.
- It’s for this reason that I talk to them in parables: ‘They see, but they don’t see; they hear, but they do not hear, and they do not comprehend.'” (Matthew 13:11–13, New International Version)
The enduring importance of parables
According to Jesus’ instructions in the Great Commission, they should go forth and make further disciples. “Teaching them to observe all that I have ordered you” was a component of that obligation (Matthew 28:20a, NIV). The fact that Jesus’ teachings were so simply grasped and remembered made it feasible to carry out this instruction. And why Jesus’ teachings are so simple to understand and communicate today! Do you have a favorite fable that you like to tell? Leave us a comment and tell us which one is your favorite, as well as why you like it.
4 Reasons Jesus Used Parables
The relevance of the images in Jesus’ sermons I remember a sermon my husband Kyle delivered many years ago in which he utilized an illustration to explain a biblical principle, as he frequently does when he’s preaching. The anecdote of my failure to make a beautiful pecan pie (his favorite dessert) served as the example, which was unfortunate for me. While working in the nursery on that particular Sunday, I found myself perplexed as to why so many parents were handing me their favorite pecan pie recipe when they brought their children to be picked up.
Then it occurred to me that Kyle had undoubtedly mentioned something about my recent attempts to include baking into the sermon, and if there is one thing that congregants remember about the pastor’s teaching, it is always the sermon example.
JESUS’ SERMON ILLUSTRATIONS
Jesus utilized parables in his sermons as well. When Jesus spoke in the gospel of Matthew, he challenged his audience to comprehend a spiritual reality that they couldn’t see with their physical eyes: the kingdom of God. He saw that people could only interact with this reality through the sight of their hearts, so he opted to convey his point via stories, which we generally refer to as parables. A parable is an allegorical narrative intended to explain or teach a truth, and it frequently makes use of tangible items to depict the symbolic representation of an abstract meaning in order to do this.
After that, Jesus used metaphors such as leaven causing bread to rise and fully formed trees being born from seeds to depict how truth grows and bears fruit in the hearts of those who believe in him.
Why didn’t he address the throngs of people who had gathered around him in an open and honest manner?
1. Parables Confirm Who Are True Hearers and Who Aren’t.
In Matthew 13:10, Jesus’ own followers express their confusion regarding his use of parables by asking him about it. They were not the only ones who were perplexed. “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but it has not been given to others.”, Jesus said. This is why I talk to them in parables, because they cannot see, nor can they hear, nor can they grasp what I am saying. Rather, fortunate are your eyes, because they see, and happy are your ears, because they hear.” 11; 13; 16; Matthew 13:11, 13; 16; “He who has ears, let him hear,” Jesus would say at the conclusion of several of his parables (Matt.
To hear with these ears means to comprehend and respond to the deeper meaning of the narrative, which is what he was talking about when he said “heart’s ears.” According to Jesus, the disciples grasped the spiritual significance of the parables, while many in the crowds did not understand what was being spoken.
Because they were unwilling to accept the truth, it was “hidden” from them through parables.
They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and that each follower would develop as a result of this belief, or, as Jesus said, “He will have abundance” (Matt 13:12).
2. Parables Confirm Prophecy.
According to Matthew 13:34–35, a second key reason Jesus used parables was to communicate with the multitudes: “All of these things Jesus stated to the crowds in parables; fact, he said nothing to them except via parable.” ‘I will open my lips in parables; I will disclose what has been hidden since the beginning of the world,’ said the prophet.'” Although Matthew is often referred to as a “bridge book” because it relates Old Testament prophesies and promises surrounding the Messiah to Jesus Christ, Matthew also draws parallels between Jesus’ use of parables and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Thus, Jesus’ conversational style was just one of several indicators that he was the long-awaited Messiah, among many others.
3. Parables Cross Cultures and Generations.
It is recorded in Matthew 13:34–35 that Jesus used parables a second time for an important reason: “All these things Jesus spoke to the people in parables; fact, he said nothing to them except from a parable.” This was done in order to fulfill the prophecy of the prophet: “I will open my lips in parables; I will declare what has been hidden since the creation of the world.” Although Matthew is often referred to be a “bridge book” because it relates Old Testament predictions and promises surrounding the Messiah to Jesus Christ, Matthew also makes a connection between Jesus’ use of parables and the fulfillment of prophecy in another way.
As a result, one of the numerous signs that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah was his manner of communicating with people.
4. Parables Compel the Listener to Enter the Story.
Facts elicit a different response from listeners than fiction, according to research. However, while factual knowledge stimulates the intellect, it frequently prevents the intangible from becoming concrete and unforgettable. We are unable to feel, envisage, or interact at a heart level with facts in the same way that we are with narratives. Stories provide richness and color to the truth in a way that stays with us long after we’ve heard them for the first time. Through the use of parables, Jesus was able to arouse the imaginations and emotions of those who heard him speak.
- Moreover, when the heart is engaged, the listener becomes immersed in the tale, taking on the role of a character themselves.
- By participating in the tale, we gain a better understanding of the character and nature of our merciful God.
- Because we’ve immersed ourselves in the tale, we’re more likely to recall it.
- However, it is equally significant for us, his contemporary listeners.
- They take biblical teachings and infuse them with a deeper, more lasting impression.
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Why Did Jesus Teach in Parables?
When compared to His prior teaching at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ use of parables may appear to be out of character. With precise instructions, He taught His disciples how to live and about the Kingdom of God, and through His miracles, He demonstrated the Kingdom in a physical way to the rest of the world. But then, when the multitudes gather to hear Him, He jumps into a boat and begins to teach in parables, telling stories about spreading seeds and collecting wheat, among other things (Matthew 13).
- To put it another way, the parables are intended to split the audience.
- The parables themselves are straightforward stories based on real-life occurrences that many in the audience would be familiar with.
- All of those assembled there were undoubtedly aware of the portions of the stories that were relevant to their everyday lives.
- His miracles had attracted a large number of people, and some may have been taken aback by His earlier teaching.
- Those who are devoted to the Kingdom of God will seek and gain additional insight.
- The following is an adaptation of Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Book III, Chapter XXIII).
Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?
The use of parables was one of the strategies that Jesus used to communicate His message to the people. A parable is essentially a narrative with an earthy setting and a heavenly message. When Jesus began speaking parables to the crowds, His followers immediately inquired as to why He was doing so. “Why do You talk to them in parables?” they inquired. (See Matthew 13:10 for further information.) Jesus Responds in a Surprisingly Direct Manner The answer given by Jesus to the question was rather instructive.
- Furthermore, the prophesy of Isaiah, which states that “you will hear but will not comprehend, and you will see but will not discern, since the heart of this people has become dull,” is fulfilled in them.
- The fact why Jesus spoke through parables was due to the people’s reluctance to accept the kingdom message that He brought them.
- Not because God was keeping the truth from them, but rather because they were unwilling to hear it.
- God has provided the people with every opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Despite the fact that Jesus presented the required qualifications as the Messiah, they did not believe Him.
- It was only those who trusted in Jesus as the Messiah who would be able to comprehend the parables.
They Must Be Acknowledged on a Spiritual Level The Apostle Paul would later reaffirm this truth: “But we proclaim the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden knowledge which God designed before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Because, apart from the spirit of the man that is within him, who knows what a man understands about himself?
- Even likewise, no one other than the Holy Spirit has access to the things of God.
- The majority of people were uninterested in the truth.
- The vast majority of people in Jesus’ day were uninterested in God’s truth, as was the case today.
- SummaryJesus spoke through parables, which were earthy stories with a divine purpose.
He did this so that his disciples would be able to comprehend his teachings and that unbelievers would be unable to understand them. Others who are interested in knowing the reality of his message will be able to comprehend it, while those who are not interested will stay in the dark about it.
Why did Jesus use parables so often?
The Bible states in Matthew 13:3 that Jesus “told them many things in parables.” Much of what Jesus taught came in the form of parables, which are stories that include spiritual ideas, which are sometimes defined as stories with spiritual concepts embedded within them. What was the purpose of Jesus teaching via parables? When the followers of Jesus questioned Him about why He spoke in parables, He said, “I speak in parables because I want to teach people.” “It has been granted to you the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but it has not been granted to them at this time.
- This is why I talk to them in parables, because they cannot see, nor can they hear, nor can they comprehend what I am saying to them ” (Matthew 13:11-13).
- First and foremost, Jesus utilized parables to make His teaching obvious to everyone, but the significance was revealed only to those who were able to comprehend them.
- The entire significance of the stories would frequently be revealed to his students after they had heard them for the first time.
- The words of Jesus were not those of erudite intellectuals, but rather those of common people who could relate to His message and understand it.
- As stated in Matthew 7:29, “he was instructing them as one who had authority, rather than as their scribes.” To bolster their arguments, the scribes frequently referred to lengthy parts of the Torah as well as oral traditions from other Jewish leaders.
- Fourth, parables were a frequent mode of cultural exchange in the past.
- Consequently, He was able to connect with His audience in a manner that religious leaders were unable to, by speaking to their needs while also imparting spiritual truth.
- His use of parables, or stories with a spiritual message, was employed for a variety of purposes throughout his ministry.
- These and other facts point to a Messiah whose love was extended to everyone while also revealing information to different people in different ways, something God continues to accomplish in the lives of individuals today via the teachings of His Word.
- In what ways do dreams and visions appear in the Bible?
What was it like to be Jesus in historical times? Who was Jesus as a human being? What were the most significant events in Jesus’ life? Should Christians pass judgment on the teachings of their religious authorities? Return to the page: The Truth About Jesus Christ.
Why did Jesus use parables?
What exactly is a parable, and how do you define it? What was the reason for Jesus’ frequent use of them? Did they expose or suppress the truth about God? Answer:Parables, notably those spoken by Jesus, are parables or examples that make use of everyday things, events, and so on in order to illustrate fundamental ideas and facts about the human condition. A parable, according to Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, is a brief, simple narrative that is intended to transmit a spiritual truth, religious principle, or moral lesson to the audience.
- Some of Jesus’ parables are brief, such as the ones labeled the Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44), the Great Pearl (verses 45 – 46), and the Net (Matthew 13:47).
- These, as well as several other stories he has told, are not so much long moral tales as they are examples or figures of speech for his point of view.
- Using a parable about a ewe lamb, Nathan addressed King David in order to criticize him obliquely initially for committing adultery with Bathsheba and killing her husband Uriah the Hittite in order to cover up what he had done to cover up what he had done (2Samuel 12:1 – 4).
- Consider, for example, the well-known narrative of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10).
- Jesus confirmed that he should love God with his entire heart, as well as love his neighbor as himself, and the lawyer, in an attempt to explain himself, inquired as to who their neighbor is.
Were they meant to evangelize?
Did Jesus utilize parables as merely another technique to preach the gospel? Are they supposed to provide the masses the information needed for salvation? When his disciples were greatly confused about the meaning behind his narrative of the sower and the seed they came to him privately for an explanation. His reaction was the following. To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but to the rest it is taught in parables, so that in seeing THEY MAY NOT SEE, and in hearing THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND (Luke 8:10, HBFV throughout) (Luke 8:10, HBFV throughout) The preceding remark provided in Luke contradicts the conventional belief that Christ preached redemption for everyone to grasp and act upon during this era.
Let us have a look at a somewhat lengthier parallel explanation in Matthew 13 of what the Lord mentioned.
And in them is realized the promise of Isaiah, which says, ‘In hearing you shall hear, and in no way comprehend; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way discern.’ (Matthew 13:10 – 11, 14).
Parables reveal and conceal
So, does Jesus appear to be contradicting himself? How is it possible for this teaching style to simultaneously educate and expose principles while still concealing fundamental truth? How do they teach critical life lessons while still HIDING the information that is required for salvation? The explanation can be found in the fact that God has included two layers of significance into these stories. The first level is a fundamental, superficial understanding (which is sometimes misread) that the ordinary unconverted person may comprehend on their own, without the aid of God.
People who are ‘to whom it has been given,’ meaning those who are actively working with the Eternal, may grasp the great spiritual truths that are discussed by the parables.
His use of them allowed him to deliver two separate messages to two drastically different groups of people (those who are not converted and those who are converted), all with the use of the same method and methodology.
Only those who have a contrite heart, whose brains have been awakened to the truth, and with whom God is collaborating may grasp the deep secrets represented by Jesus’ words of forgiveness and restoration.
Please explain: Why did Jesus use parables to teach?
It is possible to express complicated topics in a more understandable manner using Aesop’s fables, a good sermon example, or an analogy. In a similar vein, Jesus employed parables (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 15) to explain facts in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. However, what exactly is a parable? Perhaps you learnt that a parable is a narrative that takes place on earth but has a spiritual purpose. That well-known, straightforward definition will lead us to explore more in-depth reasons for Jesus’ use of parables in his teaching.
Parables are worldly stories, in the sense that they make use of daily scenes from people’s lives. They are easily relatable to their target audiences. Perhaps someone in the crowd has lost a sheep or has constructed a home. Things from everyday life, such as baking bread or traveling, were not only relatable, but also easily understood by the audience members. As a result, the audience is more engaged since they are actively participating in the narrative as they listen. They are, in a sense, characters in the parable.
To give an example, in the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32) both sons say one thing yet conduct something very different. Isn’t that something that most parents can relate to? Yes, without a doubt! As a result, one of the reasons why parables are used is that they are relevant.
I would think that many of us may recall a number of parables from our childhood. What is the reason behind this? Because parables are earthy, realistic stories, they are more remembered than other types of storytelling. In a parable, there is also a hook, which is a memorable event that draws the reader’s interest. “The kingdom of heaven is like.” says the narrator. The Bible says (Matthew 22:2). Jesus is ready to speak about the afterlife (heaven). You think I’m in? You’re wrong! This hook not only makes the tale memorable for you, but it also makes it simpler for you to repeat the story to others later on in the day.
In every story there is an introduction, a challenge or issue, and an ending.
“No, I am your father,” says the narrator. One of the major revelations from The Empire Strikes Back is the fact that the Emperor is a woman. A well-executed plot twist or surprise enhances the overall impact of any film or media production. Consider the parables for a moment. Plot twists and shocks are also common, and they usually serve to emphasize our Lord’s unexpected grace. Do you remember the surprises? The father physically welcomes the prodigal son back into the family with wide arms, while the older brother is dissatisfied with the decision (Luke 15:11-32).
Parables also have a spiritual significance. Jesus was able to communicate these heavenly meanings in a way that was approachable, memorable, and unexpected to his audience because he used earthly stories that were relatable, memorable, and startling. Perhaps another way to think about heavenly significance is as follows: a valued fact. That which Jesus handed down from heaven for us to comprehend and utilize is referred to as “faith.” There is something in the narrative that may be applied to our religion and daily lives.
Just take a look at the final verse in the parable of the wedding banquet: “Many are invited, but just a few are selected” (Matthew 22:14).
Since the time that Jesus originally taught his parables, there have been several new discoveries in agriculture and travel as well. Computers and the internet have fundamentally altered our way of life. However, Jesus’ parables continue to be relevant because they have a timeless quality to them. That ageless quality lends itself to anything you want to do with the tales in the present day. You can still get knowledge from them. These same stories can be revisited several times, revealing additional divine truths and the layers of meaning that have been incorporated into them each time.
What has changed since the last time you and the parable met?
“Can you tell me what this fable has to teach me this time?” Because everyone is unique, the lessons contained in each story will strike you in a distinctive way. Parables are certainly a treasure mine of timeless truths that may be found in any culture.
A reflection of God’s heart
Have you noticed how many various reasons there are for employing parables? Are there any others? Yes! At Jesus’ day, parables were commonplace. In Matthew 13:10-13, Jesus provided another another explanation for his use of parables. But, for the time being, let us consider one more reason to be grateful for parables. According to Paul in Romans 11:34, “Who has understood the thoughts of the Lord?” These parables assist us in understanding not just God’s thoughts, but also God’s heart as well.
- The picture isn’t always flawless and correct, just like an analogy, a sermon illustration, or one of Aesop’s tales, for example.
- One day, though, we will see him for who he truly is; we will be able to speak with him face to face.
- I can’t imagine the wealth of God’s intelligence and understanding unless I think about it!
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NATHAN W. BINGHAM (NATHAN W. BINGHAM): Doctor Sinclair Ferguson, one of our teaching fellows, and I are here on the Ligonier campus today to discuss our work. Dr. Ferguson, what was the purpose of Jesus speaking in parables? DR. SINCLAIR FERGUSON: Thank you for your time. Nathan, you’ve posed an excellent question. Let me start with a bad thought. He didn’t utilize parables because He preferred to illustrate his points using images. You know, students frequently tell their professors, “You should use more examples, like Jesus,” which is true.
- And He truly mentions this in relation with parables in Matthew 13 and verse 10 of the Bible.
- “Why are you speaking in parables?” they inquire.
- And Jesus responds to the query by stating the following.
- It was he who said, “Not because people require drawings.” Illustrations are required by people, and this is a vital issue.
- “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but it has not been given to them,” Jesus said in response.
- As a result, I communicate to them in parables, because they are unable to see and hear, and consequently, they are unable to comprehend.” So, to use an analogy, consider the following: You deliver a joke to get people’s attention.
- They just do not get the significance of the situation.
And what Jesus is doing is determining whether or not people understand what he is saying.
The tale of the Pharisee and the tax collector—it should come as no surprise to us that the tax collector was found to be legitimate in his actions.
Consequently, the parables genuinely reveal our true spiritual situation, perhaps much more so for us today than ever before.
If I’m not astonished by how the kingdom works and how God’s grace works, that truly says something about who I am and what I believe.
So I understand, but I don’t really understand.
As a result, parables are more than just examples. Indeed, they serve as spiritual litmus tests, and it is for this reason that we must be really astonished by them, prompting us to ask, “What is it about God’s love in this passage that has surprised me so much?”
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Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?
Jesus was a master of parables, as demonstrated by his teachings. Jesus utilized parables frequently and effectively in his teaching, and he did so to great advantage. Parables were an effective method of teaching, and Jesus was skilled at delivering them. There were, however, a number of additional reasons for Jesus’ employment of parables in addition to this.
1To Give His Enemies No Ground
The opponents of Jesus were continually on the lookout for whatever he could say that they might use against him (Luke 11:53-54). Jesus was making things extremely difficult for them by speaking in parables. He couldn’t possibly get imprisoned for narrating a collection of stale tales! The parables were meant to be evocative rather than controversial. By framing his teaching in parables, Jesus was able to communicate some concepts to true-hearted people in a way that was far more effective than just stating them in plain English.
It was a wise tactic on Jesus’ part to use parables in situations when it would have been harmful to speak simply in public.
Unmistakably, in the tale, Jesus represents himself as God, who has the authority to open and close the gates of Heaven (Revelation 3:7).
2To Enlighten the True Hearted
A number of times when large crowds gathered to hear him speak, Jesus took advantage of the situation. Those with honest and open hearts, as well as those who were hungry and thirsty for righteousness, may be enlightened via the use of parables, according to Jesus (Matthew 5:6). The word heart is derived from the word hear, which is a coincidence. Hearing God’s word, understanding it, and desiring to learn more about the kingdom of Heaven and God’s will are all characteristics of a healthy heart.
The parable of the sower explains how the seed of God’s word develops and bears fruit in the hearts of those who love him and serve him.
There are certain people who tune their ears to the word of God and are able to discern the truth.
3To Make People Think
Jesus was well aware that not everyone would comprehend or give full consideration to his parables. While some individuals consciously tune their hearts and ears to God’s word, others purposefully block God’s voice from reaching their ears and hearts. Others, on the other hand, do not tune in or block off their ears; Jesus used parables to admonish such people.
Considering the tale of the two roads prompts individuals to consider where their spirits are headed and to make the option to “enter via the small gate”instead of being swept along with the rest of the mob along the broad road to disaster (Matthew 7:13-14).
4To Divide Into Two
Following the recounting of the parable of the sower (as previously recounted), Jesus was confronted by his disciples with the question that serves as the subject of this lecture. They inquired as to why you were speaking to them in parables. (See Matthew 13:10 for further information.) According to Isaiah, persons who have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear are referred to as “the blind leading the blind” (Matthew 13:11-17,Isaiah 6:8-10). When Jesus spoke the parables, he was applying pressure to his listeners, urging them to either open their spiritual eyes and ears and be enlightened, or to close their spiritual eyes and ears even more tightly and face condemnation.
Those that use them go from the grey zone into the plainly black or white zone.
This is what the parable of the sheep and the goats is trying to convey (Matthew 25:31-46).
5To Fulfil Prophecy
Finally, we note that Jesus’ ministry was directed by the prophetic scriptures, which provided him with insight and the authority to talk in parables. This brings us to the conclusion of this lesson. Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and he was never without a parable in his speech, so that the prophecy of the prophet, who said, ‘I will open my mouth in parables, and I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world,’ would be fulfilled: “I will open my mouth in parables, and I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.” Jesus said in Matthew 13:34-35, and in Psalms 78:1-4, According to the prophecy of old, the Christ will teach in parables, prompting him to declare, “I will open my lips in parables.” Jesus was also teaching a message that had been decided “from the creation of the world,” making public the message that had been veiled in secrecy for many centuries (Romans 16:25-27).
As a result, Jesus used parables to communicate since the scriptures instructed him to do so, and “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
To begin, correct this misquote: “Let the one who has a nose for smelling do so.” 2. What effect did Jesus’ parables have on his opponents, and how? 3. How did the parables effect those who were sincere in their hearts? Fourth, what effect did the parables have on those who were not thinking deeply enough about God? 5. How did parables effect those who were caught in a spiritual limbo, unable to decide between two opposing viewpoints? Take a Look at These Interesting Lessons. Defining the Paradigm— Several technical or unusual terminology in the Bible are explored and discussed in detail on simplybible.com, and they are included in our glossary.
Click on the title above, next to the arrow, to be sent to a page dedicated to the term “parable,” which includes a link back to this page.
It might be a scratchable itch that goes away with a little scratching.
However, the itch I’d want to talk about is one that is spiritual in nature.
These, on the other hand, are metaphors for the itchings of the soul. Tap the title above, next to the arrow, to be sent to that lesson’s page, which will include a link back here. link to a pdf Printing without permission is prohibited.
The Reference Desk
I remember a sermon my husband Kyle delivered many years ago in which he utilized an illustration to explain a biblical principle, as he frequently does when he’s preaching. The anecdote of my failure to make a beautiful pecan pie (his favorite dessert) served as the example, which was unfortunate for me. On that particular Sunday, I was working in the nursery, and as parents arrived to pick up their children, I got more perplexed as to why so many people were handing me their best pecan pie recipes to sample.
- Illustrations from Jesus’ Sermon Jesus utilized parables in his sermons as well.
- He saw that people could only interact with this reality through the sight of their hearts, so He opted to convey His point via stories, which we generally refer to as parables.
- Small items that are typically hidden away, such as seeds planted in the soil, a pearl within an oyster shell, or a treasure hidden under the earth’s surface, were used by Jesus to illustrate how the gospel word is implanted in the minds of people who submit to Him.
- Given that Jesus utilized so many parables in His teaching, it begs the question: Why did Jesus adopt this method of communication to connect with us?
- Parables are used to determine who is a true hearer and who isn’t.
- They were not the only ones who were bewildered.
- “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and happy are your ears, for they hear,” the Bible says.
- 13:11, 13, 16, New International Version) “He who has ears, let him hear,” Jesus would say at the conclusion of several of His parables (Matt.
- In the narrative, He spoke about the ears of the heart, and to hear with those ears is to comprehend and respond to the deeper meaning contained within it.
“Indeed, in their case, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive,'” He said, referring to Isaiah 6:9-10: “Indeed, in their case, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.'” Because these people’s hearts have become dull, and their hearing have become deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deaf, and their eyes have (Matt.
Because they were unwilling to accept the truth, it was “hidden” from them through parables.
They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and that each follower would develop as a result of this belief, or, as Jesus said, “he would have an abundance” (Matt 13:12).
‘I will open my lips in parables; I will disclose what has been hidden since the beginning of the world,’ said the prophet.'” Although Matthew is often referred to as a “bridge book” because it relates Old Testament prophesies and promises surrounding the Messiah to Jesus Christ, Matthew also draws parallels between Jesus’ use of parables and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Parables Cross-cultural and cross-generational communication To accomplish this goal, Jesus had to transmit His teaching in a way that would extend the invitation into God’s kingdom across nations, generations, and languages for hundreds of years to come.
He used word pictures to illustrate intangible truths using everyday objects (salt, light, bread, sheep, seeds) and common human experiences (work, weddings, laboring to give birth) to illustrate intangible truths.
Parables compel the listener to become a participant in the story Facts elicit a different response from listeners than fiction, according to research.
We are unable to feel, envisage, or interact at a heart level with facts in the same way that we are with narratives.
Through the use of parables, Jesus was able to arouse the imaginations and emotions of those who heard Him speak.
Moreover, when the heart is engaged, the listener becomes immersed in the tale, taking on the role of a character themselves.
By participating in the tale, we gain a better understanding of the character and nature of our merciful God.
Because we’ve immersed ourselves in the tale, we’re more likely to recall it.
However, it is equally significant for us, His contemporary audience.
They take biblical teachings and infuse them with a deeper, more lasting impression.
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She is the author of several books, including With All Your Heart: Living Joyfully Through Allegiance to King Jesus, Searching for Spring, Messy Beautiful Friendship, and From Good to Grace.
Her writing has featured on Christian Today, The Gospel Coalition, and For the Church, among other publications.
Christine and her family are originally from Texas, but they now reside in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they started a church in 2008. Christine Hoover may be found at her home on the internet at ChristineHoover.net.