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Why did Jesus teach in parables? June 23, 2006

Posted by JP in Discussion, Uncategorized.
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 It has been said that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. For our purposes, this is a good working definition, as even a casual reading of the Gospels reveals that our Lord Jesus frequently used parables as a means of illustrating profound, divine truths. But were these truths given for the understanding of all or were these truths revealed to some but hidden from many others? Consider the following passage that appears in Matthew’s Gospel record:

 

"And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

'YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,

OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.'

But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly 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" (Matthew 13:10-17).

Our Lord Jesus understood that truth is not sweet music to all ears. Simply put, there are those who have neither interest nor regard in the deep things of God. So why, then, did He speak in parables? To those with a genuine hunger for God, the parable is both an effective and memorable vehicle for the conveyance of divine truths. Our Lord’s parables contain great volumes of truth in very few words—and His parables, rich in imagery, are not easily forgotten. So, then, the parable is a blessing to those with willing ears.

But to those with dull hearts and ears that are slow to hear, the parable is also an instrument of both judgment and mercy. How can this be? Bible commentator John MacArthur explained, “…judgment because it kept them in the darkness that they loved (cf. John 3:19); but mercy because they had already rejected the light, so any exposure to more truth would only increase their condemnation.”

Are there such people who are so adamantly hostile to the truth? Are there those who truly despise the deeper things of God? Some years ago, I was involved in a conversation with an irate gentleman who had heard me speaking openly against a certain religious organization. He asked how it was that I dared bring charges against “God’s organization.” In reply, I explained that the organization was guilty of false prophesying and gave numerous specific example. I then went on to tell the person that the organization had literally rewritten the Bible so as to make Scripture seemingly align to the organization’s own peculiar brand of theology. Further, I explained how the organization had intentionally misquoted themselves so as to cover up a long string of doctrinal blunderings and failed predictions.

For the next ten minutes, I gave this caller example after the organization's lies, deceptions, and cover-ups—and I backed up every single charge with verifiable evidence. So how did the gentleman respond? After a moment or two of silence, all he could say was, “How can you dare speak against God’s organization?” Was it possible that the man had not heard a single word I had said? At this point, I truly understood Isaiah’s prophetic words, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive” (Isaiah 6:9).

In truth, there are many who prefer not being bothered by facts and evidence when the lies they believe better suit their immediate purposes. Indeed, the parables of our Lord Jesus are addressed only to those with willing ears. So, in summary, why did Jesus teach in parables? (1) To teach truth to those who were eager to hear. (2) To conceal truth from those who had no desire for it.

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Comments»

1. theseldomscene - June 23, 2006

there you are…amen and amen…i am feeling better already…parables…GOD knows i don’t lie about this….i have been thinking greatly on those very parables lately…

2. julius phu - June 26, 2006

In your conversation in one paragraph you said “i” about 8 times and the other person said God twice.

3. theseldomscene - June 26, 2006

and when you tell a story that you were involved in….do you refer to yourself as “i” or GOD?…..

4. julius phu - June 26, 2006

sorry

5. sofyst - July 4, 2006

I miss JP…where oh where is my JP?

6. JP - July 5, 2006

JP is sleeping. The way things are going he may never wake up, nor is he sure if he wants to…

Prayers would be a good thing.

7. jetrey - May 24, 2010

This helped me understand parables a lot easier.

Thanks Guys

8. Thank you. I now understand parables more.mercy - July 2, 2010

I now understand why you can talk about God to some people yet they never change its as if you were just bubbling.

9. thekeystolife - November 10, 2012

Parables……well,..hmm, can we assume that it could be possible that Christ intention was to limit his teachings of truth to the ones who could hear and know his voice? Why give pearls to the pigs, to use such power for un-Godly purposes? Remember, God gives rain equally for the just and unjust. The just praise God for the rain as it brings life, the unjust curse the rain, why, because it turns dirt into mud which dirties thier precious shoes.
Anyway, lets live more Godly, and leave the judging to God.

10. Debi Monroe - January 19, 2016

I am glad to read this because it worried me at first. I thought why would Jesus wish to conceal His saving truth from anyone? Jesus Himself said He was not willing that any should perish but that all should come to the truth! But this explanation makes sense and helps me to understand these passages, which on the surface appear to say otherwise… so Thank you!


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