A Minister’s Message: Why did Jesus Teach in Parables?

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Min Kerry KnightBy Dr. Kerry Knight, Emerald Beach Church of Christ

Even the disciples of Jesus posed the question as to why He chose to teach the masses in parables rather than just teaching a direct and clear message. His answer sounds a little odd on the surface, but He makes it clear. To His inquiring disciples He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand” (Luke 8:10). In short, what He is saying has to do with having the right heart. The Pharisees and the Scribes had ulterior motives for following Jesus as He taught. They were looking to find any possible way to discredit Him or catch Him in some critical words regarding Rome or the Sanhedrin. They weren’t listening to his message, and that’s why Jesus said, “Let who has ears to hear, let HIM hear.”

The meaning of the word “parable” is from the Greek word, parabole, which means to lay or cast a well-known action, person, or part of nature, beside a truth. A parable is a story that engages the listener and brings them to understand a deeper truth. A good example would be the parable of the sower. Everyone is well acquainted with growing a crop. The main points would be the sower, the seed, and the different conditions of the soil. Jesus tells the story and brings in the spiritual lesson that was apparent to the true believer or seeker, who has no evil motives.

And who can forget the parable of the Good Samaritan? Many of the Pharisees would have agreed with the priests in the story that just left the wounded Samaritan on the side of the street and walked by him, with no sign of compassion. There are great lessons in that story for those who have a generous heart.

There are more than 50 parables of Jesus in the New Testament, and over the next few weeks, we will be studying these on Wednesday Nights at 7 p.m. with our congregation at 301 Alf Coleman Road in PCB. All are welcome to come and study along with us. It will bless your life.