“He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand….But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” – Matthew 13: 11-13, 16.
The Lord Jesus frequently used parables as a means of illustrating profound, divine truths. Mark 4:34 says, “In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.” They are vivid, rich, arresting stories that make us think and teach us lessons about our relationship with God and others. Parables enabled Jesus to share religious truths that connected with people because these stories corresponded with things from their daily lives they could relate to. When asked about God’s love, Jesus talked about a wayward son. When asked about the storms of life, He talks about building foundations. And, when asked about how we should love one another, He tells the story of a helpful passerby. Jesus spoke volumes with few words. Jesus used parables to describe the nearly indescribable, and often, these stories left listeners amazed and speechless.
If you rewind through your life you will recall stories that have stuck with you through the years. A good story sticks with you. You can remember it years later, maybe not all the details, but at least the premise. Good stories stay with you. In contrast, all that information, facts, dates, and equations that you spent learning in high school and college fade away once you walk off the stage at graduation.
This is the genius of Jesus’ teaching. His parables take essential information and wrap it up into a memorable story. You take it with you because you can easily remember it. Jesus could have just said the raw facts. But He didn’t do that. Instead, He chose to tie truth to a story.
While the parables were initially shared in the first-century context, their lessons and principles remain relevant in our lives today. They continue to challenge our perspectives, inspire us to live with compassion and grace and remind us of the eternal truths of God’s kingdom. Applying the lessons from Jesus’ parables requires active reflection and a willingness to examine our own lives. They challenge us to see beyond surface-level interpretations, encouraging us to show love, mercy, and forgiveness to others.
Jesus used principles to make profound spiritual truths accessible to a wide range of people. These stories remain relevant and impactful, challenging us to examine our hearts, grow in faith, and embrace the transformative power of Jesus’ teachings by understanding the purpose and significance of parables, we can fully appreciate the timeless wisdom and apply their lessons in our lives.
- Why do you think parables are so easy to remember?
- How can parables influence our lives?