Matthew 13:3 – “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. NKJV
I’ve been reading through the Bible. Sometimes I just like to focus on reading the Bible from cover to cover, for the simple pleasure of reading. I am in the New Testament and will probably finish it by next Saturday. As I’ve been thinking about the blog, and just my own time with the Lord, I believe that I will spend some time studying the parables of Jesus, something I’ve never focused on before.
What is a parable? The word parable, or “parabole” in the Greek, according to the Vine’s Dictionary, is “a narrative, fictitious but agreeable to the laws and usages of human life, by which either the duties of men or the things of God, particularly the nature and history of God’s kingdom are figuratively portrayed; a comparing, comparison of one thing with another, likeness, similitude”. This is important to note, because all parables are not stories, for in the gospel of John, the author uses metaphors that teach us the nature of the Son of God.
When I was growing up in the things of God, my question to Jesus was, why did you talk so much in parables? Why didn’t you just say what you meant? Then at least I wouldn’t have to wonder about what you wanted me to know. Have you ever felt like that, or even thought that? If so, you are in good company, because the disciples also felt this way when they asked Jesus the same question, why parables?
Well, the answer to that question is in the word itself. The first time Matthew uses the word parable is in the 13th chapter. Up until this time, Jesus is speaking pretty plainly to the people. As He goes about healing and casting out demons, people begin to either reject and criticize Him, or they begin to believe on Him. By the time we get to Matthew 13, He begins to conceal His message of the kingdom in parables. It is this obvious disdain and rejection that causes Jesus to begin to speak in parables, intentionally targeting His disciples with His message.
Another key reason He speaks in parables is that it was prophesied that He would. Psalm 78: 2 – “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” Isaiah gives even greater insight when he writes in Isaiah 6:9-10, that He would speak and they wouldn’t hear or understand. Jesus even quotes this when He explains the purpose of the parables to His disciples.
And lastly, from the words of Jesus Himself, the most important reason is, because the message of the kingdom is for those who are in the kingdom. Kingdom citizens need to know what is being said to them by their King. Therefore, we will seek to understand what is being said to us in the parables, whereas, those outside of the kingdom will be unable to understand, or could care less.
I’m always trying to look at the word and make it applicable to my life. When I think of the use of parables, I think of how some couples relate to each other. A husband and wife that truly spend time together, learn to communicate in ways that others don’t understand. There may be special phrases, nuances, or looks that they exchange with one another to convey a message meant just for the two of them. This deepens their intimacy and keep private, things that are not meant for others.
As Jesus’ Bride, the parables serve as a “special” message reserved for us. When He talks about seed, we understand that He is talking about His word, or an offering, but not an actual seed in a garden. We don’t get it all at once, and sometimes, we need help in the understanding, but those of the kingdom persist in their journey to understand what it is the King is saying.
Not only do I read the Bible, but I’ve had years of teaching and studying the Bible. I enjoy searching out the scriptures, reading commentaries, and listening to sermons to understand what Jesus is saying to us through the Word. After decades of doing all of this, I am still amazed at how much I don’t know about the Word and how much I need to know still. But I also know some things. As I go through this study, I will encounter truths I understand well, truths I’ve heard but need clarification on, and some things I just didn’t really understand. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same for you, and at the end we will all have a more intimate understanding of Jesus, our King! Wonderful Jesus!