Parables: More than Stories

INDEPTH from the NKJV   (Matthew)

        Although Jesus lived among story-telling people, His approach to instruction was still unusual. His stories were memorable, but they were not transparent. People heard them but did not necessarily understand them. They were clearer to us because of the Apostle Paul’s writings, but few of the first hearers of the parables understood them. At one point the disciples asked in frustration, “why do you speak (to the people) in parables?” (13:10). The disciples did not grasp the stories any better than the rest of the crowd did.

Jesus’ answer to the disciples reveals much about the purpose of His teaching. He quoted Is. 6:9, 10 to demonstrate that those with physical sight and hearing may still not be able to perceive the truths presented to them. For Isaiah the “dullness” or hardness (13:15) of the human heart directly affects spiritual insight and understanding. People need to soften their hearts, humble themselves before God, and honestly seek the truth in order to find it.

Jesus’ stories are like wrapped gifts. The packaging of the story can either distract or captivate. But unless the package is opened, the gift itself remains unseen. Likewise unless one seeks the core of the parable—its truth and application—the lessons will remain hidden. Yet when discovered, these lessons prove extremely valuable. The testimony of millions of changed lives over two thousand years attests to this fact.

When unwrapped, Jesus’ stories include powerful multiple applications. The same parable can strike people different ways. For example, the parable of the soils (13:1-23) may be “heard” by at least four distinct people depending on their identification with one of the soils. The parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) will affect a father in quite a different way than it does a rebellious younger son or a jealous older brother.

When Jesus taught in Jerusalem during His last week, His parables focused on the acceptance or rejection of Him. This time even the priests and the Pharisees “perceived He was speaking of them.” They were stung by Jesus’ parables, and they despised Him and His message. But they were unwilling to give up their pride, learn at Jesus’ feet, and seek the forgiveness they so desperately needed. They sensed they would not appreciate what they found if they unwrapped the parables. So they refused to seek the truth any further. In doing this, they perfectly conformed to Isaiah’s description of a people with dull hearts, hardness of hearing, and closed eyes. These religious leaders who should have been leading the people into the truth were the very ones who were the most blind to it.

 

Where there is no sin, there is no wrath, but there will always be faith, hope, love and holiness. Therefore those who have faith, hope, love and holiness will always be found in Jesus’ Book of Life.

God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?

Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.

 

Prayer:   Father in heaven, hallowed is Thy Name.  I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for Your manna, Your graciousness, and Your Fatherly ways. I pray that everyone who has read this article will have His heart touched by the Spirit and will be able to see in his mind and realize in his heart that which You have so graciously offered him.

May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but Yours is done. Please come Lord Jesus.

I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

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