The Mystery of Parables

Matthew 13:10-11 &13 New International Version (NIV)                                                                                                                10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”  11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:  Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

Jesus taught with parables, relating a common story illustrative of a spiritual meaning.  Think about the timeframe of His presence on earth.  The Old Testament prophets had predicted His coming exactly as it occurred and they talked about His life.  The Jewish leaders of the time refused to recognize or accept what their own scrolls had revealed to them very clearly!   I can imagine that Jesus’s miracles really tied them in a knot, along with being unable to question and debate Him successfully.  He proved to be a threat to their standing within society by establishing a new covenant not based upon keeping ritualistic laws.  It’s quite human to expect that most Jews’ hearts were hardened by how their religious leaders responded to Jesus.  

In spite of all this evidence, Jesus attempted to reach the masses, but with free will each person had to make up his own mind.  He used parables as His teaching method.  By the way, the prophet Isaiah had predicted this approach 800 years earlier!  People receptive to Him would understand the teaching, whereas those who resisted would never understand.  

Here’s what’s baffling to me.  His inner circle consisted of twelve disciples who stayed with Him 24/7.  On some occasions, even they didn’t understand a parable!  Jesus even chastised them with responses like “Are you so dull?” and “Do you not understand?”  

If a parable shoots right over your head, know that you’re in good company with the disciples.  They didn’t get it all the time, either!  Just keep on plowing forward, recognizing that the parable illustrates a spiritual truth that you need to know, and seek the Holy Spirit’s help in understanding it.    

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