Summary: Introductory sermon for Parable series
Introductory Sermon for Parable Series
Date Written: July 23, 2008
Date Preached: June 25, 2008
Where Preached: OPBC (Wed PM)
Sermon Series: A Series on the Parables
Sermon Title: Introduction
Sermon Text: Mark 4:9-12
9 And He said to them, [some texts omits - to them] He who has ears to hear, let him hear¨ 10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.¨ [Isaiah 6:9, 10]
The parables of Jesus are some of the most beloved and cherished teachings for the Christian. But just what is a parable and why did Jesus use this teaching tool with such propensity?
I want to share with you over the next several weeks and months tonight about the parable, what it is, how it is used and then in succeeding weeks we will look at each parable documented in the Gospels and seek to learn about it and apply its context and meaning to our present day situations and lives.
1. What is a Parable?
First of all the word parable is derived from the Greek word [para-bolay] and this Greek word is actually a combination Greek word consisting of two simple Greek words first [pah-rah] which is a Greek preposition meaning along or beside. Second, is the Greek word [boh-lain] which carries the infinitive meaning, to cast or to throw.
So when these 2 simple Greek words are combined the meaning is to cast along side of or quite literally to compare to or to compare with
Jesus used the parable to bring across the meaning of His teachings in terms and language His audience would relate to and understand.
However, the parable is not unique to Jesus as it was a form of teaching that grew out of an OT teaching style known as mishal or masal which was a one sentence proverbial type statement. In fact, in the Septuagint, which is the OT translated into Greek the term mishal was translated as para-bolay.
In the OT the term masal meant to be similar or like something or someone it was used in the verb and noun forms to either be similar to make something similar. This was a very effective way of getting a certain point across to students, but Jesus used a slightly different approach in His use of the parable.
Jesus approach was one that was to lift up and encourage those who were seeking Him. Jesus used the parable as the hub of His teaching from which all other teachings out flowed.
Now our passage of Scripture for tonight may seem to contradict this about Jesus it seemed as if Jesus is saying here in this passage that the parable is to conceal and NOT reveal the message, but this conception about Jesus method is erroneous at best.
You see parables can take on many forms and they can have multiple purposes as well and it is one of these purposes that Jesus is revealing here in our passage tonight. Jesus indicates that parables do veil the truth, but it is only to those who are profane and indifferent to the message those who would not profit from the message those who would only reject and distort the message! It is to THOSE people that the message is veiled and cannot be understood.
For those who sought Jesus for those today who are SEEKING Jesus, He will not hide His message from you, but will reveal Himself to you THRU His message and His word.
The idea Mark was dealing with is that the identity and the fullness of the message of the Messiah could not be fully understood even by His followers, much less by those who would reject, distort and tear down the message Christ brought it would be a mystery to even believer until after the resurrection of Christ in which the mystery would be revealed to believers!
A parable can also be an extreme example or story about a truth something we call hyperbole which is an intentional exaggeration to make an undeniable point in a very understandable way, let me give you an example of what I mean
Turn with me to Matt 5:29-30:
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.