Summary: This is NOT a breakdown on specific parables and meanings, it's a study into WHY Jesus used parables.
Gifts Wrapped in Red
Welcome Campuses as we kick off the Gifts Wrapped in Red series! The final road before we get to Christmas! Can you believe it? How many of you are bringing guests to the Christmas service?
You should know before we even begin…RED is my favorite color! It catches the eye, it makes things pop...it’s vibrant, fun, passionate, it commands power…Red could beat up any other hue on the color chart.
Our series is about a gift, given to us by God Himself. The red letters in the Bible…for those that don’t know…they’re the words of Jesus, straight from His mouth, or retold by Biblical authors. They’re a pretty big deal.
In an article you always gravitate towards words that are bigger, or set off to the side, or italicized or emboldened and this is exactly the purpose of the red letters in the Bible. When you read them it’s almost like you feel you need to slow down and digest them..it’s funny but you find yourself taking them a little more seriously.
Sure it’s because they’re Jesus’ words….but being in RED doesn’t hurt! I don’t think purple, yellow or blue would have been as effective. There’s just something about RED! A yellow bow on a Lexus in your driveway just wouldn’t cut it. I’d turn that thing down! WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE ANYWAY??
1/3 of those red letter words in the Bible are what is called ‘Parables’. By definition in the dictionary a parable is a ‘short allegorical story used to illustrate some truth, religious principle or moral lesson.
Over the years we’ve unpacked several of these parables, or stories in weekend teaching here at the Creek. My goal is not so much to go through a list of parables…LIO will have one daily this week…but I want to get to the heart of WHY Jesus gave so much energy to them. There is a reason, other than He just wanted to change things up because He was bored☺
We need a set up here. Jesus was in full swing of His 3 year ministry here on earth when we encounter Matthew Ch 12! He had been baptized by John the Baptist, He’d been taken up a mountain and tempted by Satan himself, He was in the main stride of preaching sermons like the Beatitudes (Lee talked about a few weeks ago)…He had preached on the Lords prayer…He was traveling around performing miracles and preaching some of His most famous sermons in a clear, concise preaching style …
Until Matthew 12. Matthew records Jesus having a pretty rough day. At least as far as the religious leaders of that day were concerned.
Matt 12:1-8 The day begins by the Pharisees attacking Jesus because they saw Him picking grain and feeding his disciples, what they considered a no-go for reasons I won’t get into right now, obviously Jesus disagreed with them….next 12:9-14 Jesus goes from there to the synagogue where He heals a man…and the Pharisees really don’t like that either, next 12:22-23 Jesus frees a demon possessed man that that REALLY makes the Pharisees mad!
That’s when the Pharisees make a huge mistake. They are so frustrated with Jesus one upping them that they declare His power to cast out demons comes NOT from God but from Satan himself. THIS IS A NO-NO. This was a total denial of who Jesus was claiming to be. This was a harsh statement….and Jesus wasn’t going to take it. What’s funny is that they didn’t even have to say it…Jesus read their thoughts! Could you imagine? Their accusation against Jesus…
This. Changed. Everything.
12:30 Jesus says ‘whoever is not with Me, is against Me’! He drew a line in the sand. He was done being Mr Nice Guy.
He flipped a switch…He begins preaching EXCLUSIVELY in parables for a time.
This means something. It means parables were more than just stories thrown into Jesus’ preaching to spice things up a little, to wake the crowd up….something was going on here. But what?
Jesus switches gears, He changes up tactics, QUITE INTENTIONALLY, VERY STRATEGICALLY, and ABSOLUTELY DIVINELY.
WHY? Well that’s what the disciples were wondering!
The disciples were a lot like you and me. They needed some answers too. So they pulled Him aside one day and asked why He was preaching only in parables. So, in true Jesus humor…He answers them with a parable. I love that.
Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13:3-9
Let’s pretend you’re the disciples…and you hear this….
A man sows seeds along a path. Some seeds were devoured by birds, others fell on rocky ground where they quickly grew…but had no roots so when the sun came out it scorched them and they withered since the soil wasn’t deep and their roots weren’t long. Other seeds fell among thorns and were choked out…yet other seeds fell on good soil and grew abundantly…Jesus says some of these seeds flourished like crazy…and His final words were :He who has ears, let him hear. (and walk away mysteriously) ha…alrighty then! Uhm, I just have to digest that for a minute….