Summary: Jesus said that if we understood this parable we would understand all parables.
THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE GOSPEL
LEARNING AT THE FEET OF JESUS
There is an obvious difference between those who hear Jesus on a shallow or cursory level and those who hear from him intimately. Those who only go to God when they are in trouble are limited in their understanding of most things of an eternal nature. God is still only a help in trouble, and not the source of life itself. To these people God is quite different to what He really is. They may think that He is the author of their problem. They may think that He is the only answer to their problem and may attribute ridiculous notions of His involvement in the solution.
The only way to have a decent understanding of God is to spend time with Him and in His word.
The word says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This is not to be the habit only of preachers. Any person needs to study the word for their own benefit. I guarantee that something you find for yourself means a whole lot more than something which you hear another say. Of course when we hear a bible teacher expound the word and reveal a lot of wonderful truths we are thrilled, but we also need to find some of our own revelation.
There is a negative side to this. And that is that all those who spend time with the Lord are going to be vilified somewhere or another. It is interesting how we are embarrassed by those who admit to being men or women of prayer. We may call them super-spiritual or something else, but it is we who are at fault. When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus it was He who congratulated her for getting it right. She was no different from Adam in the Garden, who found that it was normal to spend time with God. Spirituality is normality.
UNDERSTANDING THE PARABLES
Parables. Parables are in the OT, in rabbinic literature, and in the Gospels of the New Testament. The parables taught by Jesus, in comparison to the others, are unique. Some scholars count a total of sixty parables and parabolic sayings in the Synoptic Gospels. This amounts to about one third of all the recorded sayings of Jesus.
Brevity and simplicity mark the parables Jesus taught. Only a few of them are longer than average: the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) and the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-32 (quickview) ). These parables come to life; they are the vehicles that convey a profound message in simple terms, the proverbial earthly story with a heavenly message.
A parable is a form of speech, either a story or saying, used to illustrate a point the speaker is seeking to make. Parables can be divided into three classes: true parables, story parables, and illustrations. The true parable is an illustration taken from daily life, and its teaching is universally acknowledged. Examples of the true parable are children playing in the marketplace (Matt. 11:16; Luke 7:31-32 (quickview) ), a sheep separated from the flock (Matt. 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7 (quickview) ), a coin lost in a home (Luke 15:8-10 (quickview) ).