Summary: The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables. A parable is like an allegory or a fable-a practical story that illustrates a moral or spiritual concept. Jesus hadn’t used parables to this extent before now. Let's find out why he used parables.
“WHAT’S UP WITH THE PARABLES, JESUS?”
INTRODUCTION: In verse 10 the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke to the people in parables. A parable is like an allegory or a fable-a practical story that illustrates a moral or spiritual concept. Jesus hadn’t really used parables in his teaching before now. He had used metaphors like telling his followers they were salt and light and things like that but now he goes into this mode of teaching to a fuller extent. We’re about to see why.
1) Jesus used parables to see who was serious. (11-15) on the surface it might look like Jesus didn’t want these people to understand. But that’s not the case. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t want people to understand, he was just illustrating the unfortunate reality-some people didn’t want to understand-their hearts had become hard and they have chosen to close their eyes to the truth.
Jesus using parables may have seemed like a confusing tactic but in reality it is a useful way to teach. When we’re learning about something new it can help if it’s likened to something already familiar to us. When Jesus spoke in parables, he used things and situations that would’ve been familiar to the people he was speaking to. They may not have made the connections to the spiritual comparisons until it was further explained but when it was explained, having the illustration would’ve made it more understandable to them.
But that’s just it-did they want to know? Did they want to understand? Understanding belongs to those who want to understand. I guarantee he had their attention and interest. You typically will gain a person’s interest when you’re telling a story. And if you leave them hanging the ones who are locked-in will want to know more.
I believe that’s what Jesus was doing. He was weeding out who would be serious vs. those who weren’t. Who would come up to him later and ask, “Would you explain what you meant back there?” The ones interested would ask questions; they would gain clarification. The ones who were really disinterested would walk away like, “I have no idea what this guy’s talking about. He’s a looney; I’m outta here.”
That’s what he’s illustrating in verse 12. Jesus is saying, “For the one who has the desire to know, more knowledge and understanding will be given to him. However, for the one who doesn’t want to know, the words that he has heard will be lost.”
What about us? When we read scripture and we come across something we don’t understand are we passive about it or are we intrigued? Sometimes the interest is there but the understanding isn’t-that’s different. We’re not going to understand everything about the bible straight out of the gate. We could spend the rest of our lives studying the bible and at the end there will no doubt still be things we don’t completely grasp.