Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Why Jesus Taught In Parables

Biblegems # 278

Question: According to Luke 8:10, Jesus didn’t want anyone except His disciples to understand the parables of the Kingdom of God, so why teach the others in parables at all?

Here is the reference:
Luke 8:9-10  His [Jesus’] disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

          “ ‘though seeing, they may not see;
                   though hearing, they may not understand. “

This is Jesus’ typical response in the Gospels, showing that the quote above is not a fluke but represents Jesus’ intentional teaching strategy about the Kingdom of God. The reason for this has several layers.

Reason #1 Jesus was intentionally fulfilling His role of Messiah as predicted by the Old Testament prophets:
         Matt. 13:34-35  Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth in parables,
                  I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

The “prophet” quoted here is king David in Psalm 78:2.

Reason #2  Proverbs and parables already had a long history in Scripture as a principal tool for teaching spiritual truth (Prov. 1:1-6). In fact, proverbs and parables were recognized for their value in sifting out those who “despise wisdom and instruction” that leads to a deep understanding of God  (Prov. 1:7).

Reason #3  As our Savior-Messiah, Jesus fulfills the three-fold roles of Prophet, Priest and King. As a prophet in His own right, Jesus communicated what He heard directly from God the Father which, at times, came in the form of parables. As the Lord says in the prophet Hosea:
         Hos. 12:10  “I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them.”

Reason #4 Jesus used parables to describe the realities of the coming Kingdom of God. In doing so, He also had to help His listeners un-learn misconceptions about the Kingdom of God passed on through religious instruction for generations. They were expecting the Messiah to rally the people of Israel to defeat the Roman Empire and re-establish Israel’s independence, accompanied by an angelic army that would miraculously appear. As Jesus approached Jerusalem on what came to be known as “Palm Sunday,” surrounded by thousands of supporters, with thousands more joining from Jerusalem itself, those exuberant crowds thought the day of overthrowing the Roman yoke had come:
         Luke 19:11  While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

Jesus used parables to draw familiar illustrations from everyday life that pointed to the Kingdom’s true nature. These stories, then and now, still accomplish their purpose, sifting out those who truly want the truth from those who want to shape the Kingdom of God into a mold they are comfortable with.
         Luke 18:17 “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

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