Why did Jesus speak in parables?

*   (Mat 13:10-13 NIV)  The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" {11} He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. {12} Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. {13} This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

*   (Luke 8:10 NIV)  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.'

We sometimes read more into a statement than is intended.

*   (John 21:20-23 NIV)  Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") {21} When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" {22} Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." {23} Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"

Parables can use familiar stories in unusual ways.

There was a certain old gentleman that loved children and gave them gifts. He had eight flying reindeer that would pull a sleigh full of toys for children that had been good for an entire year. One year the weather was particularly bad, fog made it difficult to fly, and so it seemed the old gentleman would not be able to make his rounds. There was another reindeer that could not only fly but had an unusual nose that would light up like a fog light. The old gentleman decided to use this reindeer as his lead and so would be able to deliver his gifts as planned. When the other reindeer heard of this plan they became enraged and chased the reindeer with the unusual nose away. When questioned about what had happened to the 9th reindeer the other eight lied just like many people do when they are in a situation they do not like.

 

Now I could be talking about some of you but you would find it difficult to prove it. This is one good reason for talking with parables.

 

Even the disciples did not always understand the message in the parables but needed them to be explained.

*   (Luke 8:9-11 NIV)  His disciples asked him what this parable meant. {10} 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.' {11} "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

 

*   (John 16:25-33 NIV)  "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. {26} In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. {27} No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. {28} I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." {29} Then Jesus' disciples said, "Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. {30} Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God." {31} "You believe at last!" Jesus answered. {32} "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. {33} "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

 

The fact is that even now people read parables and miss the message. Pray that you will not!