In the records of the Bible, we can see that when preaching, the Lord Jesus often used parables, such as the parable of the sower, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the leaven, the parable of the treasure, the parable of the pearl, the parable of the net, the parable of the ten virgins, the parable of attending the feast, as well as the parables of separating the good and evil servants, and sheep and goats. I often thought: “Why did the Lord Jesus use parables when preaching?” Later, I figured it out through consulting the Bible.
1. By Using Parables, the Lord Only Allows True Believers in God to Know the Mysteries of the Heavenly Kingdom and Doesn’t Let False Believers and Nonbelievers Know Them
Matthew 13:10–13 say, “And the disciples came, and said to Him, Why speak You to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” We can see from the Lord Jesus’ answer that He only allows His true followers to know the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom and doesn’t let those who hear His voice but don’t follow Him know them. That is, as for the people who follow the Lord when hearing His voice and open their hearts to welcome Him, the Lord will enlighten them to understand the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom. However, as for those who refuse to follow the Lord after hearing His voice, whose hearts are closed, who can’t recognize the Lord even if they see Him, who can’t understand His preaching, and who don’t have a place for the Lord in their hearts, He won’t allow them to understand the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom. We can know the details from the following attitudes of the Lord Jesus toward these two kinds of people.
For the Pharisees and the Jewish believers who were false believers and nonbelievers, the Lord Jesus said, “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:14–15). We can see from this that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in the Jewish believers and leaders who resisted the Lord. The Pharisees knew very well that the Lord Jesus’ words contained authority and the truth, but they didn’t allow the Jewish believers to listen to the Lord’s sermons, for fear that once they did so, they would follow the Lord. So, the Pharisees slandered and condemned the Lord Jesus to prevent people from following Him. This revealed that their essence was the devil, and that’s why the Lord didn’t allow them to understand the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom. As for the Jewish believers who saw the Lord’s deeds and heard His sermons yet didn’t seek the truth or know God from them but instead blindly listened to and obeyed the Pharisees, they didn’t truly believe in God or thirst for the true way, so God would never let them understand the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom, either. Just as the Lord said, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6).
As for the Lord’s disciples and others who truly believed in God, because they could recognize God’s voice, had a heart of longing for and seeking the Lord’s way, and were able to seek His intentions when encountering something they didn’t understand, God’s intentions were revealed to them. As long as they sought from the Lord, He would allow them to understand, which fulfilled the Lord Jesus’ words, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
For example, it’s recorded in the Bible when the Lord Jesus explained the parable of the tares to His disciples: “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:38–43).
Additionally, when the Lord Jesus faced His disciples’ seeking and explained the parable of the sower, He told them the mystery behind this parable with nothing hidden, and allowed them to understand clearly about His work, His intentions as well as the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom, so that they might establish the right direction and goals of pursuit and find a path of practice that was in accordance with God’s will.
2. The Parables Sourced From People’s Lives at That Time Help People Better Understand the Lord’s Way
When looking carefully at the Lord Jesus’ parables, it’s easy to discover that these parables were sourced from people’s lives at that time. Through making analogies of the things people usually came across in their daily lives to fellowship the truth, such as the leaven, the mustard seed, sowing seeds, casting nets and fishing, and hiding treasures, the Lord enabled people to understand God’s intentions and requirements more easily and gain a more accurate understanding of God’s work. For instance, through the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven, the Lord Jesus told people that the gospel of the heavenly kingdom had an immense life force and impact; through the parable of the sower, the Lord told people what kind of person could gain God’s way and bear fruit; through the parable of the tares, the Lord told people God would do the work of harvesting in the last days, separate all people according to their kind and reward the good and punish the wicked; through the parable of the lost sheep, the Lord vividly expressed God’s love and care toward the lost people. God used this way of speaking to make people better understand His intentions. Just like when parents communicate with their young and ignorant children, if they use the words of adults, their children can’t understand them at all, so they will use the things their children can understand to come up with parables. This way their children will be able to understand their intentions. Parents do this way out of love for their children. Likewise, God’s working among us like this contains His meticulous love toward us human beings.
Now, have you understood the meaning behind the Lord Jesus preaching in parables?