We have all heard the lame excuse unbelievers use to blur the facts, derail a discussion or blunt someone’s witnessing attempts by claiming that the Bible is full of myths. As one who believes in the infallibility, inerrancy, and preservation of God’s Word, I take exception to that false claim. But I have to admit, there are some pretty fantastical stories in the Bible. The Flood, Moses parting the Red Sea, Jonah and the Great Fish to name a few Old Testament examples. The New Testament is not without its wild stories. Peter’s angelic helper, Paul being caught up into the Third Heaven, the events of the Book of the Revelation and, of course, the Resurrection.
These and other biblical stories must be taken by faith, not with a grain of salt.
First, we must examine what a parable is. By definition, a parable is a short allegorical story used to illustrate or teach a truth, moral principle or lesson. Usually, it is a statement or comment that conveys a deeper meaning indirectly using comparison.
By laying a truth alongside a belief or concept, the teacher gives his listeners an opportunity to compare their belief with what is true and change their minds. At least, that is the teacher’s goal. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He spoke many parables comparing God’s Kingdom truths with Man’s ideas. His message was radically different; the way up is down, the way to gain is through giving, the way to life is in dying.
And to illustrate these truths our Lord used simple examples: a mustard seed, sheep, a field of grain, two brothers, the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal son, the wise and the foolish virgins, 45 in all. Whenever Jesus spoke a parable, many of His listeners left not completely clear as to His point.
That was by design.
In Matthew 13:34-35 we are told, “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.”
You may be asking why.
Again, scripture gives us a clue in Mark 4:10-12. “When he was alone, his disciples asked him why he always spoke in parables. He said unto them, unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”
Parables were God’s way of revealing certain truths to those who had ears to hear and a heart to believe and yet leave the masses wondering.
And the masses are still wondering. It is our job to explain God’s truths to those who will listen. So how are you doing?