Why Did Jesus Teach in Parables?

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye 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. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Matthew 13:10-17

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Matthew 10:34-35

And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And 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.

Mark 4:10-12

And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Luke 8:9-10

I love it when the Holy Spirit inspires the writers of the Bible to answer questions that will be asked hundreds if not thousands of years later. To this day, “scholars” question why Jesus would teach using parables. Well, Jesus explained why, so we don’t have to wonder about it!

Up to this point in Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had been very direct and plain in His explanations and teachings. Now, the crowds following Him have become much larger and include people there for many different reasons, not just to follow Him as a disciple. In fact, Jesus had just confronted a group of unbelieving Pharisees in Matthew, Chapter 12, that would not only recognize Who Jesus truly was they attributed His miracles to the work of Satan. So at this point, Jesus adjusts the way He teaches so that those who are truly interested in Who Jesus is and what He is teaching will stick closer to Him and ask more questions.

Jesus speaks to large crowds but those that who are not truly interested hear the sayings but don’t understand the meaning of them. This fulfills Isaiah 6:9:

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.”

The main argument that people make against the use of parables is actually a valid point. By using stories, some listeners may miss the main point. Jesus says that is why He does it! The things of the kingdom of God and His people are not for everyone to understand. As the unbelieving Pharisees had already proven, there was nothing Jesus could say that would convince them of Who He was. So, He hid everything else from them as well!

The scene is actually quite simple to understand. Lots of people heard Jesus teach, but only those Who were really interested in following Him hung around and asked Him questions so they could understand. Jesus intends for us to put in that effort because we are the disciples. We are the ones following Him. It is our job to dig deeper. And the result is worth it!

Jesus reveals things to His disciples that have been hidden from the foundation of the world!

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