“The parables of Jesus"
Question: "What is a parable?"
ANSWER: A simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
A parable is, literally, something “cast alongside” something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were “cast alongside” a truth to illustrate that truth. His parables were teaching aids and can be thought of as extended analogies or inspired comparisons. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
For a time in His ministry, Jesus relied heavily on parables. In fact, there about 35 of Jesus’ parables recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus explained that His use of parables had a two-fold purpose:
1. To reveal spiritual truths to those who sought for it.
2. To conceal the truth from those who were opposed or indifferent to His teachings.
Interpreting a parable can present some challenges. Sometimes, interpretation is easy because the Lord Himself gave the interpretation—the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares are both explained in Matthew 13. Other parables may cause one to wrestle deeply within their own mind or lives before arriving at a meaning that makes sense.
In this summer series, July – September 2018, we will examine several parables as spoken by Jesus and relate their meaning within our contemporary times of the 21st century.