Parables, Fables and Legends

Amos 1-3, Matthew 13

In today’s reading of Matthew 13, we encounter Jesus talking in more parables.  What are parables, exactly?  Parables are short, simple stories that convey a moral or spiritual lesson.  There are several reasons that Jesus chose to communicate with parables.

Accessibility: Jesus used parables to make complex spiritual and moral lessons accessible to diverse audiences. By using familiar scenarios and everyday situations, he could connect with people from different backgrounds and walks of life.

Engagement: Parables are inherently engaging and thought-provoking. They capture the audience’s attention and encourage them to think deeply about the underlying message. Parables allowed Jesus to convey profound truths in a way that held people’s interest.

Memorability: The storytelling nature of parables made them easier to remember.  When people remember it, they will share it.

Protection: In some instances, Jesus used parables to convey sensitive or controversial teachings without attracting unnecessary opposition or persecution. The symbolic language of parables allowed him to deliver challenging messages while providing a degree of protection from immediate backlash.

Spiritual Revelation: Parables often contain hidden meanings and profound spiritual truths. Jesus explained the meanings of some parables to his disciples privately, giving them insights into the mysteries of the kingdom of God.

Self-Reflection: Parables required active participation from the audience. Listeners had to ponder the stories and discern the moral or spiritual implications, which encouraged self-reflection and personal growth.

These reasons are fine, but there is a catch to parables.   You must be willing to hear (Matthew 13:43).   Author John Macarthur puts it this way, “If a person rejects the propositional truth being illustrated by a parable, of course, it remains an open riddle.”

MacArthur, John F.. Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told (p. xviii). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.