Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.  (Mk 4:34)

. . . that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “I will open My mouth in parables;  will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”  (Mt 13:35)

Why did Jesus speak in parables so regularly?  Jesus used parables frequently as a means to illuminate weighty, divine truth.  He also had other reasons to use parables to communicate in public.

  • And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him. (Lk 11:53-54)  The scribes and Pharisees were always looking to find fault with Jesus and to discredit Jesus in the eyes of all of the people.  By using parables, Jesus could thwart the plans of His enemies.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Mt 5:6)  Through the use of parables, Jesus could spiritually feed those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness.  Those who had a good heart, who were truly seeking God, could find what they needed in His teachings.
  • “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt 7:13-14)  This story of the two roads (one narrow, one wide) caused people to think about where their lives were headed.  Using parables motivated people to stop and think about such profound topics.
  • Jesus’ parables brought pressure upon people to cause them to choose whether they wanted to be a sheep or a goat. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left . . .”  (Mt 25:31-33, for full story see Mt 25:31-46)
  • Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (Ps 78:1-3)  As we can see by this passage, by speaking in parables, Jesus fulfilled prophecy concerning Himself.  (see also Mt 13:34-35)

Jesus always had very good reasons for His actions.  He listened for and obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit, and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He has set us an excellent example, hasn’t He?

Wisdom & Understanding

Wisdom & Understanding

In the Bible, we often see that wisdom and understanding are linked together strongly.

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens . . .  (Pro 3:19 NKJV)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  (Pro 2:6 NIV)

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  (Pro 4:7 NIV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  (Pro 9:10 NIV)

He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding.  (Jer 51:15 NKJV)

The Lord uses wisdom and understanding together in combination to establish and accomplish great and mighty things.  Because we are made in God’s image (Gen 9:6 NKJV) and since Christ is our example (1 Pet 2:21 NKJV), we too are strongly encouraged by the Word to gain wisdom and understanding. 

Wisdom means prudence, insight, perceptiveness, or good judgment. 

Understanding means empathy, kindness, or awareness.  In considering these two attributes, we can see how they would work together quite effectively and supportively.

Daily, we can expand and increase both of these characteristics in our lives by reading the Bible faithfully.  No matter what book of the Bible or what topic we may read, the Word of God is filled with the Spirit and the power of God—as well as God’s wisdom and understanding.  The more we fill our hearts and minds with the Word, the more that we will operate with the wisdom and understanding of God.

Be eager students of the Word and you will reap the blessed and life-changing benefits. 

Lay Aside Every Hindrance

Lay Aside Every Hindrance

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:1-2)

A hindrance is something that holds us up or slows us down.  In this verse, we’re told to lay aside every “weight.”  This passage reminds us to put aside every hindrance, weakness or barrier that would attempt to slow us down in our race to eternal salvation.

We must run our race with patience.  How do we run with patience?  We run resolutely, persistently, and uncomplainingly. 

The Lord Jesus gives us stamina, purpose and fortitude as we trust Him to strengthen us, and to pour out His grace upon our lives.  Jesus is called the “author and finisher” of our faith.  We must cling to Him and to our faith in His finished work.

Jesus is our example, and He didn’t weaken, yield or hesitate in His destined path to the cross on Calvary.  Jesus knew Who He placed His trust and hope in; Jesus placed it in His loving, heavenly Father who would never fail.  We need the same life mindset that is expressed in the following Bible verse:

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.  (2 Tim 1:12)

Commit your faith, your life, and your path to the Lord Jesus, the faithful One. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

Unjust Suffering

Unjust Suffering

The Bible gives us notice in numerous passages that followers of Jesus Christ will experience unjust suffering.  We are told that any suffering that we go through is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us!  (Rom 8:18)

Christ suffered for us, and He left us this as an example, so that we would follow in His steps—being forewarned.  (1 Pet 2:21)

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.  (1 Pet 2:19 NIV)

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.  (1 Pet 3:14a)

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  (2 Tim 3:12)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33)

In all situations of life, we can never be separated from the love of God for us.  (Rom 8:35)  God promises to comfort us in all of our troubles.  (1 Cor 1:3-4)  These passages of the Scripture are meant to support us and to encourage us when we suffer.

Our perseverance in suffering, holding on to our faith in Christ, proves the genuineness of our faith according to the Word of God.  (1 Pet 1:6-7) 

We are told to count it a joy when we face many and various types of trials. (Jas 1:2-4, see also Rom 5:3-5) 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt 5:10-12)

Prepare your heart, mind, and will to follow Jesus in every circumstance; and when you arrive in eternity, you will be filled with rejoicing and extreme thankfulness that you did.

Walk Worthy of God

Walk Worthy of God

The Bible calls us, as believers, to “walk worthy” of God and of our calling.  Here are some examples:

. . .  who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well . . . (3 Joh 6)

. . . that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.  (1 Thes 2:12)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . (Eph 4:1)

. . . that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . (Col 1:10)

We are called to walk in a way that corresponds to and is in harmony with the glorious nature of our Savior God, whom we serve.  He is loving, kind, merciful and forgiving.  We must use His nature as our example.  We must see the blessings of our salvation and realize that our calling is to share them with as many people as we possibly can.

Our own value is not in question here due to the fact that the Lord has already demonstrated our extreme value by sending His own, beloved Son to be our Savior.  Jesus came to suffer, die, and to be resurrected in order to reconcile each one of us to God, the Father.  We have already been reconciled to God!  Hallelujah!

Here is a wonderful insight into this topic by Ed Elliott:

“Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus while he sat in a Roman prison. He didn’t identify with being a prisoner of Rome. He saw himself as a prisoner of the Lord. He was locked in God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Paul walked worthy of the Lord by knowing whose prisoner he really was.” – Ed Elliott (referring to Ephesians 4:1)

Pressing On

Pressing On

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 3:12-14 NIV)

The definition of press on is:  to continue moving forward in a forceful or steady way; to continue to do something especially in a determined way.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians (passage shown above) encourages all believers to continue moving forward in their Christian life.  He especially wants us to have a sense of determination because there is a definite prize ahead of us that we long to receive.  Our hearts must be resolved so that we will stay the course.

Our prize is eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven.  There is no arriving at the destination without understanding that Jesus is the Way.  Eternal life is truly the gift of God which we obtain through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

And we will encounter road blocks, challenges, tribulations, and trials along the way.  At these points we need to seek the Lord, and to change whatever is necessary in our lives in order to continue on our way.

In a very real, spiritual sense, we need to pursue Christ with fortitude because in doing so we show our resolve to claim Him as our own Savior and Lord.  We surrender all and follow His example, His footsteps, and His teachings in order to attain eternal fellowship with Christ.  Glory to God!

Predicted Perilous Times

Predicted Perilous Times

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come . . .  (2 Tim 3:1)

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!  (2 Tim 3:2-5)

Many of you already know that the Bible repeatedly mentions the last days.  This is a term that typically is understood to refer to a period when historical events would reach a final climax.  Whether or not theologians disagree on the terminology, we can all agree that we are living in perilous times. The Scripture passage shown above in 2 Timothy 3:2-5 describes what types of behavior we would see in the last days

If we are very honest, we have to admit that yes, we do see all of these behaviors in evidence in our world today.  So how should we respond to our perilous times?

The Bible shows us the way:

  • Read the Bible. (Josh 1:8; Neh 8:3; Ro 10:17)
  • Obey the Bible. (Joh 14:23; Jas 1:22)
  • Understand that Christians will at some point or other suffer persecution. (Mk 10:30; 2 Tim 3:12)
  • Follow Christ’s example in all things. (Joh 13:13-16; Lk 9:23; 1 Cor 11:1)
  • Allow the Scriptures to read you, correct you, and to transform you. (Heb 4:12; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Rom 12:2)
  • Love your enemies; pray for those who hurt you or abuse you. (Lk 6:27-28)
  • Resist the devil. (Jas 4:7)

Let us be obedient to the Word of God, and followers of Jesus, our example.