Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world (Matthew 13:34-35).”
I am always intrigued by the conversation between Jesus and His disciples in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. By this point in time, Jesus had suffered a cruel death on a Roman cross, was declared dead and buried in a tomb, and on the third day was resurrected. He now stood in their very presence.
They have a question for their Lord, “Will you now restore the kingdom to Israel?”
For three and a half years, and now for an additional forty days, these followers have sat under the Master’s teachings, and they still haven’t grasped the main point of why Jesus came. I’m humored by the thought of what Jesus may have said to their question, “After all you’ve seen and experienced, you’re really asking me that? I don’t recall telling you that I would restore the kingdom to Israel. What made you think I would? Don’t you remember the Sermon on the Mount? Don’t you remember all of the teachings about the kingdom of heaven? Good friends, it’s all about the ministry and the mission of the Holy Spirit… and you’re about to receive His empowerment.”
Let’s all be honest for a moment. We often miss the point too. It’s okay. We have a patient Lord who is long-suffering and whose mercies are new every morning.
Jesus used the parables to sow spiritual seeds… and seeds take time to grow. He didn’t expect His disciples to grasp everything in a single setting. He planted a seed and in time, where the soil was fertile, the seed produced good fruit. We need only continue reading the Acts to find evidence that this is true.
If a parable might be defined as “a simple story illustrating a profound truth,” then Jesus’ purpose for using them was to help His followers grasp spiritual truths by building a bridge from the natural world to the spiritual. It is to teach us how to move from the natural level of life to the spiritual level of the true and abundant life.
Through the parables, Jesus desires to sow seed into our lives that will bring understanding to us. He reveals these insights through parables for those whom the truth was intended. Each seed that finds fertile ground begins to germinate and grow, inevitably becoming a mighty tree that not only understands spiritual truths, but also invests them into the kingdom to bear more fruit.
To know Jesus is to know His kingdom, His value, and His principles. It is God’s joy that the citizens of His kingdom be privileged to know these things that were hidden from the foundation of the world, but revealed in Christ Jesus.