Why did Jesus teach in parables? We have seen that He did so to sow seeds of spiritual truths and to reveal secrets that only His friends would hear and understand.
It is also the purpose of the parables to magnify the sovereignty of God, to survey the wonders of salvation, and to highlight empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
As we walk through the parables, each of these truths are reflected. To establish what I mean, consider for a moment the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and Jesus’ harsh words to those He didn’t know. After explaining the narrowness of the entry into the kingdom (7:13), and the necessity of good fruit being born from the lives of those in the kingdom (7:15), He then reveals that not everyone who claims to be in the kingdom really is (7:21).
Those His warning is to quickly let the cat out of the bag with their response, “Lord, didn’t I… (7:22)?”
For understanding’s sake, try to imagine you are before the judgement seat of Christ and you hear the words, “Depart from Me for I never knew you!” How would you respond? Would you be like these who seek to recall everything they contributed personally? Or, would you say, “Lord, I trusted You! I believed You when You said there was only one way into the kingdom… through Your cross!” If asked by God, “Why should I allow you into My heaven?,” the only appropriate response is, “You shouldn’t Lord, except that Jesus paid for my entrance.”
This is the mindset we read the parables with. If not, we will find ourselves quickly confused and among those who cannot see or hear. The principles of the parables never enervate the Word’s declaration of a sovereign God or the method in which He brings people to Himself. Instead, they institute them.
Jesus once described God’s sovereignty this way, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit (John 3:8).”
R.T. Kendall states, “This means that you can’t make the Holy Spirit do anything. You can’t make Him save anybody. You can’t make Him heal anybody. You can’t make Him open anybody’s eyes to the truth. Only the Holy Spirit can do that according to God’s will and purpose. Some people believe that they can make God do things for them and so they continually try to force God’s hand, but the parables reveal the sovereignty of God — they give an accurate portrayal of God’s character and nature.”
An example of this would be the parable of the wedding feast. When it appears that all of the involved parties are in their appropriate places, of a sudden, we are told that one is recognized as having no jacket and is escorted out of the wedding scene to have part with the punished. The point is that all who are in attendance must be robed with Christ’s righteousness. The parable supports the biblically established nature of God and His chosen path for those He is bringing to Himself… always through Christ Jesus.
- Parable Purposes: Safeguarding Secrets (ptl2010.com)
- Parable Purposes: Sowing Seeds (ptl2010.com)
- The Mother of All Yard Sales (ptl2010.com)