A few years ago, we did a series at CPC called “Stories from the Storyteller: The Parables of Jesus.” That’s where Jumpstart digs in today: the stories Jesus told which made the complex idea of the Kingdom of God a bit more palatable. While these stories seem simple, the hearers didn’t always grasp His thoughts. They sought for an explanation for why Jesus would speak in stories. Here’s the answer that He gave:
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Matthew 13:10-12 ESV
Essentially, Jesus was telling them that God was using these simple stories for two distinct purposes: (1) to open people’s eyes to the Kingdom, or (2) to harden people’s hearts toward Christ (read verse 15). While this is a sufficient explanation, here is another thought I had concerning Jesus’ use of parables:
The Creator of the universe — the Lord of everything — chose to speak to us in parables. This is contextualization at its finest.
God got down on our level. He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He spoke in terms we could understand. I believe that Christ’s parabolic teaching was yet another sign that He truly was Immanuel — ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:23). Our finite human minds cannot understand God (Romans 11:33-36), but Jesus, through these stories, offered us the gift of understanding.
Matthew Henry, renowned Bible teacher, summarized this concept well:
“Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant.”
The “Parable of the Sower” is the opening parable Jesus told in this section. Here are some questions (adapted from Berean Christian Bible Study) to answer in our comment section below:
ALONG THE PATH: How does Satan connive to take the word away from our hearts?
AMONG THE ROCKS: What do the rocks in this parable represent? Why do you suppose they fell away?
AMONG THE THORNS: What are some of the “weeds” that choke the Christian life?
ON GOOD SOIL: Why is “good soil” so vital to us as Christians for fruitfulness and perseverance? Have you personally been impacted by “good soil”?
By: Todd Thomas