The Difficulty of Parables

This originally appeared as an email delivered on
Saturday, July 23rd, 2022.

Have you ever read one of the parables of Jesus and afterward felt that you must be dumber than you thought?

You are not alone.

“This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.” – John 10:6

It is a common mistake to think that Jesus spoke in parables to make his teachings easier to understand. He did not.

The Bible says he spoke in parables to purposely make some things harder to understand.

“Unto you [disciples] it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” – Luke 8:10

Parables can act like riddles if you don’t have the key to explain them. Some people like trying to figure out riddles, but one thing is clear about riddles: they are unclear by design

This was precisely what prophesy said Christ would do to a rebellious nation:

“Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel” – Ezekiel 17:2

The parables were explained privately to his disciples.

“But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” – Mark 4:34

The teachings of the parables echo his plain teachings. They speak of the how the kingdom would come to Israel, how to enter in, and the inheritance given to a believing remnant.

Don’t make them more difficult than they are. Nowhere in the parables do we find the revelation of the mystery of the Body of Christ (Eph 3:6).

For your edification,

Justin “make it clear” Johnson

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