Did Jesus use parables so people won’t understand?

Jesus used parables A LOT (about 37 parables and illustrations are recorded) in His preaching (see Mark 4:33-34). This had been prophesied beforehand (Psalm 78:2, Matt. 13:13-15). The reason why Jesus used parables SO MUCH is similar to why the Old Testament prophets used metaphors (a parable is an “extended metaphor”) — their recipients were dull of hearing! (Matt. 13:13). They could not understand plain speech.


Many believe that Jesus used parables to “hide secrets of the Kingdom.” On the contrary, parables were to paint mental pictures that would resonate with His audience.


The word “parable” is “parabole” in the Greek. It is a compound word derived from “para” (which means “close behind”) and ‘bállō” (which means “to cast”). That is, a TEACHING AID cast alongside the Truth being taught.


A parable casts additional light/insight into what is being taught by using arresting or familiar analogy (which is often fictitious or metaphorical).


So a parable is a teaching aid where you use juxtapose what you are teaching with something similar. It is a metaphorical story used to elucidate on spiritual Truth and realities. Hence, Jesus’ parables were actually His mercy to His audience. They could not understand plain speech (due to their unbelieving hearts), so He used illustrations that would help foster comprehension.


Note however that Jesus’ use of figurative language was till a set time, when Revelation would come by the Spirit (see John 16:12-15, 25-28).


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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