Why the Parables?
So how many of you know the parables of Jesus? This is the way He tried to teach the people about the Kingdom of God but they were not willing to truly listen. He knew they really couldn’t grasp His teachings unless He made them easier for people to understand.
Jesus wasn’t ridiculing anyone in this method, He simply wanted people to be able to relate to and understand their meaning. His Apostles asked Him this question, “Why the parables?” …to which He responded:
Matthew 13:11-16 – 11 “He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’
14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.’
15For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Unwillingness on the part of the people to receive Jesus’ message of the kingdom was the reason that He taught in parables. The truths of the kingdom of God were heard by them but not understood. It was not because God was hiding the truth from them-it was because they did not want to hear.
They Had the Chance to Believe
This points to a great truth. God has given the people every chance to accept the message of Jesus. His ministry was attested by miracles. He offered the proper credentials as the Messiah, yet they did not believe Him. The realities of the kingdom, therefore, were not theirs to know. The people who believed in Jesus as the Messiah would understand the parables. They would comprehend the great truths of the kingdom of God.
Modern Day Parables
Let’s do something a little different this morning. I’ll give you a “modern day” parable and you see if you can determine which of Jesus’ parables I am referring to.
A man in New York had two sons. He had spent a lifetime building a successful business and was very rich. His sons worked for him since the age they were able to do so.
After many years, the younger son became weary of working. Why should he? He knew he would one day be rich and wouldn’t need to work at all.
He then went to his father and asked for his inheritance. He wanted to venture out on his own and not be burdened with his father’s work any longer. The older son stayed with his father’s business.
The young son traveled to Vegas. He had good success there, while his money was still good, and lived a reckless life squandering his father’s money and all the money he had won with the gambling habit he had acquired.
It wasn’t long after this the land was struck with a deadly disease (COVID 19?). The casinos closed down; tourism was at it’s lowest point in history; and all his favorite places to go were no longer open.
Nonetheless, he continued to find new ways to waste his money while the opportunities to win it back had vanished and he soon found himself in need of work.
Having only the skills given to him by his father, and with the famine going on all around him, he was only able to find work at a local Pizza Hut… serving others and delivering meals around the city.
He grew hungry and his money was gone. Knowing his father’s business was still thriving, he recalled how even the lowest of the staff were fed lunch and given drinks throughout the day.
He then made a decision to go back home, ask forgiveness from his father and, once again, be happy and content with his life.
As he pulled into the driveway of his father’s house in a taxi, his father saw him from the upstairs window. His father, being overcome with happiness, ran down the stairs and rushed out to the driveway and embraced him.
The young son said, “Father, I am sorry for what I’ve done and I have come home to you for forgiveness. Hire me and let me server you as a janitor that I might make-up for the bad things I’ve done.”
The father, still elated that his son had come back home and seeing his son in tattered and torn clothing, immediately called to his house-staff. “Bring my son new clothes, and shoes for his feet. Then prepare a great dinner that we may celebrate his return.”
Now the older son had been at his father’s busines still plugging away at his daily tasks. When he got home to his father’s house, he heard music and laughter coming from inside.
As someone was leaving the house, he asked them, “What is all the excitement in my father’s house today.” The departing visitor said, “Have you not heard? Your brother has returned, and out of your father’s great happiness, he has given him a party to celebrate his return.”
Now, the older son became bitter and refused to go inside. His father, seeing him sitting at a table on the porch, came out to see why he wouldn’t come inside.
The older son said, “Dad, all these years I have worked for you. I could have moved on and maybe even had bigger opportunities. Instead, I have stayed loyal to you and your company, but you have never held such a great party for me!”
The father, having compassion said, “Son, you are always in my heart and all that I have will soon be yours but today your brother, who had left me and his family, has returned home.” In essence saying, “He had died to us and is alive again!”
Did you get it? Good for you… yes, this one is similar to the Parable of the Lost (or Prodigal) Son. We just put a modern twist to it.
Luke 15:11-32 – The Parable of the Lost Son
- The Father – Represents God and the never-ending love and compassion he has for his children.
- The Young Son – Represents all of us, as we turned our backs on God and all that He has in store for us.
- The Older Son – Represents the righteous, judgmental people that believe they are always in the right and don’t find it easy to forgive others.
That was kind of interesting and fun. Let’s try another one and see how you do. I’m sure a lot of you here this morning will get this one right away:
A biker (ah, I see I have your attention now), longing for the wind in his hair, decides to take a long ride up the coast along A1A. Without warning, a passing truck screams by him, running him off the road an into a ravine seriously injuring him.
By chance, another biker come by and sees him in the ditch. He runs down to him but, seeing the “colors” on his vest, returns to his bike and goes on his way.
Another biker soon passes. He too runs down to the ditch but, knowing he would have to call the authorities and having a police record of his own, decides not to do anything and returns to the road also.
A third biker, wearing no colors, sees the fallen biker in the ditch. He immediately runs to him to see what he can do. After making him feel comfortable, he dials 911 from his cell phone and summons emergency help.
He then jumps on his bike and follows the ambulance to the hospital carrying all the fallen bikers’ belongings in his saddlebag.
He sits in the waiting room until he finally hears word that the fallen biker will be okay, but he doesn’t seem to have any family members to call.
He then tells the nurse, “Here is my number. Call me when he wakes up so I might come see him and see what further I can do.”
How about that one? Good job… once again you’ve answered correctly. This was similar to the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:25-37 – The Parable of the Good Samaritan
- The Fallen Biker – Represents our brethren. Another child of God and brother to Jesus Christ.
- The Two Bikers – One was so wrapped-up in the meaning of “the colors,” wouldn’t take the chance to disrespect his own kind. The other, fearing harm would come to him, neglected to anything as well.
- The Good Biker – This is the way our God wants us to be and the way Jesus told us we should be.
If you read the lesson of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, you will understand this parable better. As the last thing Jesus says in this parable is, “Go, and do likewise.”
- Read the Parables that Jesus taught us.
- Live the lessons He give us.
- Always pray before doing so, in that you may understand them better as God will open you ears to let you hear!
Learn what they mean; do what they tell you to do; and reap the rewards that our Father in Heaven has in store for us when he, one day, will call us home.