Parables of Jesus – Introduction

Parables of Jesus


And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”

And He answered and said to them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.’  Matt. 13:11

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world and preached the kingdom of heaven.  He visited in the homes of the Jews and attended their public functions.  He associated with all types of people in order to attain the unique goal of His teaching ministry.  Some people condemned Him as a glutton and a drunkard because of His approach to society; however, Jesus was not particularly concerned with what they thought about Him according to their cultural paradigms.  Their understanding of His message and where He came from was His deep concern.  He knew His teachings could enlighten them about the greatest mystery confronting mankind – the meaning of life.  Jesus made the following statement to a group of His disciples while teaching them the kingdom of God with parables.

But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.  For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.  Matt. 13: 16, 17

Jesus taught God’s kingdom, a spiritual kingdom that cannot be seen except by those who value it.  To help accomplish His mission, Jesus used illustrations from things the people understood about everyday life to reveal the mysteries of His Father’s kingdom and the quality of life in the city of God.  These illustrations are called parables.  This is not the only method of teaching Jesus used but parables are usually identified as being unique to His style.  There were only a few other Biblical teachers who used them.  Jesus presented parables to help us understand the spiritual meaning of the following topics:

I.     God’s kingdom with Jesus as king and physical Israel.

II.   The seed of the kingdom and its influence on the hearts of men.

III.  The attitudes of the citizens of God’s kingdom toward God, man and self.

IV.  God’s judgment of each person in the world and in His kingdom.

These will serve as the titles of the Four Parts in this series of lessons on the parables of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For the purpose of this study Jesus’ parables have been categorized according to this author’s understanding of their relation to the foregoing subjects.  These lessons are not intended to be a complete commentary on the parables; however, a dedicated effort has been made to use the parables in the context in which they were presented.  Where this has been accomplished a dynamic principle of the kingdom will have been understood; consequently, each lesson has been developed on Jesus’ divine principles of life.  Scriptures have been used from NASB translation.

Jesus spoke all these things to the crowds in parables; He did not say anything to them without using a parable.  So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: ‘I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.’  Matt. 13:34, 35