Character Studies

(Jesus of Nazareth: Part 6)

JESUS OF NAZARETH: HIS USE OF PARABLES

Intro.

1. His mission: Call sinners to repentance & salvation - Lk. 5:32; 19:10; Matt. 11:28-30.

2. How accomplished? - Mk. 1:38; Jno. 12:49-50; Acts 10:36-37 - Through the word He taught.

3. Jesus used a variety of methods to teach: Sermons, visual aids, questions to incite examination, illustrations, parables, etc.

4. From His use of parables we learn what they are, their purpose & their results.

 

I. DEFINITION OF PARABLES.

  A. "Lit., Denotes A Placing Beside" - Vine, III:158.

    1. "It signifies a placing of one thing beside another with a view to comparison." -Ibid.

    2. A narrative drawn from nature or human circumstances whose object is to teach a spiritual lesson.

  B. What Parables Are Not:

    1. Not fables (Animals, trees, etc. don't talk in them) - Parable is true to life.

    2. Not myths (Myth told as if it really happened) -Parable an obvious illustration of truth based upon actual, day-to-day happenings.

    3. Not a proverb (Short, pithy truism) - Parable is a narrative which may or may not be lengthy.

  C. Jesus Did Not Invent The Use Of Parables.

    1. OT example of parable:  2 Sam. 12:1-4.

    2. His parables are full of wisdom & instruction. Were used by Him in His mission to "seek & save the lost."

 

II. THE PURPOSE OF JESUS' USE OF PARABLES.

  A. To Teach/Reveal Spiritual Lessons.

    1. Cf. the definition of parable.

    2. Was Jesus' constant purpose in teaching.

  B. He Did Not Use Parables To Intentionally Hide Truth From Certain People - Matt. 13:10-11; cf. Mk. 4:11-12.

  C. What Does Jesus Mean By "To Them It Is Not Given?" - Matt. 13:11-15

    1. That some men will not learn the truth.

    2. But, the real question is, Who? -Let the context help us.

    3. "Them" - Speaks of those in v. 10, 13 (seeing see not, hearing hear not, neither understand).

      a.  v. 14-15 - Those who don't desire truth, refuse to hear it & accept it.

      b.  Thus, they are unable of learning truth!  (cf. Rom. 8:6-7)

      c.  Those with hard hearts toward truth cannot learn it.  (cf. Jno. 8:43)

BUT--

    4. Matt. 13:16-17 - Those with open minds & honest hearts can learn truth!  (Jno. 7:17)

    5. And, since hearts can be changed, Jesus used various teaching techniques (incl. parables) in an effort to open hearts/minds!

 

III. THE RESULTS OF PARABLES - Mk. 4:11-12.

  A. A Two-fold Effect Of Parables: Enlighten & Conceal.

    1. "That" in v. 12 speaks of the result, not intent, of parables.

    2. We generally understand "that" as expressing aim or intent, but not always the case:

      a.  cf. Matt. 2:13-15 - Did they go to Egypt to save Jesus or to fulfill prophecy?

      b.  To save Jesus Result was fulfilled prophecy.

    3.  So it is in Mk. 4:11-12:

-Not the intention of Master Teacher to hide His truth!

    4. The effect/result of His teaching by parables:

      a.  v. 11 - Open-minded Given the mystery of the kingdom.

      b.  v. 11 - Hard-hearted Reject truth (v. 12).

 

IV. THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER .

    A.  Typical Of All The Parables - Mk. 4:13.

        -This indicates that understanding parabolic teaching is based to some extent on understanding the parable of the sower.

  B. Reasons Why This Parable Is Vital To Understanding The Parables Of Jesus.

    1. It teaches the value of listening - Mk. 4:3, 9, 15, 16, 18, 20.

      a.  Lk. 8:18 - Take heed how we hear!

      b.  To cause people to listen seems to be the design of all parabolic teaching.

    2. It teaches the need to remove prejudices & preconceived notions in order to learn & accept truth - Lk. 8:15.

      a.  Matt. 13:23 - These understand it!

      b.  Pure hearts enable us to know the truth & be freed from sin - Jno. 8:31-32.

    3. It teaches the need to remove every obstacle which hinders spiritual productivity - Lk. 8:13-14.

      a.  Cf. - No roots, thorns of sin, etc. - Hinder reception of truth.

      b.  Only when our minds are uncluttered w/ impurities can we accept truth & bear fruit!

 

Conclusion

1.  Jesus taught so that men might learn God's truth & be saved.

2.  He used parables to reveal truth concerning the kingdom of God.

3.  Only if we close our minds to truth will they be hidden from our understanding.