Jesus used parables in His ministry of teaching about the Word of God. The parables contained essential lessons about the Kingdom of God. However, most Christians need help comprehending what Jesus meant with the parables in His teachings. So, what do Jesus’ parables mean?
Jesus’ parables are short stories that teach a spiritual or moral lesson by philosophy. These stories are, in most cases, based on different issues but intimately meant to address the original audience. The topics were the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the teachings on the rule of law. However, the lesson from the parable was essential to us, not the story in the parable. His parables had an unexpected ending that often caught the audience’s attention. At the end of it, Jesus’ parables had one or two main lessons to learn from.
So, what does the Bible say about Jesus’ parables? How many parables did Jesus use during His ministry? Why did Jesus use parables during His teachings? What are the most important parables of Jesus? And Do Jesus’ parables still matter today? Keep reading this article to learn more.
What does the Bible say about Jesus’ parables?
The scriptures affirm that Jesus used the parables so that His audience could understand His teachings. The gospel of Mark 4:10-12 says, “To you who has been given the Kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables so that they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand, so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.”
Jesus discovered that the people were lost in sin and had gone against God’s command. (Isaiah 6:9-10)While answering His disciples who asked Him why he was using the parables, Jesus expressed His disappointment and frustration. Thus, Jesus preached in parables so that those who felt proud, arrogant, and went against the word of God, would find it to themselves to interpret His teachings.
Each parable teaches us about living a life that is pleasing to God. Most importantly, each parable has main lessons to learn from that apply to all of us in our daily lives. The lessons from these parables teach us to focus on the path of Christ that leads us to everlasting life.
How many parables did Jesus use during His ministry?
The counts of parables in the Bible differ due to categorizing various teachings. Some parables in the Bible are clearly labeled as “parables,” while others are not specified as parables but give a reasonable definition.
However, suppose we loosely define parables enough to include parabolic instructions. In that case, some theologians suggest that there are over a hundred parables, while others say there are about two hundred and fifty parables that Jesus used to teach.
Moreover, we have over thirty parables used by Jesus to teach while in His ministry. Most of these parables are short, while some are pretty brief.
Why did Jesus use parables during his teachings?
Jesus used parables to simplify spiritual truths and share with humanity in the form of relatable stories that could be easily understood and internalized. Jesus had to involve well-thought and amicable stories that relate to their normal life while preaching about the Kingdom of God.
When the disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, Jesus replied, “Though seeing they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13:10-17). This meant that Jesus had to come up with a way that the people would easily understand and listen to His teachings.
The people were not open to receiving God’s message and had hardened their hearts to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus’ messages were unpopular because they challenged people to change their ways of life and culture in an acceptable Godly manner. They were rigid to this transformation from Jesus to the teachings about the Kingdom of God.
Jesus used parables because they presented His message more powerfully. He used these parables, such as “removing the log from your eye before you remove that in your neighbor’s eye,” to give us a deeper insight into Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Through these parables, Jesus’ guarded the truth against unbelievers while revealing and illustrating it to believers.
What are the most important parables of Jesus?
It is not easy to clearly categorize the parables of Jesus. However, the most talked about parables that related to most of Jesus’ teachings include;
The parable of the Lost Sheep
The parable of the lost sheep is widely used to assist the audience in understanding that God is not just concerned with the biggest of all in the kingdom. He has most of the interest in the entire sheep and does not want even one of His flock of sheep to get lost. (Matthew 18:1-4)
The gospel of Luke accounts that Jesus used the parable to teach the Pharisees that, He was spending most of His time with sinners because He wanted to win them back to Christ. The Pharisees thought that they were more important and demanded most of Jesus’ time to stay with them. (Luke 15:5)
The parable of the Prodigal son
Jesus used this parable to teach that it doesn’t matter how far we push ourselves from God. He is always ready and willing to accept us back into His arms again.
From this parable, we learn of the father, who welcomes his lost son with a celebration after the younger son asks for his share of the father’s wealth. He had squandered all his wealth and unworldly leisure and became broke to the point of getting pig food. (Luke 15:31-32)
His father’s action to throw a celebration in honor of his son who had lost anger the eldest brother, who feels he had been faithful to this father over the years. However, the father consoles him and tells him that he always loved him and that everything the father has is his, but they must celebrate that their lost brother has returned home safely.
The parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus expressed in his teachings that love is the greatest of all commandments. He taught us that we must love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves. He used the parable of the Good Samaritan to explain what being a neighbor means.
During that time, the Jewish did not associate themselves with the Samaritans. He taught that a Jewish man had been stripped and beaten and left half dead. Lying by the roadside. He was ignored y a passing priest and a Levite, both of whom were in an excellent position to take care of the sick Jewish man. However, the person who came to his aid was a Samaritan. Jesus taught that these were the qualities of a good neighbor.
Do Jesus’ parables still matter today?
Jesus’ parables form the basis of our faith as Christians today. They are still very relevant to our moral upbringing and the way we relate with others.
Through these parables, we learn of the righteous path to the Kingdom of God, where God will welcome us with open arms, and we are guaranteed everlasting life.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.