Why Jesus Spoke In Parables

“And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand” (Luke 8:10).

This strange assertion by the Lord Jesus was given in answer to the question of the disciples: “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10). Most people have the notion that His parables (earthly stories with a heavenly meaning, some have called them) were for the purpose of helping people who were ignorant of spiritual truths to understand these truths. “Therefore speak I to them in parables,” He said, “because . . . this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they . . . should understand with their heart, and should be converted” (Matthew 13:13,15).

But is not that what He wanted? No, because He knew they really didn’t want to understand. He wanted only those to understand who “in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15; etc.). We read these words coming from the lips of the Lord Jesus at least fifteen times in the gospels and Revelation. The wonderful power in the Holy Scriptures is only operational in the hearts of those who really want to know and follow God’s will. The principle is expressed beautifully in Proverbs 2:1–5. “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” HMM

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