Article by: Sarah Koontz
Article by: Sarah Koontz
In John 10:10, Jesus revealed His purpose in coming to earth.
In this passage, He declared, “I have come so that they (you) may have life and have it in abundance.”
Jesus came to do a new thing—to introduce a new covenant and bring God’s kingdom to earth.
That is why He often used parables (expanded analogies) in His teaching. His practical illustrations help us comprehend complex spiritual truths.
Indirect communication (storytelling) is powerful for transformation because it blasts through the listener’s presuppositions and fears.
Jesus spoke in parables because the crowds were not ready for direct revelation of divine truth.
But in private, He took the time to explain them to His disciples (Mk 4:34).
This is one of the things I love most about Christ’s earthly ministry. He ministered to the people in His inner circle in a different manner than He cared for the masses.
Both were treated with love and intention—yet they were distinct.
One required indirect instruction to create interest and stimulate thoughtful reflection. The other needed explicit counsel to illuminate key truths and equip them for future assignments.
One of the things I love most about the parables is how they reveal the truth to some, while concealing it from others.
I believe that this is why Christ chose to use parabolic teaching so frequently (Mk 4:34).
Proper understanding and practical application of Christ’s parables is dependent on the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16-17).
Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we are powerless to understand and apply Christ’s parables to our lives.
Dr. Snodgrass, a man who has dedicated his life to the study of the parables, wrote, “The purpose of the parables is to change behavior and create disciples.”
To be transformed by Jesus Christ’s teaching, we must allow the message to penetrate our hearts and change our lives.
Christ’s parables are earthly stories with heavenly significance.
They reveal secrets of the kingdom by giving us physical examples of spiritual truths.
If we desire to separate ourselves from the crowd and identify ourselves as Christ’s disciples, we must actively draw near to Him in our “hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mt 5:6).”
How to Respond to Christ’s Parables
So, what is the proper response to Christ’s parables? In Luke 6:47, Jesus lays out a three-step process for us.
Step 1: Come
Jesus Christ beckons all who are weary and worn to come to Him. In return, He promises to carry our burdens and give us rest for our souls (Mt 11:28-30).
Step 2: Hear
When we hear the Word, we are to receive it with joy, seek to understand it, and invite it to take deep root in our lives (Mt 13:23).
Step 3: Act
James urges us to be doers of the Word, not just hearers (Js 1:22). Without action, the coming and the hearing lead to destruction.
Jesus’ teaching demands a response; His example and His words call us to action. The result of true faith is always obedience.
I love studying Christ’s parables because they illuminate His heart and reveal His plan for us.
They give us fresh insight and help us apply God’s truth to our lives.
10 Powerful Reasons to Study the Parables
- Parables invite us to listen, to gain insight, and to change course.
- Parables require a response or action in the life of the listener.
- Parables help us get past our presuppositions and fears.
- Parables were the bedrock of Christ’s teaching.
- Parables challenge us to refocus our vision on the goals of the kingdom.
- Parables address common questions and real problems.
- Parables function as filters to help us grasp spiritual truth.
- Parables teach us what God values and how God views the world.
- Parables entertain, inform, and motivate the listener.
- Parables reveal the abounding wisdom of the counsel of Christ!
In order to support you in your personal study of Christ’s stories, we’ve created a free 7-week parables Bible study.
This e-mail-based Bible Study consists of thirty-five lessons delivered over the course of seven weeks (with two rest days each week).
All you need to complete our free parables Bible study is 15-minutes per day, an e-mail address, and an open heart.
Free Digital Gifts Included in the Study
Not only is this 4-week Bible study offered completely free of charge, but it also includes these free digital gifts from our creative partners.
We are so excited that Amanda Player, owner and artist at Sweet Frog Print Shop, offered to create coloring pages for us again Her artwork is so fun and uplifting, we just know you’ll love all the printables she created for the Storyteller Study.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. I hope this article has inspired you to join us in studying the parables together this fall.
Don’t forget to invite your friends! Bible study is always more fun with friends.