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  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3

Parables of Christ


The Nature of Parables


What reference is made in the Psalms to Christ’s use of Parables?


“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old.”

 Psalm 78:2. 


Note - A parable primarily means a comparison or similitude; specifically it is a short story or narrative drawn from life or nature, by means of which important lesson is taught, or some moral drawn. 


From what sources did Christ usually draw His parables?


From nature and from everyday experiences.


For what are His parables noted?


“Our Savior’s parables are distinguished above all others for clearness, purity, chasteness, intelligibility, importance of instruction, and simplicity. They are taken mostly from the affairs of common life, and are intelligible, therefore, to all men.” – Dr. Albert Barnes, on Matthew 13:3.


Following one of His parables, what did Christ say?


“He who has ears let him hear.” Matthew 13:9.


The Why and Wherefore of Parables


The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

Verse 10.


What reply did Christ make?


He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not understand.” Verses 11-13.


Note - Christ’s objects, therefore, in using parables was to teach the mysteries, or truths, of the kingdom of heaven – truth not necessarily difficult to understand, but which had long been hidden or obscured by sin, apostasy, and tradition – in such a way that the spiritual-minded and those desirous of learning the truth might understand them, and the worldly-minded and unwilling would not. When asked the meaning of any parable, Christ readily explained it to His disciples. (See Luke 8:9-15; Matthew 13:36-43; Mark 4: 33,34.)


After giving instruction by the use of parables, what question did Christ ask His disciples?


Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes they replied.” Verse 51. 


How extensively did Christ make use of parables?


“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” Verse 34.


Note – Parables are simply stories. All, young and old like to hear a story. Storytelling is one of the most successful means of awakening an interest, securing attention, and teaching, illustrating, and to enforce important truths. Christ, the greatest of all teachers, recognized this, and therefore made constant use of this method of instruction.


Suggestive Use of Parables


How did Christ suggest that His disciples follow His example in teaching gospel truth?


He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings things out of his storeroom new treasures as well as the old.” Verse 52.


Which are some of the most touching and soul winning of Christ’s parables?


The parable of the lost sheep, and that of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:3-7, 11-32.) 


“So wide was Christ’s view of truth, so extended His teaching, that every phase of nature was employed in illustrating truth. The scenes upon which the eye daily rests were all connected with some spiritual truth, so that nature is clothed with the parables of the Master.

“In the earlier part of His ministry, Christ had spoken to the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have grasped truths which would make them wise unto salvation. But in many hearts the truth had taken no root, and it had been quickly caught away. ‘Therefore speak I to them in parables,’ He said; ‘because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand…. For these people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed.’ Matthew 13: 13-15.

“Jesus desired to awaken inquiry. He sought to arose the careless, and impress truth upon the heart. Parable teaching was popular, and commanded respect and attention, not only the Jews, but of the people of other nations. No more effective method of instruction could He have employed. If His hearers had desired a knowledge of divine things, they might have understood His words; for He was always willing to explain them to the honest inquirer.

“Again, Christ had taught truths to present which the people were unprepared to accept, or even to understand. For this reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature. He secured their attention and impressed their hearts. Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated His lessons, they recalled the worlds of the divine Teacher. To the minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance of the Savior’s teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp became evident.

“Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but also appealed to the different hearers. Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of daily life. None who listened to the Savior could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.” – E.G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 20-22.


Light on Parables


Each parable is designed to teach some new and important truth. The first twelve parables given in the following segments are intended to teach the following lessons, respectively: (1) Good and evil in life and judgment. (2) Value of the gospel. (3) Seeking salvation. (4) The visible church of Christ. (5) Truths new and old. (6) Duty of forgiving others. (7) Call at various epochs. (8) Insincerely and repentance. (9) Need of righteousness. (10) Watchful and careful profession. (11) Use of abilities. (12) Final separation of good and bad.


“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

Matthew 13:45,46.       



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