Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?
The Purpose of Parables
Jesus often used parables as a way to teach heavenly concepts by earthly examples. He was the Master Teacher of such things. His disciples once asked Him why He spoke to them in parables (Matt 13:10), and Jesus said that the mystery of the kingdom has been given to them and to all who believe, but to those who don’t believe, it has been hidden (Matt 13:11). They see, but they don’t perceive; they hear, but they aren’t really listening (Matt 13:13). The secrets of the kingdom that have long been hidden have finally been revealed by Christ. To the self-righteous, they are so blinded by their own pride that they cannot see. But those who are humbled, their eyes have been opened, but it is God Who opens the eyes and not we ourselves. Sometimes the Pharisees or the religious leaders did understand what the parables meant, particularly when they were directed at them, and when they understood the parables that were directed at them, they became furious and sought to have Jesus arrested (Matt 21:45-46).
Blessed to Understand
We can’t be too judgmental on the religious leaders of the day because unless God had opened our eyes and unstopped our ears, we couldn’t hear the truth in these parables either. We are no better than they. It was only by God’s good pleasure and His sovereign will that we understand what they didn’t and what others today don’t, whose hearts are hardened, which is why Jesus is a stumbling block to many (Rom 9:32-33). The Potter has power over the clay. God has every right to have mercy upon whom He wills to have mercy and the right to harden whom He will harden (Rom 9:17-18).
The Potter’s Decision
Our church’s associate pastor once asked me how I would explain how God can choose some and not others. What example could he give to those who ask him this hard question? I directed him to Romans chapter nine. If he would read this, he would see that God is free to choose whomever He desires to choose, just as a potter can pick and choose what to save and what to throw away (Rom 9:22-23). Just because we don’t understand as to why doesn’t mean that it’s not true. I told him that if we were playing a game of chess, I could choose to quit the game anytime I wanted and to put the pieces back in the box. I owned the chess set, and I could do whatever I wanted to with it. I could throw the kings out and play with only the pawns because they were mine to do with whatever I wanted. I asked him, “Who could tell me what to do with my own chessboard and pieces?” He said, “No one.” I said, “Exactly!”
A Closing Prayer
Great God in heaven, thank You for revealing Your truth in Jesus’ teachings of the parables, for without Your Spirit, I could never understand what Jesus was saying. I realize, except by your choice and Your mercy, my own heart would be hardened. I cannot boast that I understand, and no one else does, because You will have mercy upon whom You will it for. In Jesus’ name I thank You that You had mercy on me.
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