Why Parables?

He said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”

Mark 4:21-25

This parable comes in two parts. The first part, the part about the lamp, is a continued explanation of why Jesus speaks in parables. More specifically, why He speaks so much about the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus’s words, the Word of God, are represented by the lamp. Jesus is basically saying, “I will hid nothing from you. I will keep nothing secret from you.” Jesus wants us to learn about and understand as much as possible about the Kingdom of God. He will tell us everything, even the things we might rather not have to think about.

The second part, the part about paying close attention, is an explanation of why He speaks in parables as opposed to just telling us outright. Because wouldn’t it be easier if He just said what He meant? Well, of course! But the pat to Heaven isn’t easy. Jesus says, “The more you give the more you get.” If we want to really and truly understand the gospel, we must put some effort into it! Jesus speaks in parables so that we have to work hard to understand. If He just spoke in plain, easy to understand language, we would give little or no effort to understanding. And because we gave so little, we would get very little out of it. And then the Devil would come and take away what little understanding we did have, just like the birds flew off with the seed sown on rocky ground. (Mark 4:1-20) But because we put effort in to understanding our understanding becomes deep, like nice, strong roots, and eventually we are given the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This is why it is so important to not just read the “easy” parts of the Bible. We have to tackle the difficult stuff too. Like verse 25. I had always been told, “It can be really hard to hear, that those with nothing will loose what they have.” But when I sat down and actually tried to understand it, in context with the parable of the sower, Jesus was clearly saying, “Those with little understanding will loose all understanding.” And that makes perfect sense! It’s exactly what Jesus said in the parable of the sower, just rephrased. But I never understood that until now, after trying to decipher this rather complicated parable. As Christians we cannot just read the comfortable parts of the Bible, we have to challenge ourselves and our faith. That’s the only way we grow.

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One Response to Why Parables?

  1. Pingback: Women of Faith | Understanding the New Testament

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