Jesus Speaks in Parables

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

In Matthew 13, Jesus comes again to preach to the crowds that are gathering to hear him. He begins to preach in parables and the disciples ask him why.

In popular understanding, the parables are often pointed to as simple stories, easily understood, that make the truth of God's kingdom clearly known to the people of the time. The sentiment is "Oh, Jesus spoke to crowds of simple people and used simple illustrations to make sure they understood." However, this picture runs counter to the words of Jesus himself explaining why he taught that way.

Jesus tells His followers that there is a rift between them and the world. His stories, the parables, span that chasm, not to pull inward and close the gap that many will cross from ignorance to knowledge, but to press outward, tearing open a division between the world and the kingdom.

Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah, the commissioning of the prophet and the message he was to bring, "Make the heart of this people dull, their ears heavy, their eyes dull." God is a loving God, yes, and one who offers restoration, yes, but also a God revealed in the ignorance of a rebellious people and their punishment. Isaiah and Jesus had greater purposes than turning a handful of people to know God at the time. They preached a truth that was hard to accept, that even turned many away, so that God would be revealed.

As we read the parables today, looking for meaning and trying to see the kingdom, are your eyes open or closed to the good news? Which side of the gap are you on? 

O Holy God, reveal yourself to me I pray. Amen