What are Parables?
A parable is a simple succinct story about familiar subjects (everyday things) to teach an important moral or spiritual lesson. Its root meaning is placing side by side for the sake of comparison. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the master of teaching in parables. The parables of Jesus Christ had an unexpected twist or surprise ending that caught the listener’s attention. It led to spiritual awakening, new attitudes, and an understanding of God’s character.
One of the most fascinating parables of Jesus Christ is the one He taught in the Book of Matthew (13:24-30, 36-43) known as the parable of the tares. It tells us that God sows good seed (believers) in His field (the world). However, an enemy (the evil one) sows the tares (unbelievers) among the wheat. In the end, God will send His angels to separate the believers from the unbelievers when the time comes for harvest (judgment). The faithful ones will share His goodness and grace, while the sons of the wicked ones will suffer punishment.
Tares are weeds that resemble wheat. Also known as the darnel (Lolium temulentum) seed, it grows among the grain, especially wheat, and it looks almost like wheat in the early stages of its growth. Since the grains resemble wheat, it is difficult to separate them by sifting. But after they grow a little more, it becomes evident that it is a weed. Darnel flour is poisonous and gives a bitter taste to the bread. Darnel seeds when consumed can make people dizzy, nauseous, and off-balance.
The parable teaches four key lessons. First, God has a plan He works out over time (be patient). Second, there is an enemy at work in the world (be alert). Third, God alone is the judge of all people (be humble). Fourth, we are called to partner with God’s purpose (be fruitful).
Parables of Jesus Christ – An Overview
Why did Jesus teach in parables? The Parables of Jesus Christ were used for illustrating profound, divine truths. These stories were easily remembered, the characters were captivating, and the symbolism rich in meaning. When His disciples asked Him, why does He speak to them in parables? He answered:
“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” . . . . And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:11,14,15).
People were unwilling to receive Jesus’ message and that was the reason He spoke to them in parables. They heard the truths but since they rejected His teachings they were unable to comprehend them. They were spiritually blind as they did not want to hear God’s message to them from the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. He explained the parables to His disciples since they believed Him and their hearts sought after His heavenly kingdom. They understood the mysteries of God’s kingdom not because of their superior intellect or diligent study but because God chose to grant them to know these mysteries.
We should be grateful to God since He through His divine grace has revealed the glorious revelation of Himself to us. The Parables of Jesus Christ are simple illustrations that hid a spiritual reality. We have been able to understand the profound truths that have been hidden in the parables from the wise and learned. To God alone be the glory!
Read our awe-inspiring collection of Parables of Jesus Christ with lessons that can be applied to our daily lives.