We may see ourselves in parables, but greater thoughts help us to know who God is! We also learn more about His goodness and mercy. These stories can become mirrors in which self-recognition may become self-understanding. The heart and mind of God reveal who we are and help us to know more about Him. Read the parables in the Gospels of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Can encouragement come to us as we read parables? We soon learn that these life examples are not new. In them we meet ourselves with God’s assistance. Sometimes the Lord used parables as veils to hide certain truths when responses to Him indicated that they were under divine judgments. Review Matthew 13 as Jesus clearly explains Himself in verses 10-13. Here the disciples asked Jesus why did He speak in parables. A partial quote tells us in verse 13: “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Jesus explains how the prophet Isaiah fulfilled the same teaching in Matthew 13:14-17. As we read and learn, we become aware of exposures of conditions in our world that may also offer divine remedies with words of encouragement for our spiritual growth.
With natural ability to understand these stories we need extensive imaginations to feel that we are living in first century times and that we are sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to these real life examples as they are given orally! Can familiarity breed complacency? Do we tend to think that we know the answers to many of life’s problems?
We may think we know these parables, but we may always read them carefully. So, now, as we pretend to sit again at the feet of Jesus to listen to His wonderful words of life, we must try to listen as though we are doing it for the first time! Again, using flashback thoughts, we must leave our twenty-first century western world of technology and think of first-century Palestine, the Jewish villages and feel the dust of the Galilean roads. Undoubtedly as we enter that world, these stories will come alive in our hearts and minds like emerging fresh air!
Parables have never been isolated stories. They were told to answer a question or to address a particular situation. We also need background information to completely understand what was being taught. Isaiah 6:9-10 give us confidence in Matthew 13 because the fulfillment is repeated information that can be easily understood.
May we obtain grace from God with much passion for His glory and also His love which endures forever!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.