Modern Parables

Jesus was famous for telling “parables” – earthly stories with heavenly meanings. The lessons were drawn from everyday life: the parables of the soils, lamps, wheat fields, pearls, and many more familiar objects.

Here is an excellent exercise in learning to learn from the world around us. Randomly select an everyday object and then think of a way the item illustrates a biblical truth. For example, you might notice a pair of scissors. What can this simple, ordinary thing teach us about the Christian life?

  • You never hear about a single “siz.” They come in pairs.
  • To work, both halves must work together.
  • No matter how sharp they are, they can’t work by themselves. Someone must pick them up and power them through the project.
  • And many more.

The Nature of Parables

A parable simply represents a method illustration, “The kingdom of heaven is illustrated by the following situation.” Marcus Dodds defines a parable:

“At its simplest [a parable] is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to rouse it into active thought.”

That brings us to the question, “Why did Jesus tell parables?” Parables are a way of teaching the responsive disciple (Luke 8:8) because they arouse immediate interest and may cause the disciple to ponder and work out the answer. But parables are also a way of hiding the truth from the unresponsive. Remember, some people were seeking to find fault with Jesus. They also serve to harden the heart of the rebellious. Finally, parables are an excellent method of having a person judge themselves. Do you remember the story of King David and the prophet Nathan? (2 Samuel 12:1-4)

Alright! Get busy. What do these paper towels teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven? I’d love to hear from you!

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