The parables of Jesus are not just stories we read. They are stories that read us. They unmask us to see ourselves in the mirror of the characters portrayed.
Jesus the master story-teller is able to disarm us with parables. We let our guard down, we enter in, we feel the emotions, we make value judgements on the story and then bam! … the truth reads us! That’s you and me in the parable! Pharisees, tax collectors, leaders, disciples, sinners, the lost, the found, the wise, the foolish, the ready, the unprepared!
But the parables don’t just read us, they read us in the light of Kingdom realities. They make the unfamiliar realities of God’s Kingdom plain to us, using everyday realities like: coins, seeds, soil, trees, barns, rocks, fields, pearls, animals, lamps, food, feasting, sons, workers, judges, etc.
But the parables don’t just illuminate truth, they also conceal truth. Jesus said in Matthew 13:13: “This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’” There is mystery to the parables. There is truth to be mined beneath the surface like treasure hidden in a field. The parables read our inability to respond to truth. Everyone has ears, but not everyone hears their meaning. Those who hear and respond are revealed to be his disciples, but those who don’t remain in darkness.
Won’t you pray that Jesus would open your eyes to the truth of who you are in the light of these stories? Won’t you pray that you will be astounded by the divinity & humanity of the God-man who is able to package eternal truth in word-pictures that even a child can understand?
May we be like those first hearers of parables of whom it was said: “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority.” (Matthew 7:28-29)