The Mystery of Parables


Had an idea for this topic during a discussion with StudentoftheWord in this thread.

The question I present is, were parables during the time of Jesus intended only for the ears of the disciples, being the secrets of the Kingdom?


Since I did reply to SofW, I’d like to present part of my response here from the other thread for your consideration.


Well Matthew 13 gives us this reason…


‘Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.’

Which begs the question, why did He speak parables to them at all?


I don’t know - that passage certainly looks a bit ‘gnostic’ on the surface reading. However, as it’s not the generally accepted ‘first’ gospel (which I believe is Mark) maybe there is some later ‘theology’ going on in it. It would be interesting to see how many of the gospels have a version of this passage.


Everything Jesus did, was to fulfill prophesy concerning Who He is and that what He said will and was coming to pass.

Luke 24:44
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Matthew 13:13-15
This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:” 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.

Matthew 23:37-39
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Jeremiah 22:5
“But if you will not obey these words, I swear by Myself,” declares the LORD, “that this house will become a desolation.”’

1 Kings 9:6-9
"But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.’ "

Mark 13:1-2
As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Zechariah 7:8-14
And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’

"But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.

" ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’ "

Luke 19:41
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and )they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

etc. etc. etc. etc.

There is no begging the question.

The answer is, if he didn’t speak to them, then they would not have opportunity to listen or not to listen, and if they had no opportunity to listen or not to listen, then He was a false prophet and not the Messiah since prophesy could not be fulfilled through him.

Just because people hear the words of Jesus, didn’t mean they were listening and just because it appeared they were listening does not mean they understood. However, since what He said was fulfilling prophesy they needed this opportunity for the prophets words to come to pass.

The parables were warnings of the impending doom which was coming, which later came in 70AD fulfilling certain portions of prophesy and as an example of things to come for those who do as they do.

Once we understand who Jesus was, why He came, and what His purpose was, the less and less these questions of confusion come up because they will make complete sense. The purpose was to fulfill Scripture prophesy revealing to us who the Messiah was and to mark the age they were entering.