Intro to the Parables of Jesus

Intro to Jesus the Teacher

For the next 10 weeks, we’re looking at The Parables of Jesus. Where do we start?

Well, I think we should understand Jesus and His ministry a little first.


John 1:17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

This verse identifies the difference between Moses and Jesus. Moses was a prophet and God gave Him and the Israelites the law. While Grace and truth came through Jesus. The law has no tenderness, no pity, no feeling, while at the opposite end is the Gospel. The object of law is to regulate conduct, while grace is love that bends down to an evildoer. The Gospel is not law, but rather truth. It is a revelation of God to the heart. From which our conduct may then be shaped and molded.


Jesus’s ministry involved Him revealing who He was and what His purpose was! This included the establishment of the Kingdom through Him.


Matthew 7:29

because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Where did He get His authority from?

- From God


How was this different from how Rabbis taught?

- Rabbis tended to use illustrations to help explain scripture


A method of teaching popular during Old Testament days (Hebrew word “Mashal” meaning comparison) was to use a method of teaching similar to Jesus’s use of parables


Read Nathan’s parable told to King David: 2 Samuel 12:1-4


What are Parables?

What are Parables?

- Taken from the Greek word (“paraballo”) meaning para- to place alongside and pallo- to throw. They are an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. They use nature or human circumstances but with a deeper and timeless meaning.


What is the difference between a parable and a fable?

- A fable is a story with characters that often provide a moral message, e.g. the hare and the tortoise.


Other similar methods:

  • A metaphor is usually a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something;

e.g. His words cut deeper than a knife.

  • A simile is similar and is a comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind;

e.g. You were as brave as a lion.

  • An allegory is again similar and is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one;

e.g. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is a religious allegory. In it, we find that Aslan the lion represents Christ or God, the White Witch represents evil, and Edmund represents Judas as the betrayer.



Why did Jesus use parables?


Matthew 13:1-13

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

1. Hide the meaning from those who haven’t accepted Jesus

2. Therefore, to reveal to those that do believe


3. Exception was the Pharisees – they understood, but didn’t believe (Luke 20:19)

The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

4. Also, to make us think, rather than be spoon feed.



Mainly found in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).


What were the parables about?

- The spiritual Kingdom that the Messiah came to establish.


How do we interpret parables?

- Must always consider the context of the parable. Who is the audience and was there a question that triggered the parable response from Jesus.



There are two extremes that must be avoided

  • Spiritual detail in everything (Allegory interpretation)

  • Always only one central truth


Parables about Stewardship

  • Matthew 25:14-30

  • Luke 12:42-48

  • Luke 16:1-13

  • Luke 17:7-10

  • Luke 19:11-27


Can we think of an example in the Old Testament steward?

- Example of an Old Testament steward is Joseph during his time as the manager of Potiphar’s household in Egypt.


Using the parable of the 3 servants (Matthew 25:14-30)


Who is Jesus speaking to?

- The Disciples


Who is the man traveling?

- Jesus


What is the difference between the first and second servants and the third one?

- First and second invested what they had been given and proportionally multiplied. The third servant buried what he had been given. Did not use and wasted it


What’s the central message?

- To make the most out of what we have been given to manage


How does stewardship work with salvation?




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