Parables (Purpose of)

(Read) Matt. 13:10-15.  The disciples ask Him why He is speaking to the crowds in parables (remember the audience relevance of the time and people when all of this is taking place – most are all OC Israel).  Jesus clearly tells us an amazing thing – that He deliberately speaks to them (these OC Israel crowds) so that they will not understand and accept Him as their Messiah & then turn to Him, or He would have to heal/forgive them their sins (See parallel in Mark 4:10-12 and how it says Jesus never spoke to the OC crowds except by parables in vs. 34)  

  • Have you not ever asked yourself why Jesus Christ did not plainly and repeated show Himself to the world as the Messiah? 
  • If His purpose here on earth was to clearly reveal who He was to all, then why when asked plain and straightforward questions did He often not provide a clear answer to many of the questions? 
  • We all have come to some conclusions ourselves on why we thought this was so, but have we ensured to have taken all of the Scripture into consideration? 
  • His disciples asked Him this very thing in verse 10 that we just read.  We need to carefully examine the entire context when Jesus is speaking something, to understand to whom the audience is when He is speaking, recall to mind the OC that He and His audience were living in, and the whole scope of His “coming” into the world.

** For us to get a fuller understanding of this “two-fold ministry of the Messiah” (to bring judgment on and purge Old Covenant Israel for her constant covenant breaking and worshipping of foreign gods, and to also go to the cross and bring the message of the gospel opening salvation to the entire world) we need to go back to where he is quoting from:

Isa. 6:8-11, “And I heard the voice of the Lord… Go, and say to this people… Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes… Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”  And he said: Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,”

  • In the first century time, Jesus was telling His disciples that the fulfilling of this prophecy was happening then, and was going to be brought to completion before them.  The “how long” was about to come to an end.

Keep in mind the contrast in answers we have from the above reason for Jesus speaking in “parables” to the OC Israel crowds in His audience, and how the Lord answers the disciples of John:

  • When John the Baptist had the same questions about if Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus gives a plain answer showing how He is the fulfillment of the OT prophesies (read) Matt. 11:2-6, “…and Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.  And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
  • Also, look how clearly the Lord spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well, and the people of her city in John 4:39-43.

** Again, when the NT is quoting from the OT it is strongly encouraged that you go back to where the passage was first spoken to gather any information on the audience, time, culture and fuller context:

  • Isa. 35:5-6, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing.”
  • Isa. 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.”

** Do we see the two-fold purpose of the Messiah in Isa 61:2 – while to one group of people He was to provide salvation, to another group at the same time, He was to be bringing vengeance/judgment (Same as we have also seen in Deut. 32:20-21; 43; Matt. 21:33-45; Isa. 65:15; Acts 13:45-46; Rom. 10:19-21; Heb. 8:6-9:11 and elsewhere).


Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 6 Old Covenant Hebrews in the New Testament Times”]

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 15 Lesson 3 Matthew 13 Parable of the Tares”]