Jesus often taught using parables. This simply means he would use examples to paint a picture of the topic at hand. When the disciples asked Jesus why he taught using parables, He told them it was because He only wanted His true followers to fully comprehend some aspects of His teaching.
“He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” Matthew 13:11 (NIV)
Jesus used parables so that the complexity of His message could only be understood by true believers. To help the disciples understand more completely, Jesus told them what is known as the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9) and then offered a clear interpretation. This parable told the story of a farmer who planted seeds that each fell in different types of soil and yielded different results. When Jesus later interpreted this parable (Matthew 13:18-23), he explained that the seed in the parable represented the Word of God and the different soils represented the different circumstances in which people are exposed to the Word of God. Some hearers will not understand, some will soon forget, some will allow their life to overpower their understanding, and finally the person who listens carefully and understands the Word will greatly prosper.
There used to be a popular test distributed in high school classrooms that was intended to gauge how carefully students were studying the material placed in front of them. The instructions at the top of the test told the students to read all questions before beginning. Those diligent students who read all the questions before writing any answers would discover that the last question instructed them to only write their name on the test and turn it in without answering any of the other often ridiculous questions. Those students who were not careful readers would spend the entire class trying to answer a list of questions that were totally useless.
Jesus is not interested in followers who take short cuts or are so distracted with other endeavors of life they are not fully devoted to His teaching. Jesus wants the good students who carefully follow the instructions. Jesus wants your full attention and for that reason He teaches in such a way as to leave those less attentive unprepared. We have been greatly blessed with access to the Word of God in many forms. It is our responsibility to take advantage of this knowledge. God is not going to spoon-feed this information to us. He wants us to demonstrate our sincerity by actively pursuing a comprehensive study of His Word.
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