By The Rev. Ron Purkey
Read: Matthew 13:1-35
“All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable.” (Matthew 13:34)
A parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” Jesus began to teach using parables. Prior to this point in his ministry he taught openly for all to hear, but most of the people didn’t want to hear the truth. (Not so much different from today.)
What had happened is that the Hebrews, for the most part, had rejected him and his message. They had said that he did miracles by the power of Satan, not by the power of God (Notice: Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22).
Jesus then started teaching in parables and explained the meaning of the parables to his disciples at a later time. Jesus certainly had a purpose in using parables; let’s look at his reason for parables.
First, The Human Reason (Matthew 13:10-17). The condition of the people’s hearts made it necessary for Christ to use parables. (A parable is a story in which something familiar explains something unfamiliar.) Christ quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 to explain why he was using parables: the hearts, ears, and eyes of the people had become dull, hard, and blind.
By using parables, he was exciting the curiosity of the concerned, those who really wanted to know the truth. But he was also hiding the truth from the rebellious; he would not cast these pearls of truth before swine (Matthew 7:6).
The parables did not keep people from learning the truth; rather, the parables excited their interest and encouraged them to learn. This is a fulfillment of Matthew 11:25 — the proud will not see, but the babes will learn the truth and be saved.
Second, The Divine Reason (Matthew 13:34-35). Christ fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 78:2. The truths given in Matthew 13 had been kept secret from the foundation of the world; they were a “mystery” hidden from people, but now revealed. For this reason, do not look for these truths in the Old Testament. A “mystery” in the Bible is a truth hidden in ages past, but now revealed by God through his servants. It is not to be found in the Old Testament, except in type or symbol (see Ephesians 3).
Notice that the parable of the leaven (see Matthew 13:33) is the key parable of this chapter. We must realize the importance of it. First of all, the Gospel of Matthew is the key book of the Bible. Secondly, chapter 13 is the key chapter of Matthew. And thirdly, verse 33 is the key verse of chapter 13. So actually, what we have here is one of the key verses of the Bible!
As you read this chapter, ask God to help you to understand what you read. If you really want to know what the Bible says, the Lord is ready to help you. The Bible is something that everyone should read and understand.
Read Ron Purkey’s Bible study outlines free at rcpbibleoutlines.com. Purkey has been an ordained Baptist minister for 50 years.