Posted by / Saturday 25 March 2017 / No comments

Why did Jesus preach in parables?

The word “Parable” can be traced to two Greek words – “Para” and “Ballo” which means “By the side of “and “I put” respectively. A parable therefore means putting two things side by side as a way of comparison. The equivalent word in Hebrew is “Marshall” meaning a riddle or proverb. In his ministry on earth, Jesus used parables a lot of times.

His hearers were conversant with it
One of the reasons why Jesus used parables in his teachings was that it was an old practice that was being used by the Rabbis before him. The using of parables to teach was a practice that was common in the East that was adopted by rabbis before Jesus so he used it because the people were already used to that mode of instruction.

Easier for hearers to remember
Another reason why Jesus used parables was that with the story element, using familiar daily life experiences, the people he spoke to were able to remember the concept he taught with the parable more easily than if he had used a different method.

Easier to address people of varying faith
The people Jesus addressed at various times in his ministry were people of different levels of faith and intelligence. They also had varying levels of willingness to listen to him. Using parables to teach helped the crowd so that depending on how the message sinks into one’s intellect, one can grasp the concept that Jesus was trying to relay.

To rebuke the powerful
In the society in which Jesus operated, there were rich and powerful people such as the Religious Leaders of the Jews. Jesus must have felt it was not expedient to rebuke such people openly without attracting a confrontation with them. He needed to find a subtle way to accomplish the same goal, hence the use of parables.

Drive home religious truths
Jesus also used parables to teach people because it helped to drive home some religious truths in his teachings. A clear example was when he taught on the subject of good neighbourliness. He used the story of the Good Samaritan to vividly illustrate the concept. It was, therefore, easy for the religious to sink, rather than if he had used an ordinary sermon.

To illustrate his Messiahship
The Jews had been expectant of a Messiah who would come to deliver them from the hands of the Roman authorities and establish a Jewish Kingdom. Jesus came as a different kind of Messiah. To directly claim his Messiahship, Jesus could have caused some form of riots that may lead to violence. This may be the reason why he used parables to illustrate the fact of his Messiahship.

1. a. What is a parable?
    b. Highlight five reasons why Jesus taught in parables.

2. Advance six reasons why Jesus taught in parables.

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