Why Did Jesus Use Parables So Much? – Mark 4:1-20

Reflection from my reading in Mark 4:1-20 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

The Secret of the Kingdom 

“And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables.  And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables” Mark 4:10-11

After telling everyone parables Jesus got alone with is disciples and allowed them a private lesson.  They were allowed to ask questions and get insider information.

Jesus said that he have given them the “secret of the kingdom” and told parables to those outside. Here’s what “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” says about the secret…

“The basic “secret,” common to all the kingdom parables, is that in Jesus, God’s rule (kingdom) has come into human experience in a new spiritual form. The disciples had believed in Jesus. God had already given (dedotai, perf. pass.) them this “secret,” though so far they understood little of its full impact.”

Purpose of Parables

so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.” Mark 4:12

Jesus is not saying that these people don’t have a chance to understand, but since they have keep closing their minds to the truth they will not be given further understanding. Jesus use of parables was genius.  Virtually everyone could follow the earthly story but the spiritual significance was harder to discern.  The Bible Knowledge Commentary says,

“Yet even the parables, which veiled the truth, were meant to provoke thought, enlighten, and ultimately reveal it (cf. 12:12). They uniquely preserved people’s freedom to believe, while demonstrating that such a decision is effected by God’s enabling (cf. 4:11a).”

The parables allowed those who were spiritually aware to respond and at the same time the message was encrypted enough that people had to really think about what was said and seek Christ.

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