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The Parables of Grace: Why Jesus Taught in Parables

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., June 16, 2019
Part of the The Parables of Jesus series.

As you read these words today our family vacation is coming to an end, and we eagerly look forward to being with you this coming Lord’s Day!

I want to express my deepest appreciation for Rev. Jim Daughtry who preached in my absence. Jim’s messages were rich and powerfully encouraging, and we are all so very thankful for his gifts and his faithfulness in delivering God’s Word to us. I can’t possibly communicate to you how reassuring it is to know that when I am away the Word of God will be preached so wonderfully! Thank you dear brother!!

And thank you for your prayers for us while we were away. We feel very refreshed and rested, and we know our Father has blessed us though your kind and faithful prayers.

This Sunday, we begin our Summer Preaching Series on ‘The Parables of Jesus.’ Just about everyone knows that our Lord Jesus loved to tell stories. He has been called the “master story-teller.” The stories that Jesus told are known as “parables” in the Bible. The New Testament records at least 24 major parables, and a couple of dozen shorter ones as well.

The major parables are discovered in three of the four Gospels (the ‘Synoptic Gospels,’ or Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so called due to their similarity), but are concentrated largely in Matthew and Luke. It has been estimated that about one-third of the teaching of Jesus comes to us in the form of parables. So this demonstrates how critical it is that we study them carefully.

And when it comes to the parables of our Lord, we all have our favorite ones. For example, ‘The Pearl of Great Price,’ ‘The Lost Sheep,’ ‘The Prodigal Son,’ ‘The Rich Man and Lazarus,’ or ‘The Good Samaritan,’ just to name a few.

Over the summer months we are going to make a study of several of these larger (and more familiar) parables. However, we will begin our investigation not with a parable per se, but with our Lord’s own explanation as to why He taught this way.

Our text for Sunday’s message will come from Matthew 13:10-17. And as you review this passage, you’ll also want to consider the parallel accounts found in Mark 4:10-12 and Luke 8:9-10.


Matthew 13:10-17

10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (KJV)