n Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus exhorts
Every one then who hears those words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand, and the rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.
The "Rock Foundation" is one of the first parables taught by the Lord Jesus Christ. Parables in Sacred Scripture are stories by Jesus Christ, which illustrate Truth. A parable is a spoken or literary comparison between two things for illustration. Parables reveal the heavenly mysteries through the words of Christ. Every parable of Jesus Christ illustrates one principal truth.
The word parable comes from the Greek parabole, which from the etymological point of view means putting things side by side, to confront or compare them. In order to understand any particular parable we first have to decipher the true meaning in the ordinary sense of the story of what the parable tells us. Parables are special teaching methods of Jesus Christ. In the days of Jesus Christ, parables were used by Jewish writers to make difficult and profound truths truly easy to comprehend.
In the Old Testament book of Psalms, there is Biblical verification that the Lord Jesus Christ would speak in parables. Psalm 78:1-2 The Psalmist gives us a great prophetic vision that Jesus Christ would speak in parables. Scripture states
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter hidden things from old.
Parables can be found in the Old Testament to benefit the faithful and pronounce judgment against the unbeliever. See Judges 9:7-15, Jotham's parable on top of Mount Gerizim to the men of Shechem. See 2 Samuel 12:1-12, Nathan the prophet to King David regarding David's sin of adultery and murder. See Isaiah 6:9-12, where God's words are evident to faithless Israel. Jesus Christ, the Saving Lord, the Redeemer of mankind gives reason to speak in parables. In Matthew 13:10-15, Scripture states
The disciples came to him and asked "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" Jesus replied, "The knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have in abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.' In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever seeing, but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become callused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"
In Matthew 13:16-17, Jesus exhorts
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and blessed are your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and hear what you hear but did not hear it.
The readers of the parables of Christ, when they truly search the meaning of the parable bring a fresh capacity to see and learn of the inexhaustible riches and glory of the mystery of God's Kingdom within them.
Many of the parables of Jesus Christ are drawn from everyday life. The thirteenth chapter of Matthew is called the parabolic discourse. This chapter contains seven of Christ's parables, often called the Kingdom parables. The fifteenth chapter of Luke contains the mercy parables. In Matthew 18:10-14 and Luke 15:3-7, the parables are about the lost sheep. Here, Jesus uses shepherding to illustrate a Truth. John 10:1-18 Jesus exhorts
We must enter into his saving presence to be saved, and he goes on to say that he is the gate for the sheep and through his word, the sheep know his voice.
He tells us in John 10:16 there will be one flock and one shepherd. Jesus exhorts
I am the good Shepherd…
Jesus truly knows his flock. Jesus uses shepherding to illustrate a Truth. The parable of the vineyard, Mark 12:1-12, Jesus uses farming to illustrate truth. This parable is a great summation of the history of salvation. This is drawn off the great Old Testament prophet Isaiah, in his great prophetic work in Isaiah 5:1-9 the ingratitude of God's chosen people, the rejection of the magnificent blessings of a loving God by the nation of Israel. In the parable of the Vineyard, the Lord Jesus Christ predicts his death. Again the prophetic words of the Psalmist are mentioned in this parable. Mark 12:10 and Psalm 118:22 states
The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Look at the parable of the sower in the synoptic gospels, Matthew 13:1-22, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15. Truth is illustrated. This illustrated truth is one must persevere in his faith and live in faithfulness to reach the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the eighth chapter of Luke's gospel starting with verse five, let us look at what the Scriptures really states:
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. When he said this, he called out, He who has ears to hear let him hear. His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, The knowledge of the secrets of Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, though seeing they may see; though hearing, they may not understand. This is the meaning of the parable; the seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it but have no root.
They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, through the temptation of the devil they fall away. The seed that fell among the thorns are those who hear the Word, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares, which are the riches and pleasures of life. The good soil stands for those who hold fast, those who persevere in their faith and hold fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit. In Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, and Mark 13:13, Jesus exhorts
Those who endure, those who persevere to the end, will be saved.
In James 1:12, Sacred Scripture states
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Revelation 2:10 states
You shall have tribulation, "Be faithful unto death."
The parables of Our Lord Jesus Christ owe their special character to the image or smile because by means of it they are elevated above the ordinary discourse. The figurative illustration of a truth of religion can be accomplished in different ways. The Lord used different images such as the Mustard Seed… The Sower… The Fig Tree… The Vineyard… The Net… The Good Samaritan… The Prodigal Son… etc. The Kingdom of Heaven forms the real center points in the teaching of Jesus Christ in the parables. Let us look at "Mercy Parables" in the gospel of Luke chapter fifteen. These parables show the infinite fatherly mercy, love and compassion of the living God. Luke 15:1-7 and Luke 15:8-10 the parable of the lost sheep, and the parable of the lost coin, show parallelism in their teaching. Jesus teaches the mercy of God that through a repentant heart no one is excluded from the mercy, love and compassion of God. Scripture confirms this in 1 Timothy 2:4:
God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth.
God does not hate the sinner, he hates the sin! The mercy of God can be seen in the parable of the prodigal son. Luke 15:11-32 show the predicament of the prodigal son, that through sin, one separates himself from God because of worldly desires. The hunger can designate the anxiety and emptiness of anyone who is separated from God. The mercy of God is shown in this parable, the recognition of Father's love through the son's repentant and contrite heart. We must have a desire to change and transform our lives into a Christ-like life.
In Romans 12:2, St. Paul states
Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you will be able to test and approve what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Let us respond to the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ! Let us pray that the Holy Spirit illuminates our mind and soul in Christ Jesus. Let us not receive the grace of God in vain.
Let us never forget that our sufficiency is from God and all of God's promises in his magnificent Word are in Christ Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, St. Paul exhorts
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is from God who has qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant.
In 2 Corinthians 1:20, St. Paul gives magnificent evidence that all of God's promises find their "yes" in Christ. This is why we utter the Amen through Him to the glory of God. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, St. Paul states
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has promised to those who love him.
May God Richly Bless You! Amen! Hallelujah!!
Charles 'Friar Buck' Hatchko
August 1, 2004
Originally published in the Area Bargain Buyer