Everyone loves to hear a story, don’t they? In fact, a well told story captures the attention of people of all ages and stages. Throughout the centuries, stories have been a means of communicating information, of passing on traditions and cultural values, and to simply entertain others through both factual and imaginative ideas. Stories can turn into books which both fascinate and entertain the reader or they can be only a few sentences in length, but long enough to inspire or persuade someone to change his or her mind or to take action. Stories are often told in order to help people solve problems or to gain insight into human nature and the realities of life itself.
Jesus was a master storyteller. His stories were very often parables, which are defined as “simple stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson or principle.” It was a teaching method that was familiar to the culture of His time. A parable uses people and common scenes from everyday life to teach new truths. It differs from an allegory in which animals, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature are used to illustrate a concept or idea. Usually the content of a parable itself is easily understood while the comparative meaning may or may not be obvious. Very often Jesus used parables when He was with His disciples as well as with the great crowds. He was anxious to explain to them “the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven”, the Kingdom that He not only represented but brought to them through His presence. When the disciples questioned His purpose in telling these stories, He explained that for those who believed, the message would be revealed but to those who did not, the message would remain obscure.
Where do you think you would have wanted to sit if you had been in the crowd listening to Jesus? How would you have responded?