Why Parables?

In Matthew 13 a change is observed in Jesus’ ministry to the predominately unbelieving multitudes in Israel. His disciples noticed it, and asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” We might expect the answer to be, “To help them understand spiritual truth that they might repent, believe, and be saved.” But the crowds of Israelites have become entrenched in unbelief. Because of the mighty works Jesus did in their cities many should have repented long ago (12:20-24). But instead of believing in Jesus as their Messiah, that wicked and adulterous generation branded Him a glutton and drunkard (11:19), accused Him of being in league with the devil (12:24), and even plotted to kill Him (12:14).
Jesus began speaking to the multitudes in parables (cf. vv.34-35), not to reveal truth to them, but to conceal truth from them (13:10-17). There are two reasons why Jesus, using parables, concealed truth about the kingdom of heaven from the multitudes. The first has to do with God’s election. Jesus said in verse 11 that it had not been given them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The second reason has to do with human responsibility. In verse 13, Jesus indicated that He spoke to them in parables because seeing they did not see, and hearing they did not hear. Though they had seen and heard Jesus, they remained willingly in unbelief. In fact, quoting Isaiah 6, Jesus suggests they are responsible for their unbelief. They have allowed their hearts to become dull, their ears to become hard of hearing, and have closed their eyes! So, Jesus’ concealing truth in parables was an act of judgment on those who refused to believe.
How important it is to come to Christ as soon as you hear of the wonderful gift of eternal life which He offers through His death, burial and resurrection. Trust in Him today! As Isaiah urged Israel, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)