Parables – traditionally - “earthly stories with a heavenly meaning”
All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world."
A parable is a story or illustration with familiar or common elements designed to drive home a spiritual lesson.
Most Parables reveal truth to believers, for non-believers parables are a complete mystery.
Another important thing to know about parables is that they are all designed to call for a personal response. They are controversial statements about the spiritual nature of Jesus’ kingdom both earthly and heavenly, designed to motivate or to offend. The parables were designed to be self-evident, and they would serve to reveal what a person really thought about Jesus and His kingdom.
Jesus gives us four reasons why He speaks this way:
1. To highlight the mystery of the kingdom
2. To exalt the sovereignty of God
3. To expose hardness of heart
4. To marvel at the beauty of God’s grace
Another possible reason was to not give His enemies any ground. The enemies of Jesus were always waiting for Him to say something they could use against Him. By speaking in parables, Jesus was making it very hard for them. He could hardly be arrested for telling homely stories!