In Luke 4:17-18, Jesus proclaims He is the One anointed by God to “preach good news to the poor,” to
“proclaim freedom for the prisoners,” and “recovery of sight to the blind,” to
proclaim the year of the Lord” (NIV). Then, in what seems to be a contradictory
statement, Jesus, in Mark 4:10-12, tells his disciples that the parables are
meant to conceal the truth from “those outside” in order to prevent them from
understanding and as a result repenting and being forgiven. Does not common
sense suggest that Jesus, like any teacher or preacher, did not teach to
confuse or conceal but to enlighten and reveal?
Does this statement not throw a kink into the armor of Jesus' mission
Jesus interpreted two thirds of his parables; a clear indication that he wanted his disciples and the general crowd to understand the
message he proclaimed. In addition, the “mysteries” contained in the parables
are publicly proclaimed by Jesus in many others ways. The mystery in the
parables of Luke 15—God's love for the lost—can be seen in his ministry to the
Samaritans (Jn 4). Therefore, the reason for Jesus' parables is to supportive
of his mission's description in Luke 4:17-18. Parables are use as another
method of conveying a message and idea.
Jesus, at times, used the parables for the purpose of concealing as well as revealing. It was necessary that Jesus teach in this
manner to guard against the ever illusive superficial interpretation of his
message. (1) The Sadducees and Pharisees saw him as a threat to their agenda.
This was especially true, for Jesus often spoke out against their hypocrisy.
Hence, Jesus hid his message behind layers in parables. To get through the
layers, the listeners would in turn unveil their own hidden sins. Many times,
Jesus' opposition backed down from the challenge of the message for fear of
being exposed. (2) Time and time again, Jesus found in his audience those who
were hostile toward him.
In addition, Pilate would also become quite suspicious of anyone attracting
large crowds and the message of the kingdom could be easily misunderstood as a
plot for an uprise. As a result, Jesus masked his message in parables to avoid
misinterpretation. (3) Another reason why Jesus taught in parables was to
illustrate his message to outsiders. The parable of The Good Samaritan, a
parable of gracious love, contains simple and foundational truths that
outsiders can understand. (4) A final reason for the use of parables comes in
the form of disarming the listeners and piercing hardened hearts. Nathan's
parable caught David's attention, and shockingly brought light to his sins and
God's anger toward them (2 Sam 12:1-4). Jesus in the same way used parables to
disarm his listeners defense, revealing their own misguided righteousness. In
Luke 15, Jesus uses a trilogy of parables to not only reach his companions but
to influence those who were hardened towards his message.
Thank you for reading....please do your worse. Though his doesn't answer all the questions, especially those about the Old Testament, but it's a good starting point for a conversation.