The Reason for Parables

Posted by Karah


Turn off your electronic devices and find a quiet place. Ask God to use the Scripture from this week to give you a better understanding of His kingdom.

Think about your favorite story—whether it’s a family story, novel, or the plot of a movie. Jesus often told stories as He was teaching, using imagery to point to greater truths. To discover more about why Jesus told parables, read Matthew 13:10-17 in your Bible. Focus on verses 16-17.

“For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand.”—Matthew 13:13

Dig deeper with these questions:

-Jesus told the disciples that they were currently seeing things the prophets had longed to see. What did He mean? Explain in your own words.

-Underline Jesus’ explanation of why He told parables. Is it confusing? Why or why not?

In simple terms, Jesus told parables to divide the crowd. He wasn’t trying to prevent people from understanding His teaching with difficult, mysterious stories. Those who acknowledged Him as Messiah would hear His teaching and understand, applying it to their lives. Those who refused to recognize Him as the Messiah would also refuse to accept His teaching, even going so far as to consciously choose not to believe.

Why is it dangerous to hear and understand God’s truth, then choose not to believe it? Explain.


Meditate on Matthew 13:10-17 and the difference between people who listen and understand and those who understand and refuse to let God’s truth change their lives. Which category describes you? Why?

If the Holy Spirit reveals a hard heart toward God’s truth, admit this to God. Ask Him to soften your heart to His truth so that you may live accordingly.

Part of being a follower of Christ is knowing His teachings and applying them to your life. In your journal or in the comments below, write two ways you will become a better listener to God’s Word.

Behind the Story

When discussing why He used parables, Jesus used the imagery of hearing and seeing (v. 13) to describe the condition of the skeptics’ hearts. They would physically look, but not “see,” meaning understand or believe. They would hear Jesus’ teaching, but not listen or understand, a figurative reference to their rejection of the truth and their willful disbelief.

Parable (n.) = An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

The Point

Followers of Jesus accept His teaching and apply it to their lives. Those who hear Jesus’ teaching and reject Him will face judgment.

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