The parables of Jesus are recorded in the first three books of the New Testament. There were countless stories that Jesus used to illustrate something He was trying to teach those who came to hear His words. He was a master storyteller, because He has been with humanity from the beginning when the world was first created. His wisdom and knowledge are key to these relatable stories.
His mother, Mary undoubtedly was a storyteller as well – instilling this ability in her Son as He grew from a small child into a young man. I can envision Jesus sitting on her knee as a small boy, listening to the adventures of Joshua, Elijah and Moses. Each of those stories were presented to the young so they would eventually pass them on to their sons and daughters. What a precious gift they were giving to descendants to come.
When Jesus began His ministry, the world was dominated by Roman rule and culture. Foreign gods were everywhere along with differing opinions on the Holy Scriptures which had been repeated for years. Jesus often used parables – or stories which pertained to things most people would understand, but with a heavenly meaning that could be applied. Wherever He traveled, people came to see His miracles, but more importantly to hear His stories. He spoke about farmers, servants, the rich and poor, family situations, opposition to enemies, submitting to the governing bodies, charity, love, peace, wealth, position, marriage, contentment, hope and sin. The message of sin was something they didn’t want to hear. No one likes to be reminded of bad behavior, but it was a necessary message – one that would lead to His promise of salvation. Without knowing the cost of sin, there would’ve been no need for this Savior.
All of His life, Jesus saw the difficulties of everyday living. People lived in squalor. Life was endured day by day, with very little sustenance. He saw the injustices of the governing officials – the changes that occurred in the temple square as merchants sold their wares – the use of ritual becoming more tradition than God’s requirement. He saw the effects of demonic possession, the sins of adultery, lust, theft, murder, betrayal and denial. He was surrounded by every deadly arrow Satan had in his quiver.
All His stories had a meaning, but His own story was the best one of all. He was fulfilling every prophesy written about Him in the Scriptures. He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God and man, the suffering blameless lamb who took the sins of the world to the grave. The final chapter shows us His victory over death when he rose again on the third day. In the end, He won and because of that, we win too.
We are the beneficiaries of these stories that have endured the ages. Every time we open our Bibles, we experience the greatest love story ever told. Now it’s up to us to pay it forward by sharing it with others!