The Purpose of the Parables

Matthew discusses many times the parables Jesus uses to preach to his followers. The parables are often metaphors of daily life which are intended to inspire a spiritual revelation in the listener. At one point in time, the disciples ask Jesus why he teaches in parables. I had found myself asking the very same question. If the intent is to teach others your beliefs, and encourage them to agree with you, why would you not teach in the most simple way? Jesus’ response was baffling to me.

In the early parts of Matthew I was refreshed by the relaxed, accepting, and loving attitude. Especially compared to the hostile nature I have seen in the God of the Old Testament, so far. The first time I was struck by this was in The Beatitudes. In this verse Jesus blesses all of the people.

He blesses the poor in spirit. He blesses those who mourn, and the meek. He blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. He blesses the merciful, and the pure in heart. He blesses the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted. He blesses each of us when we are reviled, persecuted, or have evil spoken of us.

I was so moved by this accepting nature. By the more free and loving spirit of The Son of Man. He seemed to be someone who did not care where you came from, but hoped he could help all those in need. So, you can imagine my disappointment when this attitude began to subside. I first noticed this change when He explains his reason for preaching in parable. Most especially I noted Matthew 13:12 “For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” On this subject I also took to heart the prophecy of Isaiah, which states that people will hear but not understand, and they will see but never perceive. But, those who can perceive and understand will be healed by Jesus. (Matthew 13:14-15)

What I hear in that is Jesus saying that if someone does not understand, he will not try to help them understand. That doesn’t sound like a very great savior to me. I don’t want to go to a doctor who only heals those who believe in the medicine. I don’t want a teacher who only teaches the learned. I don’t want a friend who only gives what he gets. Therefore, I do not want a savior who only saves those who can save themselves.

Here’s the thing, though. I want so badly to not be disappointed by Jesus. I want to think that Jesus is amazing and wonderful. I want Jesus to be the thing that works as a Higher Power for me. But, I can’t deceive myself to the negative qualities I see here. I want a Higher Power, but I don’t want to force a Higher Power to fit a mold. Nor do I want to force myself to fit a mold for a Higher Power. Which is not to say that I can’t see the positive attributes in Jesus, or even in the God of the Old Testament. I know that they are there, but are they enough? Is it enough to me to have God’s perfect lamb be a man who is still not kind and accepting? Is that what perfect looks like?

In this journey to discover what I believe in, have I become closed to opportunities because of previous experience?

I genuinely hope not.

I do not want to be the person who loses faith in my life because of the way others have faith. I want to find faith that makes sense to me. I want to find faith which rings true and complete in my heart. Maybe that’s too much to ask for. Maybe I’m looking for something that doesn’t exist. Maybe Jesus is who I’m seeking, but right now, I don’t know.

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