At first blush, Jesus’ parables are quite ordinary: a traveler hits the road, a man plants a garden, laborers work hard at a temporary job. But the plot lines always take surprising twists that can be easy to miss.
Parables are popular teaching tools because they let hearers gain a little distance from a sensitive or difficult topic. They shake us loose from preconceived notions and encourage us to consider that—surprise—we might not have all the answers. Like a good movie or book, a parable can open our eyes to truths about ourselves, about God, and about the world in which we live.
As we ask “what does this mean?” the parable does its work, engaging, provoking, challenging, empowering, encouraging, and inviting us into relationship with the One who speaks in veiled language for the purpose of revealing the hidden things of God.
This message is adapted from “The Power of Parables” written by Audrey West in the November 2011 issue of Gather magazine.