Tag Archives: Parables

Dealing with the Truth

How do you respond to criticism?  My first reaction isn’t constructive, I must confess.  I want to argue or fight back.  But after letting my negativity subside, I’ve discovered it often helps to ask pertinent questions, to let the truth soak in deeper and have its way with me.

If you haven’t already listened to the short audio messages I posted earlier in the week, here are the links again.  They are about how Jesus used parables to sneak past our defenses with  tough truth:


To let this parable have its way with you, here are some of the kinds of questions you might  ask:

  • In what sense is teaching from God like a seed?
  • What influences in our world tend to make our “soil” hard, so that His truth bounces off?
  • What is the danger of religion that focuses mostly on drumming up emotional fervor?
  • How much hard work does a seed expend in order to be fruitful?
  • If none, then what does it do?  How is the fruit produced?
  • How are your eyes and ears; do you have defenses to shield you from God’s dangerous truth?
  • If so, what will you do about those defenses?

Listen at Your Own Risk

When Jesus told a parable, it was a time-release gotcha, His version of a Trojan Horse.  He’d light the fuse on what looked like a nice little story and slide it right past the people’s defenses.  Too late, they’d realize His stories were aimed at them, at their bone-headed stupidity or wickedness.

As an experiment, this week I’ve edited an audio message about one of His parables into five chunks, each about 5 minutes long or so, thinking you might spread them out and listen to them during the week. You will discover His seemingly harmless story springs its trap just as effectively today as it did when He first told it.  So, you have been warned: Listen at your own risk.  Here they are the audio links.  Take your time and work your way through these chunks in order:


If  you are willing, let me know how you respond to blog messages in audio form.  They are more work on this end, but worth it to me, if they work for you,

Danger! Parables at Work

Would Jesus deliberately disguise or hide the truth from some people?  That’s a question His disciples asked and you might be surprised at the answer.  If you have a bible, turn to the 13th chapter of Matthew and listen to the audio clips below.  I’ve sliced and diced an original message into 5 bite-sized chunks, so you can fit them into your schedule flexibly


It would be helpful to me to know how this different blog format worked for you.  Did you have any problems listening?  Were the individual sections too long or too short?  Any other suggestions or feedback?  I may not be able to respond or post all of the responses, but please know I’ll read them and take them into consideration.

It’s Up to You

Jesus wasn’t being fair. At least He sounded unfair, when He told his disciples why He spoke in parables, instead of laying out His truths in a straightforward way.

“He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 13:11-15, NIV)[1]

Sounds unfair, doesn’t it:  “Whoever has will be given more, etc.?”  Did Jesus arbitrarily try to confuse some people and keep them from His salvation?  The answer is revealed in the words Jesus quoted the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:9ff).   There are some people who cannot “see and hear,” who will never understand God’s truths.  But that is because They have closed their eyes!”  By that choice, “this people’s heart has become calloused…”   When people shut their eyes to God’s truth, when they turn away from God, their hearts do become hardened, and it becomes tougher – potentially impossible –  for them to understand anything about God.

You have seen a lesser example of this dynamic as most teenagers close their eyes and ears to what their parents try to teach them.  For a time, in the minds of those adolescents, the parents have become stupid  and ignorant.  The youth’s make a choice that hardens their hearts.  In most cases, the resulting separation and angst is temporary.  No harm, no foul.   But when people close their eyes to God, the effects are potentially much more serious and long-lasting.

When Jesus told a parable, it was like a bunker-buster of truth, designed to penetrate beyond the callouses on our hearts.  Once the seemingly harmless story has gotten past our defenses, the truth contained within it “goes off.”  But the impact of that truth separates the HAVES from the HAVE-NOT’S.  For those who HAVE a readiness to learn and receive, the truths contained in the parable produce “aha moments” of increased understanding.  Those who DO NOT HAVE that readiness don’t get it.

When those who HAVE, respond to what they understand, when they TURN, Jesus heals them.  He erases their separation from God by fully paying for their pardon on the cross.  He reconciles them with God and gives them eternal life – His Holy Spirit.  This Spirit is born in their souls and grows, producing a crop of fruit (of the Spirit) in the world. (See “Sow What” and “Seeds of Truth“)

In other words, the impact of Jesus’ parables in your life, depends upon you.  It’s up to you.  It depends on whether you HAVE a willingness to learn His truths, or whether you have closed your eyes and HAVE NOT.

[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.