We read in Mark 4 that Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds that followed him, and he only explained those meanings to his followers in private. Jesus’s parables spoke to all the people, not just the scribes and Pharisees, of the everyday things about which they knew.
They would understand about growing things and know that a mustard seed was the tiniest of seeds, and that the mustard plant would become very tall, quite quickly. But did they understand its meaning in relation to the kingdom of heaven? Maybe they’d come to understand in time if they followed and stayed close to Jesus.
We might wonder today why he spoke in parables and not plainly. Might it be that just speaking the truth without the analogy would be too blunt? Might he have been asking them to really think about it?
As a storyteller, I’ve learned that stories are remembered longer. An outright lesson might be rejected as having little value, but tell a story or compare it to something the audience already knows and the listener hears it in a different way.
Dear God, we get so caught up in our lives that we miss the importance of your Word. Help us to understand your stories and parables through the Holy Spirit. Amen. — CRW