In Matthew Chapter 12 we learn that the Temple leaders committed the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by attributing Jesus’ miracles to Satan. Matthew 12:24, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”
After this, Jesus spoke in parables. A parable according to Strong’s H4912 is “in some original sense of superiority in mental action; properly a pithy maxim, usually of a metaphorical nature; hence a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse): - byword, like, parable, proverb.”
The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables. Jesus clarified the difference between the unbelieving crowd and the believing disciples. While the unbelievers would not be permitted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus would explain the parables to his disciples.
Psalm 78:2, “I will open my mouth in a parable (H4912): I will utter dark sayings (H2430) of old:”
H2420, properly to tie a knot, that is, (figuratively) to propound a riddle: - put forth.; a puzzle; hence a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: - dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.
Ezekiel 20:49, “Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?” This was a prophecy against Judah, that it would be destroyed by fire, a type of the coming Babylon invasion. Hundreds of years later, Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple. When Jesus said destroy this Temple and I will rebuild it in three days He was referring to the crucifixion and resurrection. A parable not understood even by His disciples
My favorite parable is The Parable of the Sower, good insight as we witness to others.
Matthew 13:4, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:” This is the “The hard beaten path, where no plough had broken up the ground.” Seemingly no chance as there is no interest or any understanding.
Matthew 13:5-5, “5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6, And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.” Here there is a thin layer of earth and mostly stones. This would allow for little ploughing an no place for the root to spread.
Matthew 13:7, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:” Perhaps the earth was somewhat broken up but was not cleared of brambles and thorns.
Matthew 13:8, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” Here the earth is deep and well ploughed so the roots (Word) could take hold. The thorns (Flesh) were removed so the roots were not choked off.
CM provided a very pithy summary of the Four Soils:
• Wayside without understanding; birds steal the seed away.
• Stony places without root; fail under pressure.
• Among thorns; too entangled in the cares of this world.
• Good ground; hearing and understanding: bear much fruit.
This is my favorite parable as it provides insights into witnessing. I’ve been witnessing to a good friend for several years. Usually my words fall by the wayside. A few times I seen to plough up a little but no real progress. Sadly, she is an example of “The only barrier to truth is the presumption that you already have it.” Still I pray that someday I can pierce that barrier.