And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spoke by a parable:…
I. WHAT IS A PARABLE? It is a mode of instruction founded on the resemblances or analogies between spiritual and natural objects or events.
1. The form of the parable is a direct or indirect statement of a fact, or a narrative of either some possible or real event, that had occurred once or frequently. The growth of the mustard-seed is a fact of constant occurrence. The parable of Scripture differs from ordinary figurative language, not in its nature, but in its subject. And it might perhaps be correctly defined — a figurative description of religious doctrine.
2. To pass to the substance of the parables. We find their themes mainly to be — the sublime truths of grace, redemption, and retribution; the soul, its responsibilities and its destiny; the Church, and its destiny.
II. WHY DID THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TEACH BY PARABLES?
1. He designed to show the union between nature, human life, and the gospel. His presence among men was itself a manifestation of the Divine in the human, the invisible in the visible, the supernatural in the natural. The parable is a similar clothing of the unknown in the known, the heavenly in the earthly.
2. To unveil the mysteries of redemption.
3. To conceal the truth. "That, seeing, they might not see." He aimed again at avoiding a premature irritation of his enemies. Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, elders and priests (proud, earthly, ignorant, bigoted, envious and murderous), were continually acting as spies around him. It was, therefore, indispensable that he should avoid giving them any ground of accusation before the Sanhedrim, the civil tribunal, or the people.
(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: