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  #1  
Old Apr 27, '12, 8:36 am
in_servitude in_servitude is offline
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Default Why Jesus Used Parables?

My protestant friend would like to discuss "why" Jesus used parables. I searched past threads on this, and I couldn't find a match.

Is there an answer to, "why?" in Sacred Scripture? My impression is that we can make up a reason ourselves (uneducated masses relating better to parables, for example, is an easy guess - another guess is that parables would be more easily transmitted through time?).

But, that's not really my question. My question is - does the Church answer the question of "Why?". Does Sacred Scripture answer the question of, "Why?"

THANKS!!!
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  #2  
Old Apr 27, '12, 9:23 am
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?



According to church teaching the reason Jesus taught in parables is because the obvious, literal meaning was clear to everyone; but the spiritual meaning had to be taught, even to the disciples. This shows Jesus intention to set up a hierarchy in the church, of teachers and students. The disciples (which means students) became teachers, to more disciples etc.
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  #3  
Old Apr 27, '12, 9:30 am
sacredcow sacredcow is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

Remember Jesus was raised in the Jewish faith, which used parables profusely for teaching. So as far as the "why" its because it was the convention of the time in which he became Incarnate. I suppose you could argue that parables, fables, and other teaching stories have been a part of all cultures. Parables help people personalize the truths they teach.
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Old Apr 27, '12, 9:31 am
Pfaffenhoffen Pfaffenhoffen is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by in_servitude View Post
My protestant friend would like to discuss "why" Jesus used parables. I searched past threads on this, and I couldn't find a match.

Is there an answer to, "why?" in Sacred Scripture? My impression is that we can make up a reason ourselves (uneducated masses relating better to parables, for example, is an easy guess - another guess is that parables would be more easily transmitted through time?).

But, that's not really my question. My question is - does the Church answer the question of "Why?". Does Sacred Scripture answer the question of, "Why?"

THANKS!!!


Yes, Jesus Christ answers to that, I think more than once.
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Old Apr 27, '12, 9:32 am
Garyjohn2 Garyjohn2 is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

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Originally Posted by bmullins View Post

4 And the prophecy of Isaias is fulfilled in them, who saith: By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive.
Also, to fulfill the prophets.
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  #6  
Old Apr 27, '12, 9:45 am
in_servitude in_servitude is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

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Originally Posted by bmullins View Post
Matthew 13:10-17

According to church teaching the reason Jesus taught in parables is because the obvious, literal meaning was clear to everyone; but the spiritual meaning had to be taught, even to the disciples. This shows Jesus intention to set up a hierarchy in the church, of teachers and students. The disciples (which means students) became teachers, to more disciples etc.
Nailed it! Thanks!!!!
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  #7  
Old Apr 27, '12, 9:57 am
Gaber Gaber is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by in_servitude View Post
My protestant friend would like to discuss "why" Jesus used parables. I searched past threads on this, and I couldn't find a match.

Is there an answer to, "why?" in Sacred Scripture? My impression is that we can make up a reason ourselves (uneducated masses relating better to parables, for example, is an easy guess - another guess is that parables would be more easily transmitted through time?).

But, that's not really my question. My question is - does the Church answer the question of "Why?". Does Sacred Scripture answer the question of, "Why?"

THANKS!!!
I don't know if "scred scripture" answers that, but there are some things we can say. One of them is that because of the way the mind works, it retains stories. So it has been useful to teachers ans studens from the time we could talk to surround an idea by with a story that illustrates it. Then if you remember the story, it is kind of like a second hand experience of the happening, and it makes it easier to penetrate the meaning of the story if you are so inclined.

That feature, the posibility for penetration, is a safety device emplyed to protect those who might be overloaded by some ideas, and yet give them the oportunity to see more deeply later. It also requres someone to put out some effort, so things aren't gaven them for free, so to speak, and that way, by working with the story, they can more make it their own.

The parables of Jesus, as well as many other myths and stories, have at least three levels of meaning: the literal, the psychological, and the spiritual. And there may be more that we don't ordinarlily know about or consider. Mark 4:33,34 is a clue about that.

In any case, one of the best books about the teaching lanuage of the parables is Maurice Nicoll's The New Man: An Interpretation of Some Parables and Miracles of Christ.
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  #8  
Old Apr 27, '12, 10:38 am
phoooiee phoooiee is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

Scott Hahn says (on his audio lecture on Matthew) that parables were used throughout the OT whenever authority was corrupt- Jesus was doing the same to indicate the corruption of the religious leadership.
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  #9  
Old Apr 27, '12, 2:23 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

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Originally Posted by phoooiee View Post
Scott Hahn says (on his audio lecture on Matthew) that parables were used throughout the OT whenever authority was corrupt- Jesus was doing the same to indicate the corruption of the religious leadership.
This is correct.

Parables were used when a prophet was about to preach condemnation on someone or something, usually corrupt authority.

Consider Nathan's condemnation of King David for adultery and murder. In 2 Samuel 12:1-7 God sends the prophet Nathan to King David and he tells David the parable of the rich man who devours the poor man's sheep. David is furious, and Nathan says, "The man is you!"

The Gospel of Matthew is actually divided into five sub-books. Each sub-book contains a narrative followed by a discourse given by Jesus. There are five discourses by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and the fourth is in chapter 22 and 23. Contrast the beginning of Chapter 22 with the beginning of Chapter 23. Jesus speaks in parables in Chapter 22 but then launches into a scathing condemnation of the Pharisees, Scribes and Chief Priests in Chapter 23.

Chapter 23 strarts...
Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying (Matthew 22:1)
Jesus speaks in parables for all of Chapter 22. He dioes this because he about to preach condmnation on the Pharisees, Chief Priests and Scribes. Chapter 23 by comparison, contains very straighforward language. Jesus speaks in parables in chapter 22, but the first line of Chapter 23 makes it clear that he is done speaking in parables and is about to condemn the leadership in very clear, unambigouous language.
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, (Matthew 23:1)
No more parables. Jesus speaks clearly here...
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. (Matthew 23:13 and 15)

Woe to you, blind guides,... (Matthew 23:16)

Blind fools,... (Matthew 23:17

You blind ones,... (Matthew 23:19)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. (Matthew 23:26 and 27 and 29)

Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out! (Matthew 23:31-32)
...so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth... (Matthew 23:35)
Yikes!

Jesus opens up on the leadership. He is done speaking in parables and makes himself perfectly clear. The gauntlet is thrown down - it's either Jesus or the Jewish leadership. One has got to go.

If Jesus stands in front of you and starts talking in parables, you should fall to your knees, acknowledge your sinfulness and beg for mercy, because the he's about to open up a can of whoop on someone. The condemnation is about to start.


-Tim-
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  #10  
Old Apr 27, '12, 3:20 pm
in_servitude in_servitude is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Parables were used when a prophet was about to preach condemnation on someone or something, usually corrupt authority.

If Jesus stands in front of you and starts talking in parables, you should fall to your knees, acknowledge your sinfulness and beg for mercy, because the he's about to open up a can of whoop on someone. The condemnation is about to start.

-Tim-
Thanks for your post. This is awesome!
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  #11  
Old Apr 28, '12, 6:05 am
Gaber Gaber is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyH ~~~~~
Parables were used when a prophet was about to preach condemnation on someone or something, usually corrupt authority.

If Jesus stands in front of you and starts talking in parables, you should fall to your knees, acknowledge your sinfulness and beg for mercy, because the he's about to open up a can of whoop on someone. The condemnation is about to start.

-Tim-
Tim, are you sure we are all on the same page as to what a parable is????
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  #12  
Old Apr 28, '12, 11:54 am
Mintaka Mintaka is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

He's not wrong about the connection between parables and condemnation. It's not the only reason, but it's a big one.

Basically, if people's minds are closed, a parable often helps them think about the situation from a more impartial viewpoint. The man who owned the pet ewe lamb, the servant who didn't work while his master was gone, all that kind of thing. Parables gave the prophets a way to speak more freely to people of power, also.

However, Jesus does use parables as a way of working around different angles of a subject, also. The kingdom of heaven is like a pearl, like yeast, like a coin that's lost.

It also allowed Jesus to speak in a more veiled way to people who were not supposed to learn everything yet, and more openly to his disciples and Apostles. There still seems to be an intent by Jesus that we ask what these things mean, because I've read some really bizarre interpretations of parables from various Christians on the Internet. (People who think every mention of a symbol has to be interpreted the exact same way, like the ones who think that because yeast is a bad thing in the "yeast of the Pharisees" expression, it can't possibly be a good thing in His comparison of the Kingdom of God to a woman making yeast bread!)
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Old Apr 28, '12, 11:56 am
itullian itullian is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

cause they're universal and timeless.
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Old Apr 28, '12, 12:03 pm
lampstand lampstand is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

They make you think a little more and dig a little deeper.
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  #15  
Old Apr 28, '12, 9:08 pm
Curious Convert Curious Convert is offline
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Default Re: Why Jesus Used Parables?

I find it significant that in most gospel accounts, Jesus starts His public ministry by speaking openly with plain teachings as well as simple metaphors and analogies. Once He is challenged and rejected by the authorities, He then starts using parables to continue to reveal the secrets of the Kingdom to those who 'have ears to hear.' The parables often contain motifs regarding mercy and judgment. Jesus was always concerned about revealing himself while also concealing himself in a way that prevented mass hysteria or political upheaval. We frequently read of Him telling people He heals to keep quiet about His identity. He didn't want people following Him for the wrong reasons.

Parables can either reveal and conceal depending on one's spiritual dispositions. Jesus explains this when His disciples ask why He speaks in parables. The concealing of Christ's message for some lead the way to the revealing of God's Kingdom for all, since those who didn't have 'ears to hear' and 'eyes to see' crucified Christ, thus 'revealing' the source of God's love and mercy toward the world!
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