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Have you ever wondered why Jesus spoke in parables? Maybe like me, you’ve been told that parables are a type of illustration to help people understand a difficult concept by using examples from every day life. But Matthew 13:34,35 offers a different explanation, “All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet; ‘I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” Wow. The foundation of the world was a pretty long time ago. And these secrets that Jesus spoke had been hidden since then. Why?
Earlier in the chapter, the disciples had asked Jesus the same question. “Why do you speak to them in parables?” Jesus brings up the secrets then, too. “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given… This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” If they did see, and hear, and understand, Jesus says, quoting the prophet Isaiah, “I would turn, and I would heal them.”
Jesus wasn’t employing a practical teaching method with the aim of reaching the masses. The masses were prophetically blind, deaf and dull. But to those, like the disciples, whose eyes had been opened and to whose hearts it was given to understand, the great secrets of the ages were opened and the treasures were brought out, both “what is new and what is old.”
“When Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “where did this man get the wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?… Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and in his own household.”
This son of Joseph, the carpenter, whose birth into Joseph’s family was a fulfillment of what was spoken of by the prophets, whose astonishing teachings were the fulfillment of what was spoken by the prophets, was later betrayed and arrested “that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” This son of Joseph the carpenter, would then be nailed to a wooden cross and suffer the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unbelief. This son of Joseph the carpenter, would rise from the dead and ascend the throne as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Do you know this son of Joseph the carpenter?
“See within a manger laid Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth! Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, with us sing our Savior’s birth.”
(After singing Angels We Have Heard On High, listen to Handel’s Messiah selections “There were shepherds…And lo, the angel of the Lord…And the angel said unto them…” and “Glory to God...”)
Click on the What’s In Those Jars? link at the top of the page to find out how we use tiny objects like the one above to help remember each of the 25 people in the genealogy of Christ we will be reading about during the Advent season