Parables of Jesus, Part 2
1.The Parables of Jesus, James Montgomery Boice, Moody Publishers, 1983
2.The Parables of Jesus, R. C. Sproul, video series and Study Guide, Ligonier Ministries, 2013
An Old Testament Precedent
In Part 1, we argued, in effect,
- Parables can reveal, and they can conceal
- Jesus came to save, and he came to condemn
Do we see this sort of thing in the Old Testament? We do. Take Isaiah. And take this short true/false quiz:
TRUE or FALSE: Isaiah’s commission was to prophesy to the people so that they would turn from their wicked ways.
The answer is false. For we read:
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isa. 6:8-10)
We see the same picture here, the same explanation as to why Jesus teaches in parables. The people are not lost because god, in his cruelty, has made it so that they do not understand and therefore cannot be saved. Rather they are already lost and god, in his wrath, condemns them to blindness. Be careful not to mix up cause and effect.
- In the New Testament, Jesus’ appearance is sometimes described by the Greek word krisis
- Krisis refers to judgment
- Jesus' appearance is good news for some, bad news for others
- He causes some to rise and others to fall
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. (Matt 10:34-35)
Salvation for some, condemnation for others, Jesus’ use of parables reflects his twofold mission.
The parables are meant to increase understanding for believers, and to obfuscate the truth for unbelievers.
Not because the knowledge saves, or the lack of knowledge condemns, but because: It is apparently God’s pleasure to teach his children, and provide them with the means to understand. And (frightfully—or is it a sort of mercy?) it is apparently God’s pleasure to withhold understanding from the reprobate. (To harden their hearts.)
[END PART 2]