I think Jesus’ parables are like little time bombs. I hear one and think I get it. But then later, at some random moment when I might not even be thinking about it – boom! – I have an “Aha” moment accompanied by a fresh insight on the story. I’ve also had it where I may have read a parable 100 times, but on the 101st time, something new strikes me. They are simultaneously simple yet profound little stories that stick with me and grow my faith.
That’s one of the reasons Jesus taught in parables. If he had only given lectures on deep theology, a lot of it might just have gone over people’s heads. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with thinking theologically (you do it more than you realize), but it’s easy for me to hear some abstract teaching and it just kind of bounces off me. A parable, on the other hand, burrows deep into me. The story is memorable, perhaps because of a unique character Jesus introduces or a surprise twist in the plot before it’s over. I turn the story over and over in my mind and my heart, which is what I’m certain Jesus’ original listeners did, too.
Among my favorite sermons to write and preach are those on Jesus’ parables. There always seems to be new treasures to uncover and new ideas to explore. So I’m excited about the series of messages Pastor Henry and I are giving at Trinity CRC on the parables – Come join us or listen online! Next week I’ll post something here about a specific parable that has burrowed deep and surprised me in a fresh way with Jesus’ life-giving teaching. Hopefully it will for you, too.