Lesson 59

Parables of the Kingdom

"The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.
But to those who do not know the secret,
everything remains in parables."
Mark 4:11 (Phillips Translation)

Jesus is considered a great and remarkable teacher even by many who are not Christians. One of his methods of teaching was to tell parables. There are about thirty parables in the New Testament.

Parables are short, fictitious stories that illustrate a moral lesson or religious principle. It is a comparison of two objects for the purpose of teaching. They are also called fables or proverbs.

Teaching with parables was done so that only a few would understand the message. Jesus taught the deepest truths of the kingdom in these interesting stories. We can read and study them and gain a much better understanding of the plans and purposes of God.

The parable of the king’s son in Matthew 22:2-10 tells us that the Jews had the first invitation to receive the highest place in the kingdom. After that, because there were many positions left, the invitation went out to the Gentiles.

In those days wedding guests had to wear a "wedding garment" (Matthew 22:11-14); it was provided with the invitation. The man who removed his robe (wedding garment) was thrown out of the wedding party!

This story shows that those who reject Christ’s sacrifice as an atonement for their sins will have the light of truth taken away from them. They will lose their opportunity to become a part of the Church. Those who wish to have a part in the marriage of the bride (church) and the bridegroom (Christ) must wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness, which is invisible! It is a symbolic robe that Jesus’ death provided his followers to cover their sinful flesh. This is called justification which means "to make right."

In Matthew 13:46 we read about the "pearl of great price." The pearl illustrates the priceless value of the kingdom—it has a value beyond all price! It is worth its cost—everything that we have!

The parable of the talents shows that those who are followers of Jesus are stewards (masters or caretakers) over the talents they have. Each disciple should be faithful in using even one talent to the best of his or her ability in the Lord’s service (Matthew 25:14-29).

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