Jesus Teaches in Parables

Week 55 | Section 64a,b

Jesus Teaches in ParablesJesus’ parables sparked interest among his followers and for generations to come. In this study we’ll explore the reason for parables and also delve into the first of nine parables about the Kingdom at this time in Jesus’ ministry.


Section 64a
[one_third last=”no”]Matthew 13:1-3a
1 On that day1Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside. 2 Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach. 3a He spoke to them many things in parables,2 saying,[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no”]Mark 4:1-2
1 Again he began to teach by the seaside. A great multitude was gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat in the sea, and sat down. All the multitude were on the land by the sea. 2 He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching, [/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes”]Luke 8:4
4 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.3 [/one_third]
Section 64b

[one_third last=”no”]Matthew 3:b-23
3b “Behold, a farmer went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Others fell on rocky ground,4 where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. 6 When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among thorns.5 The thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.6 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”7  10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.8 12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled,9which says, ‘By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive: 15 for this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and would turn again; and I would heal them.’10¯11 16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.12 17 For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them. 18 “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. 19 When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. 20 What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and produces, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”13[/one_third]
[one_third last=”no”]Mark 4:3-25
3 “Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow, 4 and as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. 6 When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some produced thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much.” 9 He said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10 When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, “To you is given the mystery of God’s Kingdom, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, 12 that ‘seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.’”









13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How will you understand all of the parables?14 14 The farmer15 sows the word.16  15 The ones by the road are the ones where the word is sown; and when they have heard, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 These in the same way are those who are sown on the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 They have no root in themselves, but are short-lived. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they stumble.17 18 Others are those who are sown among the thorns. These are those who have heard the word, 19 and the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.18  20 Those which were sown on the good ground are those who hear the word, and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times.”


21 He said to them, “Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it put on a stand? 22 For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light. 23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 He said to them, “Take heed what you hear.19With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away from him.”20[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes”]Luke 8:5-18
5 “The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. 6 Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.

7 Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. 8 Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and produced one hundred times as much fruit.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

9 Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean?” 10 He said, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of God’s Kingdom, but to the rest in parables; that

‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.












12 Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.

13 Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation. 14 That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.





15 Those in the good ground, these are those who with an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and produce fruit with perseverance.


16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be revealed; nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has.”[/one_third]

Group Dialog:

  1. With whom do I associate most this parable?
  2. When I hear Jesus speak what do I think he’s trying to say about the Kingdom?
  3. As a disciple, what am I going to do with the truth I just heard in this parable?

Learning Objectives:

As disciples constant learners and doers, evangelism, teaching, prepare your heart, repent, love of Christ, first love, seek God, study the Word of God, disciples make disciples.

Photo: The reflection on a pond in Orlando, Florida. A reflection on the pond, like the use parables, provides us a new perspective on the truth.

Study Notes:

  1. That day refers to the same day that Jesus delivered the demon possessed man in the Temple (Section 61) and ends after he has shared and explained nine parables with the crowd and his disciples (ending in Section 65).
  2. A parallel comes along side the principle lesson as a learning tool to evoke movement of the truth in the heart, mind and life of the hearer. Like the use parables, a reflection on a pond provides us a new perspective on the truth – but the object in the reflection is the real object. Aesop’s fables and stories like Arabian Nights use this same form of teaching truth. Jesus uses this method of teach to both help explain significant truths to people from various walks of life and also to induce deeper learning through inquiry of those who really want to explore Jesus’ teachings and apply it.
  3. This set of nine parables all relate to the Kingdom of God.
  4. Read Zechariah 7:12; Ezekiel 36:26;
  5. Read also: Jeremiah 4:3-4
  6. Read also: Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:8.
  7. The next verse indicates that there might have been a pause, a break in Jesus’ teaching as vs 3-9 are to the crowd and 10-23 was a message specifically to the disciples. Its as if he came back to the shore where his disciples asked him to explain the nuances of the parable. Marks Gospel record indicates that the disciples and others heard this explanation.
  8. Its possible here that Jesus does is not intentionally excluding others but that their choice not to come ask to learn more is an indication that they are not ready to receive the Gospel. Read also: James 1:5;Colossians 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 13:2.
  9. Matthew was intent about explaining the Gospel to the Hebrews. Read: 2 Corinthians 3:14; Romans 11:8-10; Ezekiel 12:2. For this reason Matthew often included Old Testament passages as he explained the Gospel. Scholars offer some minor differences in the count of Old Testament passages in the New Testament but the record is overwhelming and speaks to Jesus and the Apostles effort to communicate the Gospel to Jewish peoples as well as the Gentiles.  By one count Matthew includes 36 OT quotes whereas Mark included 20, Luke 18, and John 13.
  10. See also 2 Chron 7:14
  11. Most people want to experience the life, freedom and power Jesus promised his disciples. So the question is how do we prepare our hearts? How do we help our souls be like the good soil? Every individual will benefit by learning to be open minded, suspend judgment while inquiring more, engage in rational thinking and deeper philosophical thinking rather than rushing to a conclusion or refusing to explore another concept. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11. We can thank God for free will, but we must remember that we also bear it’s weight and responsibility.
  12. Read also: Ephesians 1:17-18
  13. The next parable recorded by Luke and Mark is similar to a passage in in Matthew 5:13-16, which was sequenced by Thomas and Gundry back in Week 42 | Section 54c. The reason for this is the context of the latter half of Matthews record and the thee Jesus was teaching on at that moment, our Responsibility while waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
  14. Marks gospel is characteristically blunt and to the point.
  15. The Farmer is God the Father
  16. The seed (piptō in Matthew, and sporos in Luke) is Jesus who in the Gospel of John is called the Word, the creator, and the incarnate Son of God.
  17. Read also Isaiah 49:10
  18. How does keeping up with the Jones’ and loving things more than the Lord alter our Christian experience. Read James 1:11-12; 1Tim 6:17.
  19. That is listen, ponder, and apply the Scriptures to your life. Read also: Acts 17:11; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Hebrews 2:1;  
  20. Take the Gospel, set it on a lamp stand so that others can learn from the lesson you have learned. The good news is meant to be shared and you are supposed to take part in the ministry of reconciliation. Read 1Pet 3:15, Acts 4:20; 2Cor 5:11-21; 1 John 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:6.

By Greg Troxell

Disciple, entrepreneur and catalytic leader. Advocate of the sharing economy. Ministering to youth, new Christians, and equipping the saints. Developing the Emotivational practice. Founder of