Some of the best teachers are those who tell stories. It stands to reason that the master teacher set the example.
The stories told by Jesus are more than forty in number. These stories are called the parables of Jesus. We are not going to cover all of them today. Entire books have been devoted to this topic.
Instead, we are going to cover some of the most well-known parables, as well as the ones that have special meanings for new believers.
These parables demonstrate the great love that God has for His children. They paint a beautiful picture in our minds of the intimate relationship that God wants to have with us.
Come along and find yourself in these stories.
Why did Jesus teach in parables?
Good teachers know that stories engage the mind and emotions of the student helping them understand more complex matters.
Being the master teacher, Jesus used stories or parables to help people understand spiritual matters through everyday familiar illustrations.
The parables of Jesus were also used to spark the interest of those who were really wanting to follow God. But for those who were not interested in spiritual matters, the stories went in one ear and out the other.
What are Jesus’ most important parables?
Many consider the following the most important of Jesus’s parables.
- The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37)
- The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
These are probably the most well-known and famous parables. But I would add a couple more as being important to new believers.
- The Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 15:3-7)
- The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
- Parable of the sower and the soils (Mark 4:3-8, 15-20)
These are not just simple stories. They are full of one spiritual lesson after another. They help us understand eternal life better and the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
When we are open to the meaning of the parables, we realize that they have applications to our daily lives as we experience different challenges and emotions. Some are for comfort. Others help us understand our value and worth. All have heavenly meaning as they reveal the heart of God.
5 parables of Jesus for new believers
These short stories communicated more to the original audience than maybe they do to you and me.
The people of Jesus’s day were very familiar with agricultural practices. It was part of their everyday life.
Today a literary style like this keeps people engaged as they can understand better the message of the author and any moral lessons that were planned.
As new believers, we want to be sure that we are falling in love with Jesus. That is why some of these parables have incredible imagery that can capture our thoughts and emotions.
The meaning of Jesus’s words is rich in God’s message of grace, compassion, and love. Each is a simple story full of divine truths.
Parable of the lost sheep
Of all of Jesus’ parables, I love this one probably the most.
Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. Why? Because we, like sheep, often go the wrong way, getting caught in places that are difficult for us to get out of.
Jesus is concerned for even one lost sheep. He is not worried about the ninety-nine back in the sheepfold. They are safe. But the one who got lost is vulnerable to predators.
So If the sheep fell into a ravine, or got caught in briars, the good shepherd knew what to do. His walking stick had a curly end that could reach into the briars and pull the sheep out. It could also reach down into a ravine and lift the sheep up to safety.
Often, lost sheep end up getting hurt. That is when the shepherd picks it up and carries it on his shoulders. The imagery of Jesus carrying me on His shoulders is so thrilling. To be lifted up to safety and gently carried is a beautiful picture.
The prodigal son (or daughter)
Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong and you dreaded facing the person you hurt? That had to have been the way the prodigal son felt.
The story is of an arrogant younger son who wanted his own way, demanded his inheritance early, and wasted everything his father gave to him.
As the prodigal went back home feeling humiliated, the Father was waiting for him with open arms.
What a beautiful picture of love and forgiveness. The Father wrapped his arms around his son and welcomed him home.
The Father also did not make the son come all the way home to experience acceptance. The father ran to meet him where he was.
God does not expect us to clean up our lives before we come to Him. He runs to meet us where we are. As we are brought home where we belong, then the clean-up process begins.
I am so glad that God loves me just the way I am, but is willing to help me clean up the messes of my life.
All we have to do is take the first step. Then Jesus goes the rest of the way.
Do you know God in this way, as a loving father? If your relationship with your biological dad was less than perfect, let me assure you that God is not that way.
Parable of the good Samaritan
This is another thrilling story because of the imagery. We are represented by the traveler who was beaten and left for dead in a ditch.
Critical people walked by because they didn’t want to get involved. They saw him as dirty, fearing they might get contaminated by the one in the ditch.
Then the Samaritan showed up and lovingly loaded the injured person onto his own donkey and took him to the next town for medical care and a place to rest and recuperate.
Just like the Samaritan, Jesus has time for us. He is not afraid of being contaminated by us. He treats us with respect and compassion. He gently picks us up and takes care of our wounds. He also brings others into our lives who can encourage us and help meet our needs.
The lost coin
This story involves a valuable coin that was lost. It is believed that it was worth the equivalent of a year’s wages.
The coin represents us. We have great value to Jesus.
Then once we are brought back to where we belong, once we become followers of Jesus, a great celebration takes place. The person reunited with their coin would shout it on the street corners.
Dear child of God, all of heaven rejoices over you being brought into the family of God. Do you understand how important you are to our Heavenly Father?
The parable of the sower and the soils
This is one of the parables of Jesus that is not “warm and fuzzy”. This is full of profound spiritual truths. It is a sober reminder that even though we may have spoken words of belief in Jesus, words are not enough.
It is the condition of our heart that determines what happens next.
Words alone do not save us. You see, it has to go deeper than that. If you are not familiar with this parable, please take a minute to read it.
The four soils mentioned are:
- Hard soil on a path
- Rocky places with shallow soil
- Soil full of thorns
- Good soil
Most of those reading this are not the “hard soil”. You see, these people may hear the word of God but they really are not interested in it. Their hearts are too hard.
The rocky soil is quite shallow. These people are interested in the gospel but they don’t take it seriously and don’t care how the word of God applies to their lives. There just isn’t any depth to their belief in Jesus.
The soil full of thorns could be good soil, but the thorns choke out the truth of God after it sprouts and starts to grow. These are the people who show great enthusiasm about the Gospel until life gets difficult, or they realize that they like life’s comforts and pleasures more than they like Jesus.
The good soil represents the people who are eager to follow Jesus no matter where God may lead them. They not only read the Bible, but they also apply it to their lives. They take seriously the teachings of Jesus. Even though they stumble and fall from time to time, it is their heart’s desire to become more like Jesus. My friend, it is your heart that God is interested in.
Huge crowds heard Jesus’ messages over the course of 3 years. Yet many did not get the spiritual meaning. Only a handful were changed by them.
A prayer from the parables of Jesus
Dear Heavenly Father,
How grateful I am that you are my good shepherd. Thank you for seeking me out when I was lost and in danger from the worst predator, satan. Thank you that you lift me up on your strong shoulders and carry me when I am spiritually weak.
And how I praise your name that when I was a prodigal, you kept waiting for me to come home. Lord, I have been foolish in many ways, but you still loved me and welcomed me back into your arms.
It is so healing to know that when I have been beaten down by the evil one you are not afraid of being contaminated by the mess of my life. I thank you that you are actively working on my healing. Without you Lord, I truly would have died in the ditch of sin along the road of life.
Lord, it amazes me that you place so much value on me. I often forget that I was worth dying for. Thank you that heaven rejoiced when I chose to follow you and continues to rejoice every time I make the right choices.
And right now, Lord, I ask that you will help my heart to be good, fertile soil, ready to take in every seed of truth that you have for me in my daily reading. Help me to grow the fruit of your spirit and be your faithful servant. I commit my life to you, Jesus.
You can download a copy of this prayer here from the parables of Jesus.
Final thoughts on the parables of Jesus Christ
As a new believer, you should be able to relate to at least one of these parables of Jesus. But simply having knowledge of His teachings is not good enough.
The proof of genuine faith is the desire of our hearts to do what He wants us to do. It is our sincere commitment to spiritual things that makes a difference.
Is your belief in Jesus just in your head, or has it reached your heart? The secret of the kingdom of God is letting it impact daily lives so that change takes place.
If you don’t know Jesus, you probably have questions. The people at Chat About Jesus have answers. You can text, call, or chat with them online any time of the day or night.
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