The Gospels report that Jesus frequently taught in parables. (Mark 4:2) The parables He told were stories that make a point by using illustrations from everyday life to explain the Kingdom of God or a godly principle. Since the crowds that surrounded Jesus were diverse and included Pharisees that wanted to criticize or kill Him, sinners who needed help, and disciples who were growing in their understanding of God's Kingdom, this method of communication allowed Him to address all who listened. Parables were meant to draw in His audience through thought-provoking stories that let one draw their own conclusion about the Kingdom of God and its King.
The disciples did not always understand the underlying message of the parables of Jesus. For example, after sharing the parable of the sower with a large crowd, "His disciples asked Him what this parable meant. He said, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables so that though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'" (Luke 8:9-10) Jesus used the parables to reveal and conceal truth. Those who were seriously seeking truth could "dig deeper" and find spiritual insight.
In private Jesus gave His disciples more detailed explanations of His parables. I love how this is reported in Mark 4:34. "...But when He was alone with His own disciples, He explained everything." Did you catch that? Jesus waited until He was alone with them to share the mysteries of the Kingdom. This "jumped off the page at me" as I was reading it last week. It is such an encouragement to us because we are the Lord's disciples. This portion of Scripture should give us the incentive to pursue more alone time with the Lord, directing our focus onto Him. As we do this, we will see more things from God's point of view, and as He sees that we can be trusted with revelation, He will give us more.
Jesus felt safe in giving deeper insight to His disciples. As Believers, we can receive the truth of Proverbs 8:17. "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me." (NAS) The prophet Isaiah gave the words of God to His children in Isaiah 45:3. "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."
Look what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 8:3. "But the man who loves God is known by God." In Colossians 1:25 & 27 he says that Jesus was commissioned by God "to present the Word in its fullness" and that God "chose to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Jesus recognized that the children of God would need ongoing revelation after He returned to heaven to be with His Father. That is why we have the Holy Spirit. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26) The Spirit works in us to help us obtain the full inheritance that God made possible.
John 3:34 says, "For the one whom God has sent (Jesus) speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit." Jesus is our model for receiving the fullness of God and understanding of His Word. (Ephesians 4:13) We have the keys to receiving this. Schedule alone time with the Lord. Pursue Him for the greater revelation and wait for the manifestation of His promises.
Joan E. Mathias