The Parables of Jesus - 'Truth in a Story'

For our sermon series this summer we'll be looking at the parables of Jesus, with teaching taken from Luke's gospel account. The challenge for July and August is for "Everyone to read every one" of the parables. 

Some people downgrade the value of the parables as if they were just simple stories to engage a younger generation! In reality, a parable is truth contained in a story. Jesus' parables used imagery that many in the crowd would have recognised and paradoxically they can both reveal and conceal truth depending on the heart of the listeners.

10 The disciples came to him (Jesus) and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them” 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”

15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
— Matthew 13:10 - 15

Eugene Peterson captures it well in “the message”.

“Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it.”  


Jesus didn’t code his teaching to prevent some people from understanding, as everyone would have understood the imagery. His teaching divided the listeners into two groups based on their own heart responses. 


The invitation this summer, is for everyone to read every one!

Print off this PDF so you can keep a track on the ones you’ve read.

Everyone read every one


Tips and questions to help you get the most of each parable


  • Try reading each parable in a couple of different versions. The message has a conversational style that can compliment some of the more systematic translations.
  • The Kingdom is the rule and reign of God, it’s both the now and the not yet. Kingdom living requires a mindset shift so what is Jesus teaching me about the character of God and the nature of God’s kingdom? 
  • What is going on during, before and after the parable? Did a problem prompt the parable? Was Jesus dealing with a question or an attitude? What else does it say? What was the response of the listeners?
  • How am I invited to think differently and live differently in the light of this story?