Again, this is copied from a friend's writings. I have bold and underlined an important part we all need to work on.
Mark 4:10-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Purpose of Parables
10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that
‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.’ ”
Pasted from <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+4%3A10-12&version=NKJV>
This is an interesting passage to me. Why would it be in God's plans to wrap the truths of the kingdom of God in parables and stories? Why would Jesus simply clothe His ministry in these devices? I have a theory about that, and I also have an observation.
My theory is that the parables of Jesus were intended to speak to the heart of the hearer. The law is directed to the mind. God's law produces the desired effect in the one subject to it when coupled with faith and devotion to God. Without those elements of faith and love for God, Law can produce a completely different outcome, one where a person is nominally observant of the Law without having the intent of the Law penetrate to the core of one's spirit. Then, instead of promoting godliness, the Law can be used to justify the opposite of the Law’s intent and serve to alienate one from God. The Rabbinic tradition of the Jews, known as The Mishnah, was esteemed above the Law itself. The Mishnah is what the Jewish elders who challenged Jesus' teachings and His apparent defiance of some of their traditions were referring to in their condemnation of Him. These traditions of the rabbis down through the years gave opinions on things like what could be done and not done on the Sabbath, expounding on God's commandment that no ordinary work be done on the Sabbath. The rabbis had debated and codified what constituted ordinary work, so that what they wound up keeping were the traditions of the rabbis instead of simply rendering their observation of the Sabbath a day of rest wherein they meditated on the Scriptures and dedicated the day to the Lord. Jesus challenged these traditions that had the effect of nullifying the intent of the Law given through Moses.
My desire here is not to bash the Jewish traditions. Instead, I want to suggest that we too at times allow things that are our own traditions such as the clothes we deem appropriate for church, the type of hymns and music we countenance, the order and activities of our assemblies, and on and on, to take precedent of the plain teaching of Jesus that we should love one another and treat one another with respect and dignity, regardless of how we deem ourselves to be treated. As I mentioned a day or two ago, the main thing is the keep the main thing the main thing. Thus, for us, as for Jesus' teaching to the people whom He taught in His ministry, the moral or point behind the parables was in my opinion to bypass the analytics of the mind and to speak directly to the heart. In the end, the Jews deified the Law more than they did God and elevated their traditions above even the Law given through Moses. Though less codified than the Mishnah, we too can similarly elevate our traditions so that the outweigh the principles of faith and practice that Jesus taught and become our own legal system. That is my theory.
My observation is that you and I are allowed at least a portion of the insight that Jesus told His disciples they were being given, because we get to "listen in" on His explanations of the parables. He expounded on several of His parables to His close disciples and we have that recorded in scripture. So we too have an opportunity to have our spiritual eyes opened to the deeper meanings.
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10 (NKJV)
Because we are given the Holy Spirit, who takes residence in our hearts when we are saved, we have access to insight of which our unaided fleshly mind is not capable. Jesus said that no one comes to Him unless called by the Father (John:6:44) anyone who is a Christ-follower has at least some degree of spiritual illumination by the Holy Spirit. This is something that we should welcome and actively seek. Let us do so even today.