Everett Henes: Parables and gardening

Everett Henes

A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a spiritual lesson. This is how the definition usually goes, but I find it odd because I’m not sure that’s actually correct. What’s interesting when we read about Jesus’ parables is that many people did not understand them. In fact, when we find ourselves thinking that Jesus’ teachings are simply understood, that might be an indication that we are misunderstanding them. 

I find a more helpful way of getting at the meaning of parables is to ask the question, why did Jesus tell parables? Did Jesus tell them to reveal or to conceal? The answer isn’t straightforward because that gets at the purpose of the parables themselves. We find this illustrated for us in Luke 8:1-21. There, Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower, which is maybe his second best well-known parable after the Prodigal Son.

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