I believe we can all agree that there are endless characteristics of Jesus to admire. One of the many qualities I find valuable of Jesus are His teaching methods. 

In grade school we discover fairly quickly that we all learn differently. Some of us learn by sight, some by listening, and some by example or demonstration.

Jesus was wonderful at exemplifying all of those methods of teaching. However, He additionally taught in another way. Our creator knew there would be minds that needed a bit more challenging approach and others that needed a relatable approach. For this reason, He also taught in parables. 

In Matthew 13 we see His demonstration of parable teaching;

2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.

 Then he told them many things in parables MATTHEW 13:2-3

When I first began my journey following Christ, I found it quite interesting how often Jesus would teach in this way. I would read the gospels and was grateful for these illustrations giving life to the lesson. I found myself often giving examples to teach my own children in an effort to help them relate or empathize. 

 I’m sure we’ve all heard a time or two,”If everyone jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?” 

And, if you have (or were) a child like mine you might hear an arguable response like, “I don’t know Mommy, maybe if I’m landing in a river of chocolate!?!” 

  Still, other than impeccable teaching strategy, why might He choose to teach in this way? Was He trying to be mysterious? With something as valuable as our eternal salvation, direct seems the better approach. 



Certainly, He was always clear in His teachings and examples of living a Kingdom bound life. So, then why parables? Click To Tweet

If you find it puzzling, don’t feel too bad, so did His deciples. 

In Matthew, they found it so perplexing in fact, that they asked Him this very question. 

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from 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.”
 Matthew 13:10-13
Jesus was aware of where His audience was in their journey. He knew their hearts and minds were not yet softened. He empathized with the difficulty they may face in understanding something so vast and foreign to where they were.
If He wanted them to truly receive this gift, He knew he would need to meet them where they were.
How can we do that?
Simply put, “ by taking a walk in their shoes.”
That’s not often a word we use when offering instruction. That’s not often the place from which we teach or offer correction.
The last time I corrected my son for leaving his wet towel on the bathroom floor, I’m fairly certain there was no empathy involved.
Sitting here now, hearing my children play outside, I roll the thought in my mind of the exact last time I demonstrated empathy in a teachable moment.
  • When was the last time I related to “where they were”?
  • When was the last time I projected myself in their busy, playful little minds?
  • When was the last time I asked myself if what I was asking them to understand was always within their ability to digest fully?
If I find myself struggling with demonstrating empathy to my children when teaching or offering correction, how might I be doing with non-believers when teaching or offering new promise?
  • Have I considered “where they are”, or better yet, “where they’ve been?”
  • Have a projected myself in their situation?
  • Am I expecting them to have the ability of understanding boundless love and grace without ever having a single experience or opening their hearts to the idea? 
You see, I’m fairly convinced that here in Matthew 13, while His sermon was to the crowd, the lesson was just as imperative for His disciples. Maybe this day wasn’t so much about the student as it was for the teacher? Jesus spoke to the crowd in a way they could understand [it could be received, or planted] and demonstrated to His disciples the importance of meeting others right where they are [how to offer it, how to prepare the soil.].
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.” Matthew 13:37-38
-How do you relate to Jesus’ parables?
-How do you find yourself learning? Or teaching?
-How do find your teaching or correction is received? 
-How might we better prepare “our soil for seed”?
Christina Henton is a very gifted writer.  It is a blessing to have her gift shared on my blog.  If Christina’s message has prompted a desire to inquire about life or leadership coaching, women’s groups or retreats; contact Coach Deb Luxton.
It is my calling and my greatest desire to help you move forward in having the influence God created and designed you to have because you only have One Life to THRIVE ~ “Helping pastors wives embrace their influence.”
Debbie Luxton

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