What is the Meaning of the Parables, and How Can We Understand Them?

Published on 21 May 2024 at 15:03

Why does God speak in parables? Can we understand them? The purpose of a parable is obviously to give us a message. Jesus spoke in parables made up of examples to explain to people the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. As the way things work in heaven might be difficult for us to comprehend, Jesus used examples we can relate to. He used comparisons from our daily life. Nevertheless, not all people can understand and comprehend the meaning. Why? Because even though a practical example is given to make it easier for people to understand, it still has to do with heaven. And that’s exactly opposite to our human nature. It is not a question of not being smart or intelligent enough to understand a parable. It has to do with the faith in God.

So, from this, we can conclude that the examples were used to facilitate the meaning for those who could understand them, but for those who couldn’t, these words remained veiled and hidden. How could the disciples understand that He was referring to the man’s heart while speaking about the different kinds of ground in the parable of the sower? Because He explained the meaning of the parable to them. This is the only way for us to understand. When He explains it to us. Even with the best and easiest examples, the disciples couldn’t understand, but when Jesus explained the parable to them, a whole new world was opened to them, and all of a sudden, the examples given to them took life, and they got the meaning. This happens with each word of the Bible when it is revealed in our lives. We can find answers in the explanation given by Jesus to the parable of the sower.

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who Indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:18-23)

We can see this parable in three of the gospels. In Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Obviously, it varies a bit, but when we put this parable together from these three gospels, we get the complete picture. We have to know that each one of those evangelists who wrote this parable wrote what impressed and touched him more. Seeing all three of them, they generally go in the same line. The one in Matthew, for example, speaks a lot about understanding. In 13:23, it says: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it…”

From this point here, we see which is the way not only to understand a parable but to understand the word of God in general. It is to have a good and open heart, a fertile ground for the word of God. We obviously know that no one’s heart is good. I mean really good to fulfill God’s standards. The only way to achieve this is to allow Him to work in our hearts so that He can turn them into good ground. The only way for us to understand the word is when He opens our eyes and ears. It is His work. We can say that it is a miracle.

In the gospels of Mark and Luke, we can see another short parable after the parable of the sower: the parable of the lamp on a stand. We need to know that this parable is not there by accident. Obviously, God can speak to us through a single verse, but sometimes, we need to see the whole story and its context. In this case, we see that the lamp has to do with the parable of the sower.

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:16, 17)

The same parable is also found in Mark 4:21, 22, always after the parable of the sower. In this case, we can make a reference to Psalm 119:105, where it says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” Therefore, from this passage, we can conclude that the lamp is the word of God. And where does the lamp need to stay? In its right place, meaning on the lampstand. Don’t you think that our heart is that lampstand? And we must allow the word of God to accomplish its work in us. We must allow it to be in our hearts, where it can shine and accomplish its work, which is to correct us, guide us, and show us our reality.

“Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast your laws behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; and they worked great provocations.” (Nehemiah 9:26)

Here, we see a passage in which it is said that those people cast God’s word behind their backs. They didn’t put it in the right place. We can somehow put it away, even if we know it. We can hide it and carry on as if nothing happened, as in the case with the lamp. We can harden ourselves. Obviously, the work in our hearts belongs to God, but we have to be careful to heed His word.

It happens as we see in Luke 8:18.

“Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken away from him.”

Why? Because those who have something, it is for the only reason that they believed and received it from God. That’s the most important—to receive from God. This is what is needed for us to understand the parables—to receive it from God. And for those who don’t have it, it is because they haven’t believed and received from Him.

This verse comes after the explanation of the parable of the sower, which we find in Luke 8:11-15.

Also, in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, where we see the parable of the sower, we see this same passage following it in the same conversation (Matthew 13:12, Mark 4:25).

Looking again Luke 8:18, we see that it says: “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” 

In Mark 4:24, 25, it is said: “Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Both of these passages emphasize “hearing,” which means that how a person will receive God’s word depends on this. That means that “hearing” has to do with faith. The following passage in Romans confirms this.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Faith and hearing need to go together. Faith is needed for us to receive. In the parable of the sower, we see that the way we receive this seed, which is the word of God, will determine how we will hear and understand it. Hearing and understanding it properly will help us have faith.

For the natural man, these things are foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). God made it in this way so that only those who believe could understand. By nature, it is a miracle for us to have His word revealed in our hearts. This is the meaning and the purpose of the parables: that His word can be revealed in our hearts. This is what makes His parables to be explained to us. Which was the way for the disciples to understand a parable? By asking Jesus for its meaning.

“But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.” (Mark 4:10)

Which was one of the first parables that Jesus started telling? It was the parable of the sower. It was the foundation of all the parables. Why? Because it explained how to receive His word in our hearts, which was the key to understanding all the rest of the parables and His word in general. If His word is not revealed to us, it will be just like a parable that we cannot understand.

“And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” “ (Mark 4:13)

By this verse coming after the parable of the sower, we see how fundamental comprehending this parable is. It is because it speaks about receiving and understanding His word and which is the condition for it. With this parable, He gave us the key to understanding His word.

Let’s see some other verses in Mathew 13:11-17

“He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundantly; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor they understand. And in them the prophesy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

We see a question the disciples asked Jesus after the parable of the sower: “Why do You speak to them in parables?” And we see that He answers, saying: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, ….”

And to me, here Jesus wasn’t referring just to the people not understanding the parables but to those not understanding His word in general. He was saying that what He was trying to tell them was like a mystery, like something unveiled. We speak for the whole word of God here. Even if someone can understand the theological and general meaning of the word, its real meaning could still be hidden from him. That’s why people can’t practice it sometimes. Because they don’t actually understand it. They can’t see its real value, and consecutively, they don’t give it much importance. God needs to open their eyes so that they can see.

But there are conditions and attitudes for it, and the most important is that faith is required. With the parable of the sower, He already explained everything. All the basics and what is important. He said that the seed is the word fallen in each heart. And some of them could understand it, and others did not, according to the condition of their heart. Notice that He didn’t say that the seed is another parable, but He said that the seed is the word of God. In this way, He indicated that not only the parables could not be understood, but God’s word in general. That means that the whole word of God, for some people, is like a parable, like a mystery. I repeat that people may understand the literal meaning of a certain word but do not understand what that word means for their lives and do not understand its deeper meaning. All of this makes the word of God like a parable and a comparison for them. Yes, it is made by events that really occurred and speaking in a literal way most of the time, when it is about basic commandments, but still with a personal meaning that only the believer could clearly see and discover for his life.

Speaking about things we need to do, the Bible speaks in a literal way. When it says, for example, “Do not steal” or “Do not commit adultery,” it is obviously about something literal. We mustn’t look for a parable in those cases, and even if we do, then we need to remember that the explanation of a certain parable must never contradict the rest of the word, but it must be confirmed by it. This is how we are going to know that the explanation is right. When it is confirmed by the word of God.

“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23)

We see this part of the explanation of the parable of the sower, and we see that it is about understanding the word. The one with a good ground (heart) receives the word, understands it, and bears fruit. Here, Jesus gave us the key to understanding His word and the parables. Obviously, He was referring to the whole found in the word. This happens by having that kind of heart, as the parable of the sower explains. And how can we have this kind of heart? We often see our hearts being hard, like those on the wayside, in stony places, or having thorns. Our heart needs to be transformed and touched by God. He is the only one able to turn our heart from its condition to good soil (heart).

Of course, Jesus explained some of the parables in the New Testament, but the rest He left to us; I mean that we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that is Jesus Himself, need to find out the meaning of His word for our lives which in most cases will be on a personal level, speaking to us personally, but obviously not contradicting with the Bible doctrine. And we are not being presumptuous, but we state what the Bible says. And that is that He will send the counselor, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in all the truth (John 16:7). We can say that everything in the Bible can be used as a parable, understood in a comparative way. Because what actually is a parable? It is a comparison; it is something used as an example so that we can imagine in an easier way what God wants to tell us in our lives. I am not saying this as a pretext to avoid the direct meaning of the basic commandments in the Bible. The meaning and the Spirit of the Bible are always the same; the parable is more like a way to apply those commandments in our lives and to help us identify with the words in the Bible.

“I will open my mouth and speak in parables…” (Matthew 13:35)

To me, He was referring to many things, to most of the things He was saying, not only to certain parables He said in the New Testament. We must know that certain commandments He gave us and certain things to do were literal expressions; they were not parables. When God speaks to us, telling us precisely what to do and what not, as written in the Bible, it is obviously not a parable. We know the Bible is composed of historical facts that are true occurrences, but they can still be used as a comparison in our lives. We can find meaning today in some of the battles that occurred in the times of King David, for example. The meaning tells us that we need to consult with God before facing certain situations, just as David did before facing a battle, for example. Today, we are also facing battles, but spiritual ones. Without allowing the Spirit of God to work freely in us through His word and to speak in our lives, the Bible turns into a simple historical book without more meaning for us than the rest of the books. Obviously, there are great stories there, all of them, or at least most until now, historically proven, but the most important is that the Spirit of God has decided to manifest Himself to us through it.

A parable in the Bible or a word must have a personal meaning for the life of the believer. That personal meaning mustn’t go away or in another direction from the principal meanings and teachings of the Bible. If this happens, we can say the interpretation is wrong and dangerous. And the most important is that the interpretation must be revealed by the Spirit of God in the life of the believer. Without that vision and interpretation, we are dead; we cannot live a spiritual life.

It could happen that parables don’t necessarily have one specific meaning only. The believer can have a personal interpretation of a parable as long as that meaning doesn’t contradict the word of God and, most importantly – that the interpretation is given by the Spirit of God, the right Spirit, the Holy One. Certain parts of a parable will always have a specific meaning. These are like guidelines that are established. The seed in the parable of the sower will always signify the word of God, for example. Bread will, most of the time, signify God’s word or His presence, etc. Still, the rest of the details or the specific way the parable will talk to a person will depend on the situation he is in. Let’s see some of the parables in which we can find this situation.

“Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on the earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)

Here in this parable, for example, we see the kingdom of God compared to a small mustard seed that, after being sown, becomes a tree. Now, you would hear some people saying that the small seed growing and becoming greater than all herbs is something good, and you can also hear others saying that the kingdom of God mustn’t be overgrown or, better said, puffed up because the birds of the air that came under its shade are the sons of the evil one, thus being compared to the birds of Matthew 13 of the parable of the sower. Now, we need to see which of these two interpretations is right. The answer is neither of them, and both at the same time. It depends on the situation in which we are living and the way God wants to speak to us. As long as the interpretation of this or any other parable doesn’t contradict the rest of the Bible and is inspired, then it’s fine, as in the parables, we don’t see a specific teaching or commandment in that explains how we should conduct ourselves, but we rather see a comparison to something. That means that we can also call it a free space in which God wants to manifest Himself to us and reveal His word and will through His Spirit. This space is obviously limited by God’s sound doctrine, and it doesn’t go further than that. There, we find perfect freedom and deliverance for our soul and life.

We mustn’t necessarily stick to the specific interpretation given by someone of a certain parable, even though this might be right, but above all, we need to attain ourselves to the words of the Bible. I mean that we need to believe the interpretation that is scriptural and confirmed by the word itself. When I say not to stick to a certain interpretation, it doesn’t mean to exclude it but to remain open to the interpretation that God wants to give us. The only time we need to exclude certain interpretation is when it is wrong and not biblical. And the more confirmations we find in the rest of the word of God when we receive an explanation of a certain parable, the more we can be sure that we have received its right explanation and meaning.

We also need to consider that not everyone will necessarily receive the exact same point of view or explanation of a certain parable or scripture. But if it is in the right Spirit and confirmed by the Bible, then we can, and we need to agree with it. We need to know that when inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit, it might take various dimensions and directions, but it always leads toward God and not toward someone else’s glory. When the Holy Spirit leads us and gives us an explanation of a scripture, it does it through other scriptures. This way, the Bible explains itself. The message of God’s word is always directed to the right person, at the right time, and in the right way, obviously. When it doesn’t come from Him, then some of these indicators are not in their place, and it won’t profit the listener in most cases. That’s why we need to consider what others have to say about a scripture or a topic from the Bible. If it is inspired, it will contribute to our growth and help us. That’s why there is one body with different parts in it, and they help each other. We cannot carry on alone most of the time by ourselves. We also need someone to minister to us. Our personal revelation is essential, but we also need the word received and explained by someone else. Certain religious groups have specific explanations about a particular parable or word, and so we as Christians do as well, but we believe that the Holy Spirit will also speak in a personal way to the believer, always if it doesn’t contradict the rest of the word and glorifies God. If someone has received a word from God, then at least most other believers should agree with the word that person has received. This is also a way to see if that word was genuinely received from God. An exception should be if the other church members are not genuine believers, and for that reason, they would not agree. Still, we should always examine ourselves well if most of the other members don’t agree with a word we minister. In most cases, the fault might be in our faith and way of ministering, and not in their belief, but we need to examine the situation.

When the Holy Spirit speaks and explains to us a certain parable or word, in most cases or almost always, He brings other examples from the rest of the word to us. In this way, the Bible explains itself. We only need wisdom from above so that we can find the right meaning. The right meaning of the word of God always takes us to His glory. It exalts God.

Let’s notice the verses in Matthew 13:34, 35

“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

“I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”“

We can see that this was the way in which He was speaking to people. Through parables. When it says, “I will open my mouth in parables”, to me, it means that most of the time, He was going to speak to them in parables, and even today, He still speaks to people in this way. Without having a clear revelation of God and being born again, His word can still be a parable that we cannot comprehend to us. I’m referring to the whole word, or at least to most of it. It can still be veiled for us. And I’m not saying that a believer understands the whole word, but that he can at least grasp the meaning of what is needed for Him to understand. Without this revelation from God, the word remains veiled for us, and we might think that we understand it, but it is not really in this way.

This is what a parable is. Something veiled, something hidden, a secret to us. Even one simple word from any part of the Bible can be as a parable to us. But when it is revealed, it becomes an example of something and a comparison for us. Something that we can relate to. Something that can be applied in our daily life, in the situation in which we live. That’s why the Bible says that the word is alive (Hebrews 4:12). It reaches out to the depths of our hearts. The Bible was actual 2000 years ago and keeps on being till today.

Let’s take any other Christian books and literature, for example. They are written by authors, supposedly Christians, and it is good for us to read such books from time to time so that we can have better knowledge of certain aspects of the Christian life and the Bible. This is more like listening to a sermon when we go to a church. Obviously, we must always be cautious and examine well who we are listening to, and which books we read. The problem arises when Christians don’t make time to read their Bible and only stick with the book. It is good to read Christian books; we just mustn’t make our ultimate foundation on them but on the Bible. Why? Because they are someone else’s revelation of a certain word of God. This can help, touch us, or uplift us for a certain moment or time, but we need something more. I believe that each person needs to have his own revelation from the Bible, obviously given to him by God. When I say that each person needs to have his own revelation, I am not saying that he must have his own interpretation, but that he needs to hear the voice of God personally in his heart, giving him the right guidance and explanation of the Bible.

What we get from a book, or a preacher is also good for us and can help us, but every person needs to have also his own personal experience and revelation that Jesus is Christ, that Jesus is the Lord of his life. This revelation is something that we cannot just hear and learn from anyone else, and we need to receive it personally. Obviously, another person can minister to us, and we can also receive this revelation in that exact situation, but it will always be through the power of the Spirit.

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” “ (Matthew 16:13-17)

Here, we see one of the greatest revelations that Peter ever had. We see how great it is by the way it was praised by Jesus. It might not seem much of a revelation to us, as today you ask anyone you find, and he will be able to tell you that Jesus is Christ. And this is because we lost the meaning of it with time. This specific revelation is received by the believer at the moment when God opens his eyes to the truth, and he accepts it in his life. The meaning of Christ is actually “the anointed“, “the One“. This was the one that the Jews were waiting so long for. The one that was in most of the prophecies of the Old Testament.

This means that what Peter said then had real weight and importance. You couldn’t say that to anyone. It could have been like blasphemy. In today’s language and way of expression, the meaning of what Peter said would be that Jesus is the One and most important in our lives, that we need to follow Him with all our strength, that He is our hope, the One that can deliver us, the One in which we find all our solutions and the answers to our questions. Even if we say it sometimes, do we really mean it? Now, this is a revelation, and we can say He is the most important, but this can be revealed to us only by the Father. We may hear it from someone or see it in someone, but until it is not understood and revealed personally, we will never have it in us. That’s why Jesus also said that flesh and blood have not revealed this to Peter, but His Father, who is in heaven. This was the meaning of “Christ” at that time. I’m saying this to tell you how important the personal revelation received from God is in our lives. This is what we need to desire. The same is true with the revelation of His word as well. We must always feed ourselves with it and seek God to reveal its real meaning to us.

Sometimes, even things that are doctrinally right but said in the wrong way and in the wrong situation without the Spirit of God can be dangerous.

“He who is not with me is against Me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23)

This is what someone who proclaims the word of God without His Spirit does. He scatters. Even with all the good desires he might have, the word proclaimed by him, cannot edify in the right way.

We see that what is very important and fundamental is the word we receive to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. That's the right revelation, the right interpretation we can receive, said in the right place and time. When the revelation comes from God, it takes and points everything right - the situation, the time in which it is said, the person, and the place. This is the way how God has chosen to communicate with us – through His Spirit, through His wisdom. That’s why also, depending on the person or the situation, God can use a different kind of word and a way of interpretation, but always in the right context. That’s why when you hear a certain preacher, he will use a way to explain himself, different than the others and many times unique. I repeat that it must always be in the right meaning and Spirit. It is because the way that person uses to express himself has been given by God. There is a specific way through His Spirit to reach people that only God knows about according to each situation. He knows best how to do that and how to reach people. We are not able to do it. That’s why we need to trust in His wisdom for that. And all of these ways He uses that might seem different sometimes are not a contradiction as long as they come from Him. Whatever comes from Him is always confirmed by the Bible and doesn’t contradict it.

“Who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

We also obviously have to compare sometimes whether the revelations and interpretations we receive are in the same Spirit with the great men of God used by Him throughout history—genuine believers and men of God acknowledged by the rest of the body of Christ.

Jesus left these parables, He left His word for us, and He’s got a particular word and teaching for everyone, even if there are so many different and unique persons in the world. The variety of His word and wisdom administered by His Spirit can reach each one. The Author and the Creator of all the creation, with its variety, is able to reach each one of us, being different from one another. Even being administered in such a personal way, His words always abide by what He is, go together in the same Spirit and confirm each other.

He wants us to find the meaning and to have desire and thirst to find it out. Still, it must be revealed. We must never rush up and make up our own interpretation. God doesn’t like it when we are not patient with Him or when we do something on our own without waiting for His instructions. The same thing happened to King Saul when he didn’t wait for Samuel the prophet.

“As for some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offering here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplications to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:7-14)

Here, we see King Saul making a sacrifice to God instead of waiting for Samuel to do it, as it was supposed to be done. It was a good intention and desire but without God’s approval and guidance. Many religions were also born in this way, I believe, when man took the place of God and started to do things on his own, without waiting on God and His directions.

We also see in v. 8 that the people were scattered from King Saul. That may have worried him, and he rushed to make a sacrifice just not to lose his position of authority. He indeed was an authority, but he had to represent a much major authority other than him, which was God. Instead of worrying about what the people would think about him or how they would see him, he was supposed to encourage them to have faith in God and to wait on Him, but somehow, he wasn’t representing that. He was more worried about what others would think of him, and perhaps until that moment, he was more representing his own image than God’s image to them. We can also see in some of the following chapters of 1 Samuel that he made a monument for himself (1 Samuel 15:12). He was really worried about his personality. This is the attitude King Saul had.

That is one of the reasons he didn’t have patience while waiting for Samuel to perform a sacrifice to the Lord in the way it was supposed to happen. We mustn’t commit the same mistake as him and not be patient to wait for the Lord in our lives. Patience, so that He can accomplish His work in our lives in the way He wants to. The most important thing is patience to receive and to act afterward as He wants and not in our way, even though done with a “good” purpose.

It can be painful at times and sometimes we may also not receive as much as we expected, but we need to see or act according to what we have received or understood from God. If we don’t have as much as we expected, then we mustn’t act as if we have more; rather, we must see the reason why we only have so much. The problem is when we start to act and do things our way and think that we have more than what we really have from God in our lives. The last part of the verse in Luke 8:18 can be applied to this situation.

“and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken away from him.”

This verse speaks about somebody assuming to have something. Sometimes, there is a period of spiritual silence in our lives, and we don’t hear or receive as much from God, but then, let it be this way! I mean that we mustn’t necessarily look to have more and act as if we already have it. Obviously, we must ask God to give us an answer and give us more of His presence, but we also need to examine ourselves and see the reasons why we haven’t received much and if we have to accept the present situation or keep asking for more of Him. God doesn’t prohibit us from asking more of Him; He just doesn’t like it when we act as if we have already received something. This way, we deceive ourselves. The problem is that sometimes, we don’t want to see ourselves as weak or having little. The man, in general, always wants to be in control. That’s the major problem.

Knowing this, we need to wait on the revelation of God in our lives and have faith as well. Faith has to do with His word. With hearing it and understanding it.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

As we see here, hearing the word of God produces faith in us. When we say “hearing,” we don’t mean just listening, but hearing. That has to do with understanding as well. It is the same hearing that Jesus was referring to in Matthew 13:9: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Faith goes hand in hand with the word of God, and often, that word inspires us toward faith in Him.

It shows us our needs and poverty and gives us promises—all of this for His glory. Therefore, the word takes us to the faith, or either way, the faith shows us His word through His Spirit working in us. We need to desire to hear it, wait on Him, and leave ourselves to be molded by Him. We need to leave ourselves in His hands and in His way.

We can also see another passage, which is found in Matthew 13:10-15.

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’” 

This is the part after where His disciples ask Him about the reason why He is talking to the multitude in parables. It happened after He told them the parable of the sower. Let’s focus on the prophecy of Isaiah He quoted, specifically in the last part where it says: “lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”

Why does it say here that they were not going to understand and be healed and that He spoke for this reason to them in parables? Because this is the phrase He is using before quoting Isaiah: “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13)

It was as if He didn’t want to let them understand so easily. Why is it that He didn’t make His word already understandable to all people out there?

He made it in this way so that only those who believed could understand it; only through faith, which is the way to have our heart as good ground, being clean from everything else that disturbs, we can understand His word. Faith and hearing the word always go together. One needs the other. By making healing impossible and His word not understandable without faith, He wanted to push the people to believe. He wanted to spark and incite that faith in them. He did this because only by faith we can be saved, and His primal desire for us is to be saved and have communion with Him. He could have made healing and understanding possible without faith and without having a relationship with Him, but then people would have missed the most precious – having faith by which they are saved. That’s why if He sometimes denies things from us, it is because He loves us and wants to encourage us to seek faith. That’s why there are all these mysteries and situations in which we don’t know how to react or face them. So that we can have faith!

Why is having faith so important? Because in this way, we can get saved. This shows that He is interested in us having faith and being saved. This is the reason for which He does things and wants to work in our lives. Because this is the way. Faith implies depending on Him; it means having our sight placed in Him. In this way, we can be together with Him, which is the purpose of all. Just imagine if we could understand everything so easily or if we could always live easily and comfortably and in the way we prefer. Yes, it would be easier, but without having faith and desiring God. That’s why He wasn’t interested for them just to be healed or to understand everything, but rather to have faith first and then to understand and to be healed. Why? Because faith in God has eternal value and can save us.

So, if today you are going through some moments you can’t understand or don’t know the reasons for certain things, consider all this a way to get closer to God and grow in the faith. He has a purpose. He has good purposes for us. Let us be as the group of people who followed Him and could slowly but surely understand His word.


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