I speak to them in parables

Rich Dixon has us thinking about pictures today.


Ever wonder why Jesus used parables as a teaching device?

During Lent I’ve been thinking about how we think about God. I’ve used calculus and a movie script to illustrate how we create pictures and stories to illustrate and enhance our understanding.

Thinking about God is a good thing. I need to do more of it. But, as Jon said, “the pictures we carry of God” matter.

And – they’re pictures. They aren’t the real thing.

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Jesus existed forever with His Father’s infinite perspective. As a fully human person He also experienced what you and I experience. He knew first-hand our limited ability to see as God sees.

I don’t know how that works. But I think Jesus understood our need for word pictures. So He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like…”

  • A man sowing seeds
  • A mustard seed
  • A king
  • Yeast
  • A net
  • Treasure
  • A landowner

The list continues, and we’re left to wonder what in the world could possibly be like a mustard seed, and a king, and a net, and all those other items at the same time. Which is exactly the point. Nothing in this world is like those things, but Jesus wasn’t describing this world.

Sometimes you and I wonder why He left so many questions unanswered, why so much mystery remains.

What if the gospel message is so awesome, so enormous, that it’s literally indescribable in terms we can understand? What if the kingdom of heaven is so unlike anything in our experience that even our deepest understanding will be dwarfed when we actually experience it.

When we encounter something that’s beyond our comprehension, one possible reaction is to make it artificially smaller so we can pretend to understand.

Another response is to fall to our knees and worship.