Jesus spoke to His disciples in parables.
He used the parables in different ways, but He always had a purpose for His use of parables.
He explained to the twelve why he spoke in parables. For those who have “spiritual ears,” parables enlighten, make plain, and give understanding. For those without ears to hear and who refuse to accept the truth, parables obfuscate.
Like the parable of the soils (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23), the effect has to do with the soil, or in this case the hearer. Unreceptive soil cannot bring forth a harvest, but good soil (receptive soil) brings an amazing harvest–30, 60, or 100 fold. In Jesus day, a ten fold harvest would have been good.
The application for you and me is this: “Do I have ears to hear?” and “Am I receptive soil to the seed of God’s Word?” God wants to make His Word plain to us but our receptivity determines the outcome.
Jesus described the Gospel as a treasure (Matthew 13:44-46).
Why is this such an apt description for the good news of God?
Jesus used three parables to describe the treasure that comes from faith.
First, Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a person walking through a field and observing an amazing treasure. He describes how the person does everything in his power to buy the field. He sells all he has to obtain this one prize.
That is what the Gospel is like. It becomes an amazing and wonderful obsession.
Second, Jesus compared the kingdom to a pearl of inestimable value. For the buyer, nothing is as important as the “pearl of great price.”
Third, Jesus compared the kingdom with a fisherman casting a net (Matthew 13:47-50). Though the fisherman may have an idea what he will catch, he really doesn’t know until the net is drawn. Jesus spoke of catching fish of every “kind.” The phrase literally means “fish of every race,” an obvious reference to people of all nations becoming part of God’s kingdom.
The Gospel is such a treasure because it brings people of every “tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). It is not limited. It is for all. But even in this case, it is for those who seek God by opening their ears and hearts to Him.
The work God has done in me is a treasure of inestimable value. It has not been limited by my limitations. It has been free to me and to people of all languages and nations.