Masterful Parables: The Language of Supremacy in Christ’s Parables -- By: Anonymous
PRJ 3:2 (July 2011) p. 31
Masterful Parables: The Language of
Supremacy in Christ’s Parables
Gerald M. Bilkes
It is widely agreed that the parables proclaim the kingdom of God.1 This conclusion is difficult to avoid when Christ Himself said so (Matt. 11:12; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).2 However, few have pursued the
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question how Christ’s parables promote the kingdom of God. In other words, exactly how did Christ extend the rule of God through the parables? How did He master hearts by the parables?
One reason this angle of inquiry has not received its due is because many blunt the force of Christ’s assertion in Mark 4:12:“That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”3 The obvious meaning of this statement is that the parables serve God’s sovereign work in graciously allowing some to understand and causing others to reject Christ.4 Many, however, are unwilling to admit God’s sovereignty operates behind both the revealing and the concealing of truth. They claim instead that Jesus spoke in parables to make His teaching easy, simple, and alluring for all people to embrace.5 This then is also how people generally understand the parables. It can only be wondered, however, why then so many failed to appreciate His parables, especially those in authority (e.g., Matt. 21:45-46).
It is striking that most sources on the parables fail to take account of the datum of authority, supremacy, or power.6 In this brief
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article, I wish to offer a corrective. I contend that the parables are clear instances of Christ subtly but decidedly reasserting the sovereignty of God by, first, assuming the stance of a sovereign Revealer to ignorant man; second, unveiling God’s sovereign salvation to fallen man; and third, announcing to perishing man that he is the object of God’s sovereign judgment.
Supremacy and Revelation
Christ was not the first to tell parables as a function of rule and authority. It was the territory of kings t...
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