Jesus Wanted Us to Think for Ourselves

Parables of Jesus

For many people, it is difficult to read things about their religion that question what their parents and church have taught them all their lives. However, those same people do not know that Jesus advocated for people to think about such things.

Jesus liked to use parables when he spoke to groups of people. He wanted people to open their eyes and see the truth. However, the New Testament reports that when asked why he spoke in parables, Jesus said, “in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’” Mark 4:12. Jesus was quoting from the Prophets:

Isaiah 6:9
He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.

Isaiah 43:8
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.

Jeremiah 5:21
Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear.

Jeremiah 36:3
Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.

Ezekiel 12:2
Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.

These words are put in Jesus’ mouth in all four of the Gospels. The Gospel writers were intent on demonstrating that Jesus was the one prophesied in the Old Testament. Certainly, Jesus did know from his knowledge of the Prophets that all people wouldn’t do the work required to understand him. However, doing the work necessary to understand the truth that Jesus spoke is at the heart of Jesus’ use of parables.

Jesus spoke in parables because to understand them, you have to think deeply about them. You have to test them against real-life experience. Jesus wanted the people to think for themselves and test his words, not just accept them blindly as they did with the the words of the rabbis and the Temple priests who were authority figures to them. Jesus knew that the only thing that would convince a people to change their way of thinking and give up old ways that had been grilled into them by the Jewish authority figures of the time was to do the work necessary to understand his parables.

Christians today have had some ever increasing, erroneous notions put forth to them by the church for almost two thousand years, including editing the original New Testament manuscripts and the putting of insertions into them. These erroneous notions are very hard to change in Christians just as it was hard to change the erroneous notions that the Jews of Jesus’ time had.

By use of parables, Jesus was saying that we should do the work of getting to the true meaning of both his words and his God’s words. We should not just blindly accept what authority figures teach us. We should test it all to see if it holds up as the truth based on what our intelligence and life experience tells us. Unlike what most churches have told us, it is not a sin to question and test everything, rather than to accept it all blindly from so-called authority figures.

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