One may get the wrong impression about God if thinking Jesus desired to be purposely mysterious at times in interacting with others. Does God think we aren’t capable of knowing God fully? Oh how I wish I had the abilities of Nathan to reach those who initially reject the straightforward truth about their actions. King David was knee deep in cover-up mood (2 Sam. 11). David saw Bathsheba, wanted Bathsheba, had Bathsheba, found out Bathsheba was pregnant, brought her husband Uriah back from war to lay with his wife but he wouldn’t, so then David sought to have Uriah killed at war without knowing he was set up by King David.
Nathan would not have gotten anywhere with David telling him directly he had sinned with Bathsheba and he needed to repent. David was not about to admit he had done anything wrong. In his mind this was one big secret that David hoped to take to his grave. So, Nathan told David a story of two people, one with power over the other and how the powerful took advantage of the less power for his own gain. David then pronounced his indignation and judgment on the evil done by the powerful. “Then Nathan said to David. “You are the man!”… (2 Sam 12: 7). Whoops! Many times we will deny our immoral behavior. We will condemn others for their actions before realizing that our own actions are just as despicable.
Now, we may better understand why Jesus spoke in parables. Jesus’ teachings were not intentionally mysterious as if His ways are not understandable. Jesus would have preferred to not talk in parables but in straightforward ways, but human nature sometimes requires different ways to convince people for their own good. Like with children sometimes, straight talk falls on deaf ears. Parables are a different approach to get to the heart of a matter. Mark 4: 11-12 doesn’t suggest Jesus keeps secrets: “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be every seeing but never perceiving…” Jesus had just said: “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (verse 9). God’s direct message often is only perplexing to one’s heart not the mind.
Jesus used parables to not reveal Himself as the Messiah directly as He didn’t want to limit His ministry before having to accept His fate. Parables also served other purposes with Jesus’ audience. Directness is over-done sometimes. Directness often goes in one ear and out the other. Parables cause us to continually think of a subject to try to understand and eventually accept the application in one’s life. Parables, rather than directness, can stir those that may be interested and simply drive the uninterested away. Sometimes, we cannot understand Jesus’ parables at one point in our life but when open-minded to spiritual matters, we may more readily accept Jesus’ claims to always have our best interest in mind.