Stories Jesus Told
Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around Him, so He got into a boat. Then He sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables… (Mark 4:1-2, NLT)
Jesus was the master storyteller. His stories—shared with audiences of thousands or just a few—were compelling, captivating, penetrating, and world-changing. Even today, nearly 2000 years after the words were originally spoken, His stories continue to speak with life-altering power.
Those who heard Jesus speak were mesmerized. Hanging on every word, they were in awe of the wisdom and authority with which He spoke. Though some resisted and rejected His message, no one could deny the impact He had on His hearers.
Parable παραβολή (parabolē) – to compare, to throw, to lay alongside.
Storytelling was a primary tool Jesus used when proclaiming His message. Through the use of stories, known as parables, He revealed the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. As He laid spiritual truths and moral lessons alongside narrative stories, Jesus conveyed those truths and lessons to those who would listen.
Nobody told stories better than Jesus, whether expressed within a single verse or recorded in a longer passage. Discover the richness of His parables by exploring the 36 parables contained in the New Testament:
- The Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29)
- Two Debtors Have their Debts Forgiven (Luke 7:41-43)
- The Lamp under a Bowl (Matthew 5:14-15; Mark 4:21-25; Luke 8:16-18)
- The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37)
- The Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8)
- The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
- The Wise and the Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49)
- New Wine into Old Wineskins (Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-39)
- The Strong Man (Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21-22)
- The Seeds and the Soil (Matthew 13:3-9; Mark 4:3-9; Luke 8:5-8)
- The Wheat and Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30)
- The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
- The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19)
- The Yeast (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21)
- The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)
- The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46)
- The Fishing Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
- The Cost of Building a Tower (Luke 14:28-33)
- The Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-6)
- The Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:23-35)
- The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-9)
- The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32)
- The Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-13)
- The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
- The Master and Servant (Luke 17:7-10)
- The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)
- The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:10-14)
- The Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1-16)
- The Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)
- The Evil Farmers (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16)
- The Great Feast (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24)
- The Fig Tree Sprouting Leaves (Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33)
- The Faithful Servant (Matthew 24:45-51; Mark 13:34-37; Luke 12:35-48)
- The Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
- The Three Servants (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27)
- The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
The messages contained in these parables have in no small measure defined Western Civilization. They have become part of our psyche, even as their truths continue to spread around the globe. From time to time, even those who are unfamiliar with the origin of these stories may find themselves repeating the stories or the messages revealed through them.
Follow the links and check out these parables for yourself. Allow the stories of Jesus to speak into your life today.