Jesus told a lot of stories. God’s Word uses the term “parables,” but that really just means stories that convey a deeper lesson or wisdom. These stories were simple enough for a child to grasp and yet full of insight and depth to capture the attention of even highly educated leaders of the day. Teaching through stories was very common in the first century as only the educated and elite were literate.
But what made these stories so powerful? Jesus spoke the language of the people. He didn’t use words and concepts only the religious elite would understand. No, He spoke in ways that not only connected with the culture of the day, but also turned their worldview on its head. Jesus spoke of God’s relentless love through the story of a shepherd leaving his flock to seek out a single lost sheep (Luke 15). He spoke of the magnitude of God’s forgiveness and redemption through the portrayal of a father’s love towards his rebellious son returning home after having squandered his inheritance (Luke 15: 11-32). Jesus even taught on the importance of living with an eternal perspective rather than focusing solely on the momentary pleasures of the day, through the story of a rich man who stored up his “wealth” in giant barns, only to leave it all behind at the end of his life (Luke 12: 15-21).
As followers of Jesus, we too are called to share the truth of Jesus with others in a language and in ways that are understood. One way to do that is through stories. What story of Jesus are you telling? You might want to start with the story of how Jesus changed your life.