He taught by using stories, many stories. Mark 4:2b (The Message)
"Tell me a story, Grams" she begs, snuggled beneath cozy covers. So I begin to spin my yarn from the beginning and just when I whisper, "the end," her eyes open wide begging for another.
In wakeful hours, I find this little, animated storyteller herself, "reading" amongst piles of picture books. Her insatiable craving for story fosters learning through imagination that trickles down mastered skills, life lessons, and truths.
Knowledge disguised as entertainment, story is a powerful tool that offers us freedom to ponder, imagine and voluntarily apply the hidden lesson to our own experience. A good story teaches on two levels: first, it's entertaining to the immature audience, and secondly, it teaches a lesson. Children's authors write for both children and adult audiences. Successful story entertains a child's imagination through relateable characters and experiences but also grabs the adult reader's attention through life lessons.
Jesus was a fan of story, too. He was a master storyteller teaching primarily through parables (short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson). His stories left the immature listener entertained--sometimes scratching their heads. But mature listeners--the ones pricked by the Holy Spirit, made ready to receive truth--chewed on Jesus' hidden morsels of soul food-- turned his words over in their minds, questioned him further, pressed him for more depth.
Jesus' storytelling, recorded in the four gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), revealed his true followers--those ready to accept and apply Kingdom truths to their lives. Age, education and societal rank did not presume maturity. Rather, Jesus spoke of wisdom as a gift from God:
"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." Luke 10:21
As we read Jesus' stories today, let's ask the Holy Spirit to prick our ears to hear, our eyes to see, our minds to understand and our hearts to accept God's truth. Jesus' words, like all of Scripture, were God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, training, and equipping us to live righteously.
"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." Luke 10:23
Lord, thank you the freedom to receive your truth through stories. Thank you for creative imagination partnered with your gift of wisdom that teaches us your truth through the written and spoken word. May we search and find all your hidden morsels.