Jesus was a master storyteller. He, like other rabbinic teachers, knew that storytelling is a highly effective teaching method. Parables proved a speaker’s point by inviting listeners to immerse themselves in the story and arrive at the conclusion themselves. Logical arguments, on the other hand invite defensive refutation leave listeners unmoved emotionally.
Thousands of parables exist in rabbinic literature that were based on similar themes as Jesus. They too preached about farmers, shepherds, kings and banquets. Almost all of them come from after Jesus’ time. But we can still learn about Jesus’ teaching by hearing how others preached with similar stories.
Below are some reflections on the stories of Jesus (and others) that reveal the power of a good parable.