Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 1: Teaching in Parables
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So wide was Christ's view of truth, so extended His
teaching, that every phase of nature was employed in
illustrating truth. The scenes upon which the eye daily
rests were all connected with some spiritual truth, so that
nature is clothed with the parables of the Master.
In the earlier part of His ministry, Christ had spoken to
the people in words so plain that all His hearers might have
grasped truths which would make them wise unto salvation.
But in many hearts the truth had taken no root, and it had
been quickly caught away. "Therefore speak I to them
in parables." He said; "because they seeing see not; and
hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. . . .
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are
dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed." Matt.
Jesus desired to awaken inquiry. He sought to arouse [p. 21] the careless, and impress truth upon the heart. Parable
teaching was popular, and commanded the respect and attention,
not only of the Jews, but of the people of other nations.
No more effective method of instruction could He have
employed. If His hearers had desired a knowledge of divine
things, they might have understood His words; for He was
always willing to explain them to the honest inquirer.
Again, Christ had truths to present which the people
were unprepared to accept or even to understand. For this
reason also He taught them in parables. By connecting
His teaching with the scenes of life, experience, or nature,
He secured their attention and impressed their hearts.
Afterward, as they looked upon the objects that illustrated
His lessons, they recalled the words of the divine Teacher.
To minds that were open to the Holy Spirit, the significance
of the Saviour's teaching unfolded more and more. Mysteries
grew clear, and that which had been hard to grasp
Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using
a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its
different phases, but appealed to the different hearers.
Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the
surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the [p. 22] Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten.
The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a
voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.
And He had another reason for teaching in parables.
Among the multitudes that gathered about Him, there were
priests and rabbis, scribes and elders, Herodians and
rulers, world-loving, bigoted, ambitious men, who desired
above all things to find some accusation against Him.
Their spies followed His steps day after day, to catch from
His lips something that would cause His condemnation,
and forever silence the One who seemed to draw the world
after Him. The Saviour understood the character of these
men, and He presented truth in such a way that they could
find nothing by which to bring His case before the Sanhedrim.
In parables He rebuked the hypocrisy and wicked
works of those who occupied high positions, and in figurative
language clothed truth of so cutting a character that
had it been spoken in direct denunciation, they would not
have listened to His words, and would speedily have put
an end to His ministry. But while He evaded the spies,
He made truth so clear that error was manifested, and the
honest in heart were profited by His lessons. Divine
wisdom, infinite grace, were made plain by the things
of God's creation. Through nature and the experiences
of life, men were taught of God. "The invisible things of
Him since the creation of the world," were "perceived
through the things that are made, even His everlasting
power and divinity." Rom. 1:20, R. V.
In the Saviour's parable teaching is an indication of
what constitutes the true "higher education." Christ might
have opened to men the deepest truths of science. He
might have unlocked mysteries which have required many
centuries of toil and study to penetrate. He might have
made suggestions in scientific lines that would have [p. 23] afforded food for thought and stimulus for invention to the
close of time. But He did not do this. He said nothing
to gratify curiosity, or to satisfy man's ambition by opening
doors to worldly greatness. In all His teaching, Christ
brought the mind of man in contact with the Infinite Mind.
He did not direct the people to study men's theories about
God, His word, or His works. He taught them to behold
Him as manifested in His works, in His word, and by His
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