Christian Religious Studies JSSCE

The parable

Parable is a short, simple story that teaches a moral or religious lesson. A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables have human characters. A parable is a type of analogy. In religion it is an earthly story with spiritual and moral lessons tasking man to cultivate godly behaviors in life. A parable is, literally, something “cast alongside” something else. Jesus’ parables were stories that were “cast alongside” a truth in order to illustrate that truth. His parables were teaching aids and can be thought of as extended analogies or inspired comparisons. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

For a time in His ministry, Jesus relied heavily on parables. He told many of them; in fact, according to Mark 4:34a, “He did not say anything to them without using a parable.” There are about 35 of Jesus’ parables recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.

It had not always been that way. In the early part of His ministry, Jesus had not used parables. Suddenly, He begins telling parables exclusively, much to the surprise of His disciples, who asked Him, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” (Matthew 13:10).

Why Jesus Taught in Parables

  1. The society Jesus found Himself used parables as a means of passing wisdom and history.
  2. The people like stories, that is why they found parables interesting. It is easier to remember.
  3. He taught in parable in  order to catch the attention of the society
  4. He used parables to teach His disciples the secrets of the kingdom of God hidden from other classes of people.

Parable of the Lost Sheep

One day tax collectors and sinners gathered round Jesus to listen to Him. The Pharisees and scribes were sad. They started murmuring why Jesus was receiving sinners and even eating with them. Jesus heard this and told them the parable of the lost sheep.

He wondered what man of their status, having one hundred sheep, if he happened to have lost one of them would not leave the remaining ninety nine in the wilderness and go out in search of the one that was missing until he found it. And he had found it; he would carry it on his shoulders rejoicing. And he had reached home he would call his friends and say to them: “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost”. Jesus concluded by telling them that in the same manner there would be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who needs no repentance.


  1. This also means that God really wants us to repent and turn to Him.
  2. The kingdom of God is always open to welcome repentant sinners.
  3. Do not discriminate and condemn sinners
  4. Don’t judge other people
  5. If you are an addicted sinner Jesus is looking for you, make yourself available by repenting from your sins


  1. Define parable
  2. Mention the reasons Jesus used parables to pass His message
  3. What have learnt from the parable of the lost sheep?

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