Jesus Christ testified of Himself saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6). The Apostle Peter spoke of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ and through Him alone saying: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
The Bible teaches us that Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21, 1 Peter 1:1-2), and according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23-24), He was crucified on Calvary’s cross and became the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all those who believe in Him. He is the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11), for those “who are beloved of God” and “called as saints” (Romans 1:7), and then on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Luke 24:46-47, Hebrews 8:1).
The Apostle John testified about Jesus saying: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). John said again about Jesus: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).
The Apostle Paul taught us that our faith in Christ comes about through our hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). However, Jesus revealed that not everyone is able hear and understand His words (John 8:43-45), but to those who have been given ears to hear, Jesus said, “let them hear” (Matthew 13:9, 23).
Jesus’ teachings are all given for the benefit of His sheep, God’s elect, who have been given eyes to see and ears to hear and understand His words. (Matthew 13:16). These will all hear His voice and follow Him as He calls each of them out by name (John 10:3). Jesus’ sheep are those whom the Father has given to Him; they will all come to Him, and none will be lost (John 6:37, John 10:29, Matthew 18:14).
Jesus often delivered His teaching in the form of parables, to mixed crowds of people. Some in the crowds were numbered among God’s elect, but others were not (John 6:63-65, 10:26). Jesus revealed the reason that He spoke to the crowds in parables, as we will see when we begin our study of His teachings with the parable of the sower in the first chapter of this book.
Jesus’ parables used analogies or metaphors to compare things in the natural world with which everyone was familiar, to parallel spiritual truths. The connection between the natural figure or symbol and the spiritual lesson that He communicated was not clear to many, and sometimes it was not immediately clear to His disciples. However, Jesus explained the parables to His disciples when He was alone with them because they were among those who had been given eyes to see and ears to hear.
As those who have been called to faith in Jesus Christ, we also are among those who have been given eyes to see, and ears to hear and understand His words. Therefore, let us now look prayerfully and intently into His teachings, so that we may understand what God our Father has done for us when He called us to faith in His Son.