I always thought parables in the Bible were used because they by-pass abstract thinking and speech – that is they had a universality and everyday rootedness – and helped in the business of communicating to as many people as possible, but just look again;
The Purpose of Jesus’ Parables – (Mark 4:10-12)
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. -0-
a) ‘They’ were presumably those who not only didn’t ‘get it’ but might be enemies?
b) The followers did ‘get it’ – the others didn’t.
c) If you have knowledge of the ‘mysteries of the kingdom of heaven’ you ‘shall have more abundance’.
d) Verse 13 – is it that those who don’t get it just treat the teachings as (harmless?) children’s stories – so that in this respect they are like a code or secret language.
e) The reference to Esaias in effect presents the difference between physical and spiritual forms of seeing and hearing.
f) Verse 15 tells us that lack of spiritual seeing and hearing is a form of blindness and deafness.
g) Verse 17 is astonishing – you can be righteous or even a prophet and still not ‘get it’, for want of spiritual seeing and hearing!
Fr. Richard Rohr is brilliant on this subject – SEE http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fr-richard-rohr/three-ways-to-view-the-su_b_822092.html