Today I read in Matthew 13 which is a chapter where Jesus sits down again and teaches the crowds and disciples. But the neat thing this time is that Jesus speaks in parables. Parables are stories that teach some moral or spiritual truth but in a "story-like" way. Same kind of thing that preachers may do today when they tell stories about their life and connect it to their sermon.
The first thing I asked this morning was why did Jesus teach in all these riddles and stories? Why not just come right out with it and say what he wanted to say. And Jesus kind of answers this in chapter 13: "To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given." (vs. 11)
Here is what my Bible commentary says about this whole idea of Jesus speaking in parables. Jesus spoke in stories and parables as a way to see if people's hearts were responsive to the kingdom of God. We can see the disciples were because they constantly asked Jesus for explanation or clarification as they sat and listened to him. But for other people it would have hardened their hearts and they didn't respond to Jesus' teaching.
That made sense in my head when I read it. Jesus gave out little nuggets of truth in his stories and waited for people to come to him. I love that about Jesus! Too often we think as Christians we need to shove truth down people's throats but I don't think that is the model Jesus gave us. He even let the rich young ruler walk away when he couldn't follow Jesus by selling all he had. AND Jesus let him walk away!
Maybe as Christians we have got to give nuggets of truth to people and wait for them to accept the truth of Jesus. That way when they are ready to hear it, they will ask. Not to say we give up evangelizing but maybe we need to not be so harsh with how we do it. It seems thats what Jesus did.