Jesus spoke in parables. When he taught the people, he used stories. But why did he use parables?

McLaren believes, “Parables entice their hearers into new territory. If they goal is an interactive relationship . . . a parable succeeds where easy answers and obvious explanations couldn’t.”

Parables cause the listeners to engage. It takes work to understand what Jesus was saying. Frequently Jesus’ disciples didn’t get the message. He had to explain to them what he was talking about. So, why not easy answers? Why not give it to them straight? McLaren argues that Jesus was not just aiming for the mind, but the heart. He writes:

“If it’s the heart that counts, then hearts can’t be coerced; nobody can be forced. They can be invited, attracted, intrigued, enticed, and challenged–but not forced. And that, perhaps, is the greatest genius of a parable: it doesn’t grab you by the lapels and scream in your face, ‘Repent, you vile sinner! Turn or burn!’ Rather, it works gently, subtly, indirectly. It respects your dignity. It doesn’t batter you into submission but leaves you free to discover and choose for yourself.”