The Purpose of Parables
What was Jesus doing when he told parables? The immediate answers is Jesus was stories stories about the kingdom of God. N.T. Wright fill this out:
The parables are not simply information about the kingdom, but are part of the means of bringing it to birth. They not a second-order activity, talking about what is happening at one remove. They are part of the primary activity itself. They do not merely give people something to think about. They invite people into the new world that is being created, and warn of dire consequences if the invitation is refused. Jesus’ telling of these stories is one of the key ways in which the kingdom breaks in upon Israel, redefining itself as it does so. They also function, for the same reason, as explanation and defense of what Jesus is doing… The parables are not merely theme, they are also performance. They do not merely talk about the divine offer of mercy; they both make the offer, and defend Jesus’ right to make it.
-N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 176.
For an comprehensive analysis of Jesus’ parables, see