I find it interesting that Jesus spoke so much in parables. He’d give “pictures” of things in a story rather than just lecturing with words and information. Ever wonder why? One reason — because God gave us a unique brain.
The brain has two distinctive sides — the left and right — and each one has distinctive functions. The left is more organized with facts, figures and sequencing, and the right is more artistic with creativity, imagination, and intuition. So if you think about Jesus trying to explain the kingdom of God, His Father, or just the idea of Him being the Son of God, it’s not really within the realm of our logical thinking.
How does it seem logical that God’s Son would come to save the world by having to die a gruesome death? And how does it seem logical that Jesus would have to go away in order to send the Holy Spirit to us? (Which, by the way, we can’t see yet He lives inside of us — explain that too!) Do we fully understand these things by reasoning in our minds? I think not.
So thinking isn’t always the key with God. That’s the left side of the brain. Try engaging your right side and see if the stories Jesus tells don’t make more sense.
For example, take the parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus could have given a lesson about how Father God really, really, really loves us. That no matter what we could possibly do, the facts state that He’ll still love us. And though that would be a good message, it doesn’t necessarily get “into” us. It has to make the eighteen inch journey from our head to our heart — which can be an extremely long process at times. So rather than knowledge and evidence, Jesus presents a story for us to relate to.
Jesus told numerous stories about the kingdom of God too — it’s like a mustard seed, you have to be like a little child to receive it, it’s here right now, it’s within you, etc. Parables (stories with a lesson) are usually perceived through the right side of the brain, that artsy side. If we try to understand God’s ways through reasoning and rationalization — the left side of the brain — it’s can be difficult. Yes, we do use the left side for studying the Word, research, and many other things, but some things about the kingdom of God we just can’t lean on our own understanding. (Prov. 3:5) We simply have to trust Him. His ways are higher than ours. (Is.55:8,9)
Stories connect with our heart. Why else do we cry, or laugh, or feel sad when someone is emotionally sharing their testimony? We “feel” it! Just like movies and books, stories engage our hearts. And that’s what Jesus came to do — to capture our hearts, not our heads.
That’s also why the best teachers and speakers use their real-life testimonies —their stories grab our hearts so we understand internally; we truly feel what they’re saying and we can relate to it.
The stories we tell — our testimonies — also have power. Rev. 12:11 says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Our stories connect and touch the hearts of others which enables them to see Jesus and come to know Him.
If you’re ever at a loss of knowing what to say to anyone concerning Jesus, tell them one of your stories of salvation, healing, provision, or comfort, and watch how the Spirit draws them to Him through it.