Chapter 25: Truths from the Savior’s Parables in Matthew 13
Share with the class one of Aesop’s Fables. Here is a good one,
The Lion and the Mouse
Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him. “Pardon, O King,” cried the little Mouse, “forgive me this time. I shall never forget it. Who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?” The Lion was so tickled by the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted his paw and let him go. Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him in. Just then the little Mouse happened to stop by, and seeing the sad plight that the Lion was in, went to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. “Was I not right?” said the little Mouse.
Ask the class what the moral of this story is. Then ask what the advantages and disadvantages are to teaching using this method. (List some of their answers on the board) Is it better to just say “Little friends may prove great friends?” Today we are going to discuss how Jesus taught in a similar way using parables.
At this point I would split the class into four sections and assign each group one of the parables. Have them go to Matthew 13 and read over their parable. Then be ready to discuss the main lesson of each parable. Give the class about 3-4 minutes. (They don’t necessarily have to discuss it with their groups. You can have them do this if you like, but in some classes this can prove to be ineffective.) Then go through each parable and share the important points. As a teacher you have to be prepared to tie in what they say to what Joseph Smith is teaching. I have included some of the main points from the lesson for each parable. Just make sure to always tie back to the lesson material from things that the class says.
Parable of the Sower
Men who have no principle of righteousness in themselves, and whose hearts are full of iniquity, and have no desire for the principles of truth, do not understand the word of truth when they hear it. The devil taketh away the word of truth out of their hearts, because there is no desire for righteousness in them.
You can discuss here the importance of our desires and how we show that we do have a “desire for righteousness” in us.
Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
As the servants of God go forth warning the nations, both priests and people, and as they harden their hearts and reject the light of truth, these first being delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, and the law and the testimony being closed up, … they are left in darkness, and delivered over unto the day of burning; thus being bound up by their creeds, and their bands being made strong by their priests, [they] are prepared for the fulfillment of the saying of the Savior—‘The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.’ [Matthew 13:41–42.]
Here Joseph teaches that the thing that binds the wicked are their own “creeds.” How can false beliefs and actions cause us to be bound or lose freedom? Could this possibly apply to some people who are members of the Church? How do we protect against it?
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
“The … clouds of darkness have long been beating like mountain waves upon the immovable rock of the Church of the Latter-day Saints; and notwithstanding all this, the mustard seed is still towering its lofty branches, higher and higher, and extending itself wider and wider; and the chariot wheels of the Kingdom are still rolling on, impelled by the mighty arm of Jehovah; and in spite of all opposition, will still roll on, until His words are all fulfilled.”
How has the Church continued to fulfill this prophecy? How do we apply this prophecy individually?
The Parable of the Leaven
“For the works of this example, see the Book of Mormon coming forth out of the treasure of the heart. Also the covenants given to the Latter-day Saints [the Doctrine and Covenants], also the translation of the Bible—thus bringing forth out of the heart things new and old, thus answering to three measures of meal undergoing the purifying touch by a revelation of Jesus Christ, and the ministering of angels, who have already commenced this work in the last days, which will answer to the leaven which leavened the whole lump. Amen.”
Take time to talk about each of the parables and allow class members to share their feelings. Again, remember to always tie it back to the lesson manual.