When people talk about the ministry of Jesus, it’s easy to focus on his miracles. Jesus performed some amazing feats that the world had never seen (and hasn’t seen since). But one of the most exciting things about His ministry was His teaching style.

Jesus taught using parables—simple stories intended to impart a spiritual lesson. He’s so identified with this teaching style that Mark’s Gospel tells us that “He did not say anything to them without using a parable” (Mark 4:34a).

We have collected all of Jesus’s parables from the Gospels of: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. With each parable, you’ll discover:

  • Where it is located in Scripture
  • Who was present for this teaching
  • Why it was given
  • What is the key verse

The parables from Matthew

Matthew was particularly focused on convincing the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. One way that he accomplished that goal was by centering his message around Jesus’ teachings and how they intersected with Jewish faith and tradition. That’s why we find so many parables that are unique to Matthew, like The Unmerciful Servant, The Workers in the Vineyard, and The Ten Virgins.

1. The Parables of New Cloth and New Wineskins

Passage: Matthew 9:16–17, Mark 2:21–22, Luke 5:36–38
Audience: John the Baptist’s disciples
Context: John’s disciples ask Jesus why the Pharisees fast, but His disciples do not.
Key verse:  “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse” (Matthew 9:16).

The first-century religious establishment had expectations for the Messiah. In their understanding, He would come and build upon the traditions and practices of Judaism. Even John the Baptist’s disciples didn’t know how to understand why Jesus wasn’t adhering to common Jewish observances.

Jesus tells them that any attempt to patch up what was lacking in Judaism’s traditional expressions of righteousness would only make everything worse. Like a piece of unshrunk cloth sewn into an old garment or a new wine in an old wineskin, Jesus was bringing something that wouldn’t fit into the religious traditions of the time.

I will add additional parables of Jesus in future posts, so check back for more posts daily.