Jesus’ illustrations took many forms, including examples, comparisons, similes, and metaphors. He is well known for his use of illustrations, in fact without an illustration he would not speak to them. What’s the difference between illustrations and Jesus’ parables? Well, parable has been defined as “a short, usually fictitious, narrative from which a moral or spiritual truth is drawn.
A number of Jesus’ illustrations and parables reveal his acquaintance with plants, animals, and the elements. While growing up in Galilee, he no doubt had ample opportunity to observe Jehovah’s creations. He put this knowledge to skillful use in his teaching.
Jesus knew how people would react under various circumstances, and he used that knowledge in selecting pointed illustrations.
His use of illustrations became characteristic of his teaching. Instead of making complicated comparisons, he used everyday matters. He made use of little things to explain the big things, and easy things to make plain the hard things. These illustrations drove home the points so forcefully that no one could argue back.
This annoyed some, because it pointed out a serious weakness. Because of their stubborn and unspiritual attitude, they would not respond—would be as blind as if their eyes were pasted shut with super-glue. Unseeing, and unhearing, they do not understand; and see again and again, but do not get any knowledge.’ The reason is obvious; it’s because of attitude. The fault lay with the people, not with Jesus’ teaching methods.
With eyes and ears unresponsive they may not see with their eyes and with their ears they may not hear, and that their own heart may not understand and that they may not actually turn back and get healing. (Isaiah 6:9-10)