Matthew 13 says:
13This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'I am not sure what this means in regards to those readers of the parables today. He has spoken in hidden language to a particular group back then and for a specific reason - because He knew they wouldn't receive His truth anyway. But what of the church? We read these parables and I think they are remain confusing! There are many interpretations that are quite wide-ranging.
One thing is for sure - it is difficult to dogmatically hold doctrine that you conclude from a parable. It often sounds so unproven and unclear.
I do think they are beneficial, perhaps to get us to think? (2 Tim. 3:16)
The next few posts are going to be on parables. I am going to pick a few and delve into my own interpretations of them and discuss some of the other ones I've read - and even some of my own battling interpretations of each. Maybe it will be fun - maybe you will add your two cents.