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有人就曾經數過，到底主耶穌講過多少比喻？有說 30，有說 50，甚至有說是 80 個之多。這數量的差別，主要出於一些修辭文體的分類。無論如何，主耶穌真的講了很多比喻，所以，人若跳過對觀福音書中的比喻，相信就會錯過主耶穌一半的講論。
Have You Understood All These Things?
Rev Arnold Chow
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He had used various ways to preach the truths about the Heavenly Kingdom and the gospel. One special feature is the use of parables. Almost all the parables in the New Testament are told by Jesus.
How many parables of Jesus are there? Some counted 30, some others 50. Some even said 80. The disparity mainly arises from the classification of rhetorical genre. But whatever the number, Jesus had really told numerous parables. Therefore, if we skip Jesus' parables in the gospel books, we will miss half of what the Lord Jesus teaches.
For longtime believers, they must have read the gospel books five or six times so they may no longer find the parables in any way special. Moreover, down the ages, the parables have sometimes been interpreted with certain details being extensively elaborated out of proportion. As a result, even when we follow the exegetical traditions of the past century, there are still "established lines of interpretation" for the parables. Perhaps the parables are like distilled essence of chicken – beneficial and yet no longer fresh in taste. Readers cannot savor its life-changing vitality.
But wait, we need not dwell on the heaviness. Let me discuss something else. The other day, I took the opportunity of the easing of the pandemic situation to go up Tao Fong Shan, which I have lost count of how many times I have visited.
When I went to Tao Fong Shan as a youth, I would always start at the Chinese-style hall and run all the way to the hilltop where the big cross is erected. I would go through the narrow gate, climb the "In Christ we live" boulder and take a picture in front of the cross to conclude the trip. That is my "established route," but there are many more places on the mountain to this route.
Today, as I live in Shatin, I still enjoy going to Tao Fong Shan which is close by every now and then. I have done the trip in early morning and after breakfast. Sometimes I take my family along, and sometimes I go on a retreat alone. The place is familiar, but every time I go, there are new discoveries.
Once, I met a good friend who works there. My friend took me and my family to a secluded prayer room called the "Lotus Crypt." Once inside the stone-walled room, we found an amazingly different little place. On the stone walls were engraved four large characters in Chinese, "Lay down your burdens." There is also an area where people can kneel in prayer.
I would not have visited the crypt had I not been introduced by my good friend, for the crypt is not en route to the big cross. Yet, it is another landmark of Tao Fong Shan. The more you spend time on the mountain, the more you will discover to your amazement.
It is the same with reading the parables of Jesus. They look very familiar at first glance, but "Have you understood all these things?" (Matthew 13:51) In those days, the Lord asked this question to His disciples who had heard parable after parable. Today, He also wants you and me as His disciples to honestly respond to this question.
Let us once again enter the space of parables, humbly seeking to understand the wonder of the Lord's holy word. The Spirit of the Lord will surely give us a deeper understanding of the parables that lead to Heavenly truths.