Number two, the man who lives in his feelings, will suspect something deeper than the body. He will suspect some poetry in it, some romantic dimension will open to him. The parable will not be only a parable, a story. It will be a poem, condensed poetry. He will enjoy it deeply. He will be thrilled: tears may come to his eyes or he may dance to it – but that is all. A good poem is also a good poem. It does not transform you. It gives a thrill, and it is gone. It is like a breeze that comes, touches you, refreshes you – and then it is gone.
Man number three, the rational man, will try to understand the meaning. The parable will become philosophy to him. He will rationalize about it, around it. It will be a dry thing, but he will make a theory out of it.
These are ordinary categories: man number one, man number two, man number three. They are all here: you can find these three types everywhere. This is ordinary humanity, the masses.
Man number four is not confined to the body or to the feelings or to the reason. Man number four has risen above them. He has become an awareness, a watcher. He will understand the deep significance of the parable and the significance will be life-transforming, He will become a follower. He may become, later on, a disciple. He may be transformed totally.
And the disciples came.
And said unto him,
“Why speakest thou
unto them in parables?”
"Why don’t you say things directly? Why do you go indirectly and indirectly? Why do you go around and around? Why not hit them directly and say things directly?”
One very well-known Christian preacher, Harry Emerson Fosdick, has said that every man is an island. If you want to land on the island, you have to row around and around to find the right place for landing.
Yes, he’s right. Every man is an island and if you want to make contact, real contact, you have to row around and around to find the right place and the right time to land. If you land from the wrong place you will be rejected; if you land in the wrong moment you will not be accepted. If you land from the right place, in the right moment, you will be a welcome guest – otherwise you will be an intruder. One has to wait. A parable is a going around and around the island of man to find from where to land.
But the disciples can’t understand it. Why? Why does he speak in a different way to them? And whenever there are multitudes, why does he change his ways and start talking in roundabout language?
The disciples are those whose gates are open for Jesus. There is no need to go round and round. The disciples are those whose landing has been already found. They are in contact with Jesus. Jesus is always welcome, always welcome. They are waiting, intensely awaiting him; they have become just a deep waiting for him. He is the bridegroom, they have become his brides. Their hearts are open, there is no need to go around and around.
But for the masses, each man is an island and the landing has to be found…and the right moment.