Why did Jesus teach in parables? He told us why: "So that those outside may see but not perceive and hear but not understand." Parables tell secrets in a way that keeps them secret. They are simple stories that point to the life and peace and joy of another kingdom, all the while keeping that kingdom hidden from public view. So, then, we cannot listen to the parables in the same way we listen to other earthly stories. We cannot look at them from a distance, nor assess their validity from outside their grip. Jesus said, "Take care how you hear." By this, he did not mean that his teaching was only for those clever enough to solve a riddle. On the contrary, cleverness is our greatest obstacle. To hear the secrets of the parables, we need only enter the secret ourselves. After all, a lamp is placed on it stand only for those who would come inside to see.