The most significant chapters of John MacArthur’s book on Parables are the first two—plus the introduction. These explain why Jesus taught in parables—or rather, why He switched from direct discourse to parables. The controversies in Matthew chapters 12-13 show the Pharisees attributing Jesus’ miracles to Satan rather than to the Holy Spirit. Jesus, understanding that the nation of Israel would eventually reject Him, changed His method of teaching to parables. One quote from MacArthur summarizes well the purpose of the parables:
In short, Jesus’ parables had a clear twofold purpose: They hid the truth from self-righteous or self-satisfied people who fancy themselves too sophisticated to learn from him, while the same parables revealed truth to eager souls with childlike faith—those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness. (p. xxi)
The rest of MacArthur’s volume, Parables—accurate, expositional, occasionally abrasive, and bookish—simply explains lessons about Jesus’ various parables — lessons involving justice and grace, neighborly love, justification by faith, faithfulness, wisdom, heaven and hell, and prayer.