Unlike the established Temple teachers and Priests Jesus taught the spirit of the Law of Moses rather than the rigid prescriptive Jewish interpretation that was common during the middle Roman era.
Jesus seemed to have deliberately provoked the Jewish lawyers, the Pharisees and the Priestly class with his message about virtuous behaviour. In this regard he can be compared with Socrates the Athenian philosopher who saw himself as a 'gadfly' sent by the gods to irritate people.
Both Socrates and Jesus the Nazarene appear to have been physically harmless, but in both cases the philosophical message they conveyed irritated the community leaders at that time and was the cause of their demise. Both men were executed as a result of social group-think among their peers. Jesus was brutally scorged and crucified by Roman soldiers in Jerusalem and Socrates died from hemplock poison in Athens. [more]
At times when Jesus was indignant about the commercialization of religion he presented his message forcefully and directly to the Jews he wanted to rebuke, but when he was teaching people in public he showed compassion and often used parables to tell a simple stories that listeners would remember.
Using parables as a way of communicating philosophical ideas to unlearned listeners was similar to the method used by Aesop the Greek story teller. Aesop's Fables were short allegorical stories that used animals as the main characters. Although some fables were amusing and could easily be remembered because of the humour they almost all contained a deeper meaning.
Fables and parables held the listener's interest as the story was told but the deeper philosophical message sometimes required clarification from the teacher to be fully understood. The Sower Parable told by Jesus the Nazarene is an example.
Note: The Sower Parable [page top] has 3 columns. The Greek and Latin are source texts. The English translation is in the middle column.