"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. Matthew 23:27
In the passage above, Jesus is telling the Pharisees what they are like on the inside when they represent the law they are teachers of. Understanding that word like is used to show a similarity or a resemblance to something found to be undesirable. At the same time the word like can be used to explain a truth we want to know, such as what does God look like. In his example, Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the father, (John 14:9). The word like can be used to contrast more than one idea. Contrasts show other examples to display the pro and cons and when properly considered allow you to choose the option you prefer.
John 14:9 presents the idea that God the father has a strong resemblance to Jesus Christ. His words speak of a resemblance to each other perhaps due to family lines or a similarity of character. Their appearance may be identical, indistinguishable or similar in nature. We all heard like father like son and this also may be the case. Hebrews confirms this issue when it says,
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, Hebrews 1:3
The Old Testament foretold about how Jesus would present the truth of God’s word.
O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old. Psalms 78:1-2
Jesus used the word like a number of times when he described what the Kingdom of God was like. In his parables he gave us a common example of everyday life to compare to a reality of spiritual truth. Most of his stories were about real people and events that related to the group or person he was speaking to. However, the truth was not understood by the lost for the truth was spiritually discerned.
This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. Matthew 13:13
Jesus spoke to men and women with calloused hearts like we see today. While they heard the parable Jesus was telling they heard about everyday things, but they failed to understand the points Jesus was teaching. They had no need or interested in God, and saw the parables Jesus was telling as a waste of time because he was talking about things they already knew about. Perhaps they felt the parables Jesus told did not connect with their lives. They were proud, arrogant, and haughty and used boastful words against the Son of God. However, to those who were interested the parables contained the secrets of the kingdom of God but those secrets were given to men and women that God chose to reveal them to.
He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “’though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ Luke 8:10
The parables were given to men as examples to compare the unknown with what we are familiar with to shed light on like truths in the spiritual realm. Truth is an absolute principle in the spiritual and physical realms, and by revealing the truth of this realm we could see a similar principle affecting our lives. Truth is a principle that never changes and will help you to understand your reality but heap coals of fire on you when you act against it.
The parables Jesus told presented an earthly example of truth we know and understand to give you an idea of what you would find in the spiritual realm. By understanding the cause and effect concerning things that happen in the physical realm you learn the truths that govern our lives within the spiritual realm. The truths you learn help you to avoid the mistakes or sin that has disaster written all over it. On the other hand, the truth of the parables becomes a guide for a prudent life. Jesus brought out the point that by understanding the truth you could establish a way to live that was acceptable to God.
The truth is that sin works the same way as yeast does. Yeast is the bacteria that ferments and forms pockets of carbon dioxide that causes the size of the dough to increase in volume. However, if the dough is left unattended too long it would spoil. This idea presents a like picture of truth about sin. Because we know that yeast spreads throughout the dough we also know that sin can consume and spoil your entire life. We also know that sin puffs up your life with self-importance and pride, which are represented by the voids in your character. Still the character of the bread is a factor that determines whether it will be eaten. Finally just as yeast can spoil the dough through lack of care, leaving sin unattended spoils the worth of your life to God.
Knowing what the potential to be harmed tells you if what you are doing will benefit your life. Common sense tells us that no one in their right mind likes things that bring harm to them. However, people are harmed by not knowing the knowing the outcome of mistakes you are about to make. In the same way, our experiences remind us of a similar condition will help us to avoid the same mistake again.
In the long run experience determines the condition whether we want to avoid doing something because its nature is similar characteristics to a similar item. God’s word was written primarily as a father’s instruction to his children, teaching them the way that he expects them to live. Without having the ability to know the difference between right and wrong we would lack a method to contrast or compare ideas. God knows that if he can teach us to love the relationships derived from love will create the behavior he wants his children to have.
Like and unlike expresses that there is a noticeable difference between the nature or character of what’s being compared. For example a holy life has a concern for other people whereas a sin filled life does not. Like and unlike provide mental pictures for you to compare and evaluate their worth for future decisions and potentially produce a prudent life. The fool says there is no God, but the wise knows God and compare good and evil to know the truth.