“The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them…’
Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
‘I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.’
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” Matthew 13:10-15, 3-36 NIV
(For context it is very helpful to read all of Matthew 13.)
Why did Jesus speak to the crowds in parables? It was because He was and is looking for those who will come to Him in private, and ask Him what He means.
In any given gathering, there is usually more than one “meeting” going on.