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Showing posts from October, 2020

Overview of Kingdom Parables

There are some 162 parables! (And sometimes when the disciples couldn't understand something, they would assume it was a parable.) First, a couple of broad principles Down through the centuries, interpreters have often gone for deeply allegorical, obscure meanings, BUT the first audience was fairly simple and straightforward and these were spoken, so let's not beat them to death. Interpretation should start with one reasonably obvious meaning. Sheep are raised for their wool and goats for milk and meat, but the parable of separating the sheep from the goats is probably not teaching that a vegetarian life is more holy. The parable of the workers in the vineyard is probably not about unionizing workers to get equitable pay rates. These were first told in the Aramaic language and then recorded in Greek, so an English pun probably won't teach us anything. Matthew 5:13 says (King James Version) “Ye are t

Parables for October 11

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector Read Luke 18:9-13 Who did Jesus have in mind when he told this parable? What do you notice about the Pharisee's actions? What is his prayer? Where is the tax collector and what does he do? What is his prayer? In the temple hierarchy who is on the inside and who is out? Take a minute to think about where you might be in this parable. Read Luke 18:14 What is Jesus' conclusion? Now who is on the inside? Maybe in, in God's kingdom? Something to think about: Parables mean "laid beside." Jesus might have been questioning the Jewish temple and its values. What might Jesus be laying beside the temple values and hierarchy? Read Hebrews 10:11-25 What are the values of this new kingdom which Jesus will be ushering in?

Parables—another look

  We should forgive ourselves if we find the parables of Jesus confusing. Often they are. And it doesn't help much that a wide variety of stories, similes and metaphors get called "parables." What's going on here? Making the abstract concrete. Many of Jesus's parables are based on the daily life of agricultural Jews—and we need to shift gears a bit to follow them. The abstraction "The Kingdom of God intermingles with secular society and changes it" isn't too vivid or easy to remember, so Jesus takes us to the kitchen, where a woman is making bread. If you dig out the truth for yourself, you remember it better. This is probably why Jesus didn't hand out a catechism and ask us to memorize it. Some things are pretty complex. We don't have a record of anyone asking Jesus to totally explain the Kingdom of Heaven in five minutes, but I suspect his answer to such a request would be, "Umm … well, there's mor