- The 37 or so Parables of Jesus can be found in three gospels, not John.
- They represent a key part of the teachings of Jesus, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings.
- Christians place high emphasis on these parables; since they are the words of Jesus.
- Parables are one of the many literary forms in the Bible.
The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "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 he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand." (Matt. 13:10-17)
WHAT WAS JESUS SAYING THEN… AND NOW?
1. Jesus does not share the separatist mentality of the scribes and Pharisees. The Pharisees know that God is disgusted with sin and so those who do sin he is disgusted with as well. Sinners are what we separate from, not what we associate with. It all comes down to how the blanks are filled in. 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him” Those who do all the right things and accept those who do the right thing, have a hard time with those who do not. The son was dead to me, lost to me, now found.
2. Reality of the parable is with the Pharisees’ refusal to acknowledge the outcasts as brothers.
3. Three parables; two to set up and one to drive home the value of lost people to God, God’s love for the lost, and when they return he is elated and throws a party.
4. For those who are “in” the church, our arms should be wide open to accept those who come to their senses and decide to come home. There are a lot of people who were a part of a church, who have followed the example of the young man who left and followed a life of wild living. We are the ones who are to be watching for them. Are we as a church ready to accept the prodigals when they come home? Remember people do what makes sense to them at the time. The gravitational pull of the church is toward the connected, not the disconnected. When we think we are connected we can begin to think that we are what God is all about and we can lose are eyes on the road for the disconnected.
5. Whether you are the older son or the younger, we are being called to become the father. What lights up the heart of the father in heaven, should light up our heart.