What Do Jesus' Parables Mean
How much do I want to read more? 6/10
Disappointed, I was expecting better and deeper explanations of Jesus's parables.
This is so flat here. There's no depth.
Chapter One - INTRODUCTION TO JESUS’ PARABLES
Our Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest teacher who ever walked on the face of the earth.
He was also a master pedagogue. That is, His style of teaching was extraordinary.
The very word parable comes from two Greek words. Para- is a prefix that refers to something that is alongside something else.
And ballō means “to throw or to hurl.” So parable means something that is thrown alongside of something else. In order to illustrate a truth He is teaching, Jesus throws a parable alongside of it.
The parable was not given simply to make everything clear to people; it was also given to obscure meaning to those who are outside, who are not given understanding.
In the pages that follow, we are going to consider eleven of Jesus’ parables.
Chapter Two - THE UNJUST JUDGE
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
But long before Churchill, Jesus called His people to be faithful and not faint in times of difficulty.
“They ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
Jesus tells the story of two people, a judge and a widow. This widow has no one to represent her, no one to defend her in the courts, and no one to find vindication for her against her adversary.
“For a while,” “he refused” He brushed her off because he didn’t care about her predicament, and he just wanted to be left alone.
But she would not faint. She would not give up. She came again and again, saying, “Give me justice against my adversary.” He again and again refused to hear her.
This woman would not take no for an answer. Eventually, the judge said to himself, “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming”
the importunate widow. Importunate means overly persistent.
This woman would not give up; she kept beating on the door of the unjust judge until finally, out of pure expediency—not out of a conversion to the legitimacy of justice—he gave her some attention. He said, “She’s wearying me. I’ve gotten tired of it. I’ll hear her case. I’ll vindicate her just so she’ll stop banging on the door.”
Chapter Three - THE RICH FOOL
What ten laws would you include?
Obviously, you would want to prohibit murder. And you would do something to protect private property rights and have a law against theft. But would you write a law about honoring your father and your mother?
And would your top ten include a law against coveting? When God wrote a constitution for His people, He included a law against coveting. I wonder why?
“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me”
This young man wanted Jesus to arbitrate his situation and to act not as a teacher but as an attorney.
This man’s interest was not in what he could learn from Jesus but in what he could gain financially by having Jesus side with him in a particular case.
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”
We don’t truly understand how destructive the sin of covetousness is to a community, a family, and a nation. Much damage is done because of jealousy and resentment. People rise up in jealousy and hatred because they covet what others possess. People lie. They steal. They cheat. They slander. They get involved in all kinds of injurious practices, because their hearts are covetous.
The Scriptures tell us that every good and perfect gift that we receive is from the hands of God (James 1:17). Scripture also tells us in Romans 1 that the two most basic sins of the fallen human race are a refusal to honor God as God and a refusal to be grateful.
Irreverence and ingratitude toward God are the most fundamental sins that define fallen humanity.
When we come before God in the spirit of thanksgiving, we’re acknowledging that we have not produced the benefits that we have received, but rather we are the recipients of His tender mercy and bountiful grace.
The man in Jesus’ parable thanked Mother Earth, if he thanked anything. He had good soil and a good season of rainfall. And his riches were magnified exponentially by this tremendous crop.
He asked himself, “What do I do now?” He did not ask, “How can I use this wealth that I’ve received to enrich my neighbor, my community, or my church?” Instead, he asked, “How can I find a place to store up all of this wealth that I’ve just received? I’m going to tear down my barns and build bigger barns.” The last thing in his mind was gratitude toward God.
Jesus does not say that being wealthy is inherently a bad thing. What is bad is when your heart and your soul are tied up in your wealth and your material possessions.
The rich man is a fool. In Scripture, being a fool does not mean that you’re unintelligent or uneducated. Even Aristotle observed that in the brain of the most brilliant man resides the corner of the fool. There’s a difference between stupidity and foolishness. In biblical categories, the judgment of being a fool is not a judgment of intelligence. It is a moral judgment.