In the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus not only teaches us to help people in need; more deeply, he teaches us that we cannot identify who “has it,” who is “in” with God, who is “blessed,” by looking at exteriors of any sort. That is a matter of the heart. There alone the kingdom of the heavens and human kingdoms great and small are knit together. Draw any cultural or social line you wish, and God will find his way beyond it. “Human beings look at the outer appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). And “what humanity highly regards can be sickening to God” (Luke 16:15).
Jesus teaches contextually and concretely, from the immediate surroundings, if possible, or at least from events of ordinary life. This is seen in his well-known use of the parable—which, from its origin in the Greek word paraballein, literally means to throw one thing down alongside another. Parables are not just pretty stories that are easy to remember; rather, they help us understand something difficult by comparing it to, placing it beside, something with which we are very familiar, and always something concrete, specific.
Since most of us have little direct experience with sheep and goats we may miss some of the teaching to be found in Jesus’s parable of the sheep and goats. Here is some help! From BibleStudyTools.com………
The Parables: Jesus’ Friendly Subversive Speech is a new book designed especially for pastors to get deeper insights into how Jesus used His parables to communicate the gospel message to His listeners during His earthly ministry. However, this book is written in such a manner that Sunday school leaders, small group leaders, and others who engage in teaching the Bible will gain much wisdom and helpful suggestions in how to make the parables more meaningful to others.
As suggested by the subtitle of the work, Webster posits the view that Jesus used parables to communicate the gospel to the crowds on two levels: On one level, they were entertaining stories that drew in the listeners and made immediate impacts on their hearts because Jesus drew the stories from everyday life and situations. But on a deeper level, these parables could teach the subversive truths of the gospels in ways that sophisticated listeners like the Pharisees could take as insults, but the spiritually hungry in the crowds could take as a balm for their souls.
Webster states that many commentators tend to be too analytical in their analysis of the parables and thus miss the impact of the parables on their original audiences. So, he aims to be mindful of the pastor in the pulpit and the person in the pew to bring out the meaning and applications of the parables that he covers in this book. And Webster has chosen to cover the parables that appear in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke because these two accounts are the most systematic in using the parables of Jesus to illustrate His teachings on important topics; such as the true nature of salvation and discipleship, the kingdom of heaven, perseverance in faith, the value of hospitality, and the importance of the inclusion of women and the poor in the kingdom.
This volume is written in a straightforward and easy-to-follow manner that will prove useful and valuable to both clergy and layman alike. Highly recommended!
** A free electronic copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the contents. **
More in this series on apologetics from Theolatte.com………………..
Nice!! A concise but insightful reading of the parable of the forgiven debts from Luke 7. From Grace Over Pain……………….
Another gospel parable shared by Jesus. This can be found in Luke 7:41-43. It reads; Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do […]
This lady is an excellent writer, and does an admirable job in this article on the Parable of the Weeds. From Grace Over Pain…………….
This is the second of the eight teaching parables of the kingdom of God that Jesus gave. We looked at the first parable two weeks ago. If you missed it, you can read it here. The parable of the weeds is found in Matthew 13:24-30. Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is […]