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Intro to the Parables

Parables 2018  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intoduction to the Parables

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Welcome and Prayer

Contact info

Rebecca DePoe: (412) 418-9994; pastordepoe@gmail.com

(412) 418-9994; pastordepoe@gmail.com

(412) 418-9994; pastordepoe@gmail.com
pastordepoe@gmail.com
Charissa Howe: (412) 908-2778; rev.charissa.howe@gmail.com
(412) 908-2778

Online Access

We’re going to try something new. We will still send out announcements like weather closures, reminders, etc with the flocknote system, but we will not be emailing you all the handouts. Those will be available via google classroom, where you can also ask questions throughout the week, discuss what you are reading, etc.
www.classroom.google.com
class code: o0sx3bi

Regular Schedule

Sept 12: intro
rev.charissa.howe@gmail.com
Sept 19: Seeds and Growing
Sept 26: Stewardship
Oct 3: Faithfulness
Oct 17: Treasures
Oct 24: Justice part 1
Nov. 7: Justice part 2
Nov 14: Lost and Found
Nov 28: Discernment
Dec 5: Forgiveness & Beyond
Dec 12: Wrap-up

Special Weeks

Oct 10: International Peacemaker Manolis Ntamparakis teaching
Oct 31: No Bible Study - Nov 1 is All Saint’s Day, but it is also the day that Mount Nebo Presbyterian is hosting the West Branch Presbytery Meeting. You are encouraged to join us at that meeting to see what all the hype is about.
Nov 21: Thanksgiving Service

Reading List & Additional Resources

Don’t forget to mention that we will be comparing some of the Gospel of Thomas to the parables in the canonical gospels.

Opening Activity: What does this parable mean?

“A certain man received a letter from the IRS. He took it to his accountant to review in order to draft a reply to the IRS. The accountant, however, was arrested three days later for embezzling funds, and the man was left to solve the problem himself. Because he was late in his reply to the IRS, he was subject to a large penalty.(from “Many things in Parables”, page 27)
(from “Many things in Parables”, page 27)

What is a parable?

The parables are stories that Jesus told to help describe difficult concepts.
Sometimes called “An Earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” According to Stein, this is only sort of true.
While we get the word “parable” from the Greek “parabole”, the word Jesus would have used in Aramaic and/or Hebrew is “Mashal”.

Mashal = “proverb”

See: , , ,
1 Samuel 10:12 ESV
And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
1 Samuel 24:13 ESV
As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you.
Ezekiel 12:22–23 ESV
“Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision.
1 sam
Ezekiel 16:44 ESV
“Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’
ezek 12:22
Ezekiel 18:2–3 ESV
“What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.
Ezek 18:2-3

Mashal = byword, satire, taunt, or word of derision

See: , , , , , , ,
Isaiah 14:3–4 ESV
When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!
ISaiah 14:3
Habakkuk 2:6 ESV
Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!”
Hab2:
Numbers 21:27–30 ESV
Therefore the ballad singers say, “Come to Heshbon, let it be built; let the city of Sihon be established. For fire came out from Heshbon, flame from the city of Sihon. It devoured Ar of Moab, and swallowed the heights of the Arnon. Woe to you, O Moab! You are undone, O people of Chemosh! He has made his sons fugitives, and his daughters captives, to an Amorite king, Sihon. So we overthrew them; Heshbon, as far as Dibon, perished; and we laid waste as far as Nophah; fire spread as far as Medeba.”
num 21:27-
Deuteronomy 28:37 ESV
And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away.
deut 28:37
1 Kings 9:7 ESV
then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
2 Chronicles 7:20 ESV
then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
1 kings 9:
Psalm 44:14 ESV
You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples.
Psalm 69:11 ESV
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.
psalm
Psalm 69:11

Mashal = riddle

See , , ,
Psalm 78:2 ESV
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
psalm 78:2
Ezekiel 17:2 ESV
“Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel;
Psalm 49:4 ESV
I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
ezek 1
Psalm
Proverbs 1:6 ESV
to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.

Mashal = story or allegory

See: , , ,
Ezekiel 24:2–5 ESV
“Son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: “Set on the pot, set it on; pour in water also; put in it the pieces of meat, all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder; fill it with choice bones. Take the choicest one of the flock; pile the logs under it; boil it well; seethe also its bones in it.
ezek 24:2-5
Ezekiel 17:2–10 ESV
“Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel; say, Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar. He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants. Then he took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters. He set it like a willow twig, and it sprouted and became a low spreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs. “And there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from the bed where it was planted, that he might water it. It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine. “Say, Thus says the Lord God: Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots. Behold, it is planted; will it thrive? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes it—wither away on the bed where it sprouted?”
Ezekiel 20:49 ESV
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of parables?’ ”
ezek 20:
Ezekiel 21:5 ESV
And all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

Other OT examples of mashalim

See: , ,
2 Samuel 12:1–4 ESV
And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
2 Samuel 14:1–11 ESV
Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the king’s heart went out to Absalom. And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, “Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning garments. Do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. Go to the king and speak thus to him.” So Joab put the words in her mouth. When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and paid homage and said, “Save me, O king.” And the king said to her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. And your servant had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. And now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed.’ And so they would destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.” Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.” And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father’s house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.” The king said, “If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.” Then she said, “Please let the king invoke the Lord your God, that the avenger of blood kill no more, and my son be not destroyed.” He said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
2 samuel 14:
Isaiah 5:1–7 ESV
Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!
Isa 5:1-7

Para = beside or with

Bole = something cast

You have to look alongside or beneath the surface of a parable to get at what it really means.

Parabole = proverb

See: , , ,
Luke 4:23 ESV
And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘ “Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ”
Luke 6:39 ESV
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
luke 6:
Matthew 15:14 ESV
Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
mark
Mark 2:23–24 ESV
One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
mark 2:23-24

Parabole = metaphor or figurative saying

See: , , , , , , , , , ,
Mark 7:14–17 ESV
And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.
Luke 5:36–38 ESV
He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
Mark 2:21–22 ESV
No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
luke 5:36-
Matthew 9:16–17 ESV
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
matt
matt 9:16-17
Matthew 13:33 ESV
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Mark 4:30-
Mark 4:30–32 ESV
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
Mark 4:26–29 ESV
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

deut 28:37

Mark 13:28–29 ESV
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
Matthew 7:9–11 ESV
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Luke 15:4–7 ESV
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

ll us about

Luke 17:7–10 ESV
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”
luke 17:7

Parabole as story parable (earthly story with a heavenly meaning)

See: , , , , , ,
Luke 16:1 ESV
He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.
Luke 15:4 ESV
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
Luke 11:5 ESV
And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,
Matthew 21:28 ESV
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
Luke 11:11 ESV
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
Luke 14:16 ESV
But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.
Luke 14:16–24 ESV
But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”
luke 1
Matthew 21:28–31 ESV
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
matt 21:28-
Matthew 25:1–13 ESV
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Matthew 25:14–30 ESV
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Luke 15:11–31 ESV
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
matt 25:14-
Luke 16:1–8 ESV
He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.
Luke 18:2–8 ESV
He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he 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.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Parabole = example (Go and do likewise)

Think fable - there is a moral of the story in the “be like this” kind of way.
See: , , , , , ,
Luke 10:37 ESV
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Luke 12:16–21 ESV
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Matthew 18:23–25 ESV
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Luke 10:29–37 ESV
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Luke 14:7–14 ESV
Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
luke 10:29-3
Luke 16:19–31 ESV
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
Luke 18:9–14 ESV
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
luke 16:19-

Parabole as allegory (string of metaphors that make up a story)

See: , , , , ,
Mark 12:1–11 ESV
And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture: “ ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
Matthew 13:24–29 ESV
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
Matthew 13:36–43 ESV
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 22:1–14 ESV
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.” ’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
matt 13:24-
Mark 4:3–9 ESV
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mark 4:13–20 ESV
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

Full List of Parables in the Gospels

See Stein handout
In Christian tradition, “parables” usually refers to the stories and metaphors Jesus used when teaching during his earthly ministry. This is how we will be using the word in this class.
See Stein handout

Why parables?

The Kingdom of Heaven

Mark 4:10–12 ESV
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ”
Four theories:

Parables obscure the truth.

That said, Jesus is oddly secretive in the Gospel of Mark.
Mark 4:11–12 ESV
And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ”
Mark 4:11
lest could mean “unless” and also, he’s quoting Isaiah, so. . .
This only sorta works in Mark, where Jesus is trying to be mysterious all the time and fly under the radar. In comparison to Matthew and Luke, we have to assume Jesus meant something other than obscuring the truth by telling the parables.

Parables teach many truths.

Mark 4:13–20 ESV
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
We have to be careful with this line of thinking, however, or we can fall into a pattern of “decoding” the parables rather than seeking to live them out.

Parables tell one truth.

Good luck finding it.
From Interpretation: Reading the Parables (p64) “To sum it up in a single point (with three clauses!): A parable may indeed teach one truth, but you will need to dig for it, and when you find it, it will be more than you bargained for.”

Parables undermine “the truth”.

They buck against what the world says is true to communicate the real Truth.
Jesus meant for the parables to be for his followers. As his followers, we should be paying close attention to them.
The parables help to reveal the fullness of what he’s saying about the Kingdom of Heaven - something we are Christians are called to participate in.
Stories disarm our opponents. You can’t argue against a story in the way you can a list of points. Stories are harder to get a concise point from, but they are more engaging and allow us to live into the ideas more fully than when we are told to do a prescribed action in a particular situation.
Stories are harder to get a concise point from, but they are more engaging and allow us to live into the ideas more fully than when we are told to do a prescribed action in a particular situation.

Geographical Setting

Palestinian, specifically Galilean, rural
pictures here
rural
Think about how many of them have garden and seed and growing themes. Pigs and fields and the like show up.

Mark

Interpretation of the Parables

Historically

Early church (until 540 AD)
Allegory: everything directly represents something.
The Middle Ages (540-1500)
Still very allegorical, but more concerned with the theology of the parable than the application. What does it MEAN rather than what am I told to DO.
Reformation and Post-Reformation (1500-1888)
Literal interpretation became a thing, but allegory was still there.

Practically

Parables are more than just allegory. They are imagery. Look at the larger picture rather than just what each little piece “means”.

Questions to Ask When Reading a Parable

Look to find the big picture main point of the parable: See Stein Handout #2
Try to figure out where the parable is coming from. What is the lens or worldview from which is comes?
Try to understand how the gospel write interpreted the parable. This might vary from gospel to gospel in the same parable.
Ask God what God is saying to us TODAY through the parable.
Don’t forget Hedrick handout
Why do we tell stories?
Do stories have to be factually accurate to contain truth?
Why do you think Jesus used parables?
What is your favorite parable and why?
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