Jesus said whoever does not bear his own cross cannot be his disciple. This passage can be terrifying because Jesus makes strong claims about hating your family and your own life. If we claim to follow Jesus, then we need to know exactly what he requires to be his disciple.
In Luke 14, Jesus gives a series of parables in rapid secession. They are all set at a banquet. These parables aren’t as famous as some of the other parables Jesus tells. They are relatively straightforward so they tend to get overshadowed by other parables like the prodigal son. But I think they are very profound.
Parables are serious theology. But they are metaphorical theology. They teach through metaphor, simile, and dramatic action rather than through logic or reasoning.
The parable of the Friend at Midnight does not promise that God will meet our every need or give us everything we ask for. Instead it teaches that God will give us the ultimate gift: righteousness.
The Parable of the Talents is the last of three parables Jesus tells during a private discussion with the disciples about the end of the age. The parables focus on two themes: stay alert and persevere.
The Parable of the 10 Virgins is in a series parables Jesus tells his disciples privately about the end of the age. The parables focus on two themes: stay alert and persevere. The kingdom of heaven has a door that can and does close.
This parable could be titled the “Parable of the Compassionate Employer.” No one in this parable is underpaid. The complaint is from those who are justly paid and who cannot tolerate grace being given to others.
These two parables in Luke 18 (The Widow & the Unjust Judge and the Pharisee and the Tax-gatherer) deal with prayer. But the underlying theme is how we achieve justification.
The only solution to real guilt is real forgiveness. Forgiveness is a universal need of all humankind. Not only is forgiveness something we all need, forgiveness is also something we must give. But how?
The Parable of the Unjust Steward has always been disturbing. At first reading, Jesus appears to commend the steward for being a liar and a thief. Careful study reveals an alternative.
The Pharisees grumble against Jesus for eating with sinners. Jesus responds with 3 parables which challenge their definition of repentance and their attitude towards repentant and unrepentant sinners.
What do you do if you know that — left to yourself apart from the grace of God — you are unable to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37)?
Since the Messiah was expected to establish his kingdom on earth and that would involve a moral cleansing, why isn’t Jesus judging Gentiles and evildoers? The Parable of the Wheat & the Tares explains why Jesus’ ministry is not meeting this expectation.
Since just what you would expect to happen in the Parable of the Sower & the Seed happens, this story must have sounded pointless to those who heard it without explanation. Why would Jesus tell it?
Parables are serious theology. But they are metaphorical theology. They teach through metaphor, simile, and dramatic action rather than through logic or reasoning, drawing us into the story.