Parables of Jesus
in the canonical gospels and the Gospel of Thomas
edited by Robert Nguyen Cramer (version 220.127.116.11)
The texts of the parables below are taken from the NRSV (synoptic parables) or from the Brill edition of the Gospel of Thomas.
Gospel parables that likely originated with Jesus: Introduction to Jesus' parables | Assassin | Barren Fig Tree | Empty Jar | Evil Tenants | Good Samaritan | Great Supper / Marriage Feast | Harvest Time | King at War | Laborers in the Vineyard | Leaven | Lost Coin | Lost Sheep | Mustard Seed | Net | Patches and Wineskins | Pearl | Pharisee and Publican | Powerful man | Prodigal Son | Rich Fool | Sower / Soils | Talents | Ten Bridesmaids | Tower Builder | Treasure | Unjust Judge | Unjust Steward | Unmerciful Servant | Wheat and Weeds
Gospel parables that may not have originated with Jesus: Fig Tree | House Divided | Lack of Wedding Garment | Rich Man and Lazarus | Sheep and Goats | Sheep and Shepherd | Two Sons | Wise and Foolish Builders | Wise and Foolish Servants
Jesus' explanation for using parables, according to the canonical gospels: Explanation #1 | Explanation #2 | Explanation #3 | Some other references to Jesus' parables
Bible dictionary definition: kingdom of God | parabole (parable) | paroimia (figure of speech)
Other resources: Marks of the Genuine Parables of Jesus | Bibilography
INTRODUCTION TO JESUS' PARABLES
It should be noted that Jesus did not advocate all of the actions taken by the characters in his parables, such as assassination, war, plundering a strong man's house, investing money with bankers, etc. He heavily utilized metaphor and even shock to get his point across. He used his parables to make his hearers think. He challenged them to a new vision of God's rule that always radically turned up-side down the common views -- whether religious, cultural, ethnic, and/or social views. Jesus' parables encouraged his hearers not simply to think outside of the box. They declared that there is no box -- only God's unconditionally compassionate, all-powerful, just, and wisely governed reign over all. This Good News boldly declared null, void, and powerless all oppression, exclusion, weakness, uncleanness, outcast status, etc.
In the face of the religious restrictions preached and mandated by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests, and the scribes, Jesus was inclusive, not only in his words but in his life. He was willing to regularly suffer the humiliation, mean-spirited insults, and physical persecution resulting from his associating with -- ministering to and being ministered to by -- those disenfranchised, repudiated, or despised by others. He ate and mingled with rich and poor, young and old, men and women, those self-assured of their righteousness and those who in the eyes of others were living sinfully, the conservative Jewish authorities and the more liberal masses, those religiously and ethnically similar (Jews) and those religiously, nationally, and/or ethnically dissimilar (Samaritans, Greeks, Romans), even those who had been labeled as anti-Roman terrorists (e.g., Simon Zelotes and possibly Judas Iscariot) and those who had been labeled as supporters of Roman occupation (e.g., Matthew, a.k.a. Levi). He also spent time with his critics.
Jesus' Good News proclaimed and witnessed to God as the Father of all, in whom the kingdom of God is the only reality. To see an example of how Jesus' courageous teachings and life directly coincided with the Good News illustrated in his parables, see http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/agape-c.htm.
Parables that likely originated with Jesus [+ wording that may not have originated with Jesus]
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- Mar 2:21-22
21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.
- Mat 9:16-17
16 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, 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.
- Luk 5:36-38 [+ 39]
36 He also told them a parable: No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. [39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, The old is good. ]
- Tho 47
47 Jesus said: It is not possible for a man to ride two horses or draw two bows, and it is not possible for a servant to serve two masters; or he will honour the one and insult the other. A man does not drink old wine and immediately desire to drink new wine; and they do not pour new wine into old skins, lest they burst, nor do they pour old wine into new skins, lest it spoil. They do not sew an old patch on a new garment, for a rent will come.
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- Mar 3:27
27 But no one can enter a strong mans house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
- Mat 12:29
29 Or how can one enter a strong mans house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered.
- Luk 11:21-22
21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. 22 But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder.
- Tho 35
35 Jesus said: It is not possible for anyone to go into the strong man's house and take it (or him) by force, unless he bind his hands; then he will plunder his house.
- Mat 12:29 -- Mar 3:27 -- Luk 11:21,22
- S&H 399:29-8
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- Mar 4:3-8 [+ 2,9,13-20]
[2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:] 3 Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold. [9 And he said, Let anyone with ears to hear listen!]
[13 And he said to them, Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20 And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.]
- Mat 13:3-8 [+ 9,18-23]
3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. [9 Let anyone with ears listen!]
[18 Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.]
- Luk 8:5-8 [+ 4,11-15]
[4 When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable:] 5 A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. 7 Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold. As he said this, he called out, Let anyone with ears to hear listen!
[11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. 14 As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.]
- Tho 9a
9 Jesus said: Behold, the sower went forth, he filled his hand, he cast. Some fell upon the road; the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on the rock, and sent no root down to the earth nor did they sprout any ear up to heaven. And others fell on the thorns; they choked the seed, and the worm ate them. And others fell on the good earth, and brought forth good fruit unto heaven, some sixty -fold and some an hundred and twenty -fold.
- Luk 8:5
- S&H 237:12
- Luk 8:14 - riches
- To read other webpages that relate to the use of riches, browse http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/substance.htm.
- References to "Give to the poor" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/g.htm,
- Excerpts from a talk by Dr. Helmut Koester, in which he discusses "Giving to the poor," at http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/sharing1.htm.
- References to "Treasure in heaven," at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/t.htm.
- Mat 13:23
- Luk 8:15 -- Mar 4:20
- S&H 272:6
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- Mar 4:26-29
26 He also said, The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.
- Mar 4:28
- Mis 92:5
- Mar 4:28
- KJV wording:
- "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."
- Corrected wording that appears in other Bible versions owned and used by Mary Baker Eddy
- ASV: "first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear."
- The same corrected wording that appears in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy
- The Christian Science Monitor: "first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." (wording that Mrs. Eddy selected for Monitor)
- To explore some of Mary Baker Eddy's other quotes and paraphrases from non-KJV translations of the Bible, see Section 3 of http://www.bibletexts.com/bl-ver.htm.
- Original Greek New Testament (upon which the above corrections are based)
- proton <4412> chorton <5528> eita <1534> stachun <4719> eita<1534> plere <4134> siton <4621> en <1722> to <3588> stachui <4719>.
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[30 He also said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?] 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.
[31 He put before them another parable:] The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
[18 He said therefore, What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?] 19 It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.
[20 The disciples said to Jesus: Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like. He said to them:] It is like a grain of mustard-seed, smaller than all seeds; but when it falls on the earth which is tilled, it puts forth a great branch, and becomes shelter for the birds of heaven.
- Mustard seed
- To explore what type of mustard seed Jesus was describing, see http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa081.htm.
- To explore additional explanation of this parable in the context of all of Jesus' parables, see http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa081.htm.
- See Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 373-387.
- See In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (by John Dominic Crossan), pages 38, 44-48, 50-51.
- See The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition (by The Jesus Seminar), page 34-35.
- See Re-imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 35-40, 17, 123, 126, 128, 136
- 97-107, 127,136,143
- S&H 575:13-16
- My 222:7-14
- Mat 13:32 -- Mar 4:31 -- Luk 13:19
- S&H 361:25-28
- Mis 356:16-21
- My 182:11-18
- Re-imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott, pages 35-40, 17, 123, 126, 128, 136)
I take the Q (Luke) version to be the earliest extant form [of the parable of the mustard seed]... (page 37)
While the plant has many good uses, it is a weed. Pliny's warning ["when it has once been sown it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once"] becomes even more relevant when we notice where the man plants the seed, in his garden. Just on a common sense level he is asking for trouble. But more than common sense is at stake. Fundamental to the purity code of Leviticus and its later elaboration in Mishnah is that things that are not alike are not to be mixed... Planting mustard seed in a garden is clearly prohibited... (page 37)
The clues here are "tree" and "the birds of the air made nests in its branches." These two references conjure up the mighty cedar of Lebanon. Two texts from Ezekiel [Eze 17:22-23; Eze 31:2-6] and one from Daniel [Dan 4:10-12] clearly belong to the same narrative tradition... (page 38)
This implicit "quoting" of the cedar of Lebanon juxtaposes in the parable the image of the weed-like mustard plant with that of the mighty cedar... It draws a contrast in expectations. It raises the question, What should an empire be like: a mustard plant or the noble, mighty cedar?... (page 39)
For Jesus, God's empire is more pervasive than dominant. It is like a pungent weed that takes over everything and in which the birds of the air can nest; it bears little if any resembance to the mighty, majestic, and noble symbol of empire of Israel or Caesar... (page 39)
- Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott, pages 373-387).
If the parable begins with the planting of the mustard seed in the garden, in violation of the law of diverse kinds, then the planting and growth are a scandal -- illegitimate, tainted, unclean. This theme is prominent in the parables of Jesus... The kingdom is associated with uncleanness just as Jesus himself associates with the unclean, the outcast... (pages 386-387)
Like the leaven, which leavens all, the birds will find shelter in the shrub's shade. Many have preferred the mustard tree, this unnatural malformity of mythical botany, to the recognition that God's mighty works are among the unclean and insignificant. (page 387)
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- Mar 12:1-11
1 Then he began to speak to them in parables. A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, They will respect my son. 7 But those tenants said to one another, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours. 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 this was the Lords doing, and it is amazing in our eyes?
- Mat 21:33-42 [+43,44]
33 Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, They will respect my son. 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance. 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? 41 They said to him, He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time. 42 Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lords doing, and it is amazing in our eyes? [43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.]
- Luk 20:9-18
9 He began to tell the people this parable: A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time. 10 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants in order that they might give him his share of the produce of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 Next he sent another slave; that one also they beat and insulted and sent away empty-handed. 12 And he sent still a third; this one also they wounded and threw out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him. 14 But when the tenants saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance may be ours. 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. When they heard this, they said, Heaven forbid! 17 But he looked at them and said, What then does this text mean: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.
- Tho 65a
65 He said: A good man had a vineyard. He gave it to husbandmen that they might work it, and he receive its fruit their hand. He sent his servant, that the husbandmen might give him the fruit of the vineyard. They seized his servant, they beat him, and all but killed him. The servant came (and) told his master. His master said: Perhaps they did not know him. He sent another servant; the husbandmen beat the other also. Then the master sent his son. He said: Perhaps they will reverence my son. Those husbandmen, since they knew that he was the heir the vineyard, they seized him (and) killed him. He that hath ears, let him hear.
- Luk 20:14
- Mis 164:13
- Mis 263:19
- Mat 21:40,41 -- Mar 12:9 -- Luk 20:15-16
- Mis 254:25
- Mat 21:42
- S&H 139:26
- S&H 139:27
- Man 18:1
- No 38:14
- Pul 10:19
- My 48:7
- My 60:12
- My 129:20
- Mat 21:44
- S&H 380:6
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- Q/Mat 13:33
33 He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.
- Q/Luk 13:20-21
20 And again he said, To what should I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.
- Tho 96
96 Jesus [said]: The kingdom of the Father is like a woman who took a little leaven and [hid] it in meal; she made large loaves of it. He that hath ears, let him hear.
- Hear Then the Parable (Bernard Brandon Scott, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989, pages 321-329)
Is its function to subvert a hearer's ready dependency on the rules of the sacred, the predictability of what is good, and warn that instead the expected evil that corrupts may indeed turn out to be the kingdom? On the analogy of From Jerusalem to Jericho, such would be the case.
Such a discourse is corroborated by Jesus' association with the outcast or even those accusations that he had a demon or the beatitute "Blessed are the poor." The kingdom is present among the marginal. "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14). In the end, the parable, because it is seeks to join what cannot be joined. The parable calls into question ready attempts to predict on the basis of our knowledge of the holy and good where the kingdom is active. Instead it insists on the kingdom's freedom to appear under its own guise, even if it be the guise of corruption. (pages 328-329)
- The Parables of Jesus, Second Revised Edition (Joachim Jeremias, NY: Scribner, pages 146-149):
Thus did Jesus' audience understand the parables of the Mustard seed and the Leaven as parables of contrast. Their meaning is that out of the most insignificant beginnings, invisible to human eye, God creates his mighty Kingdom, which embraces all the peoples of the world... Jesus' audience knew the simile of the high tree from the Scripture (Ezek. 31; Dan. 4) where it symbolizes the world-power, and the tiny piece of leaven which leavens a mass of dough was familiar to them from the Passover haggadah as a symbol of malice and wickedness. Jesus is bold enough to employ both similes in the opposite sense. They apply -- not to the powers of Evil, but to God's royal majesty. (page 149)
- The Complete Gospels (edited by Robert J. Miller,NY: HarperCollins, 1994, p.82)
The ancients viewed the process of leaven as corrupting the loaf, like a corpse, causing it to swell up. Therefore leaven is unclean, something to be avoided (16:11). Leaven is the symbol of the unholy (Exod 12:15).
- Women's Bible Commentary, Expanded Edition (edited by Carol. A. Newsome and Sharon H. Ringe, Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998, page 345)
...The parable may also be seen as reinforcing certain literary and social conventions. First the mention of three measures of flour (cf. Luke 13:21) recalls the amount Sarah kneaded for the heavenly messengers (Gen. 18:6; see also Judg. 6:19; 1 Sam. 1:24; Hos. 7:4) This was approximately a bushel and was thus the largest amount of dough a person could knead. The bread produced could feed about one hundred people. Here work traditionally associated with women is recognized as having value. Second, against the prevailing negative image of leaven (Ex. 12:15-20; 23:18; 34:25; Lev. 2:11; Matt. 16:5-12; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9; but cf. Lev. 7:13-14; 23:17) is a positive picture of its use. The final point is that the message of the basilea ("realm"), although hidden like a small bit of leaven in a mound of dough, will become -- through this woman's efforts -- the bread of life.
Great Supper / Marriage Feast (see also Lack of Wedding Garment)
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- Q/Mat 22:1-4 [+ 5-10]
1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet. [5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet. 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.]
- Q/Luk 14:16-24 [+ 15]
[15 One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!] 16 Then Jesus said to him, Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. 17 At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, Come; for everything is ready now. 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets. 19 Another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets. 20 Another said, I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. 22 And the slave said, Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room. 23 Then the master said to the slave, Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.
- Tho 64a
64 Jesus said: A man had guests, and when he had prepared the dinner he sent his servant to summon the guests. He came to the first; he said to him: My master summons thee. He said: I have money with some merchants. They are coming to me in the evening. I will go and give them orders. I pray to be excused from he dinner. He went to another; he said to him: My master has summoned thee. He said to him: I have bought a house, and they ask me for a day. I shall not have time. He came to another; he aid to him: My master summons thee. He said to him: My friend is about to be married, and I am to hold a dinner. I shall not be able to come. I pray to be excused from the dinner. He went to another; he said to him: My master summons thee. He said him: I have bought a village; I go to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. I pray to be excused. The servant came, he said to his master: Those whom thou didst summon to the dinner have excused themselves. The master said to his servant: Go out to the roads. Bring those whom thou shall find, that they may dine. The buyers and the merchants [shall] not [enter] the places of my Father.
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- Mat 13:24-30 [+ 36-43]
24 He put before them another parable: The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from? 28 He answered, An enemy has done this. The slaves said to him, Then do you want us to go and gather them? 29 But he replied, No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.
[36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field. 37 He answered, The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!]
- Tho 57 , which is believed by many to have predated Matthew and may be closer to the original words of Jesus:
Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a man who had [good] seed. His enemy came by night, he sowed a weed among the good seed. The man did not allow them to pull up the weed. He said to them: Lest perhaps you go to pull up the weed, and pull up the wheat with it. For on the day of harvest the weeds will be manifest; they will be pulled up and burned.
- Mat 13:24-30 - tares and wheat
- S&H 72:12
- S&H 207:16
- S&H 300:13
- S&H 535:1
- S&H 595:5
- Mis 111:15
- Mis 117:4-9
- Mis 172:3-6
- Mis 214:25-2
- Ret 71:21
- '02 18:4-13
- My 124:27
- My 249:9-16
- My 269:17-18
- My 315:25
BibleTexts.com: Scholars differ in their conclusions as to whether the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (verses 24-30) originated with Jesus (Crossan; Jeremias) or with the early church (Scott; the Jesus Seminar). Most are in agreement that verses 36-43 were Matthew's own additions/interpretions. Scott and the Jesus Seminar reject the parable's authenticity primarily on the basis of its escatology and its exclusionary nature; however, their interpretations seem too narrow. The fact that the core parable is also in Thomas 57and that it still has a paradym that is contrary to the traditional practice of pulling weeds still qualifies it as authentic. In fact the practice of not pulling the weeds can of itself be seen as characteristic of Jesus' consistent inclusiveness. Rather than representing people, maybe the weeds were intended by Jesus to represent thoughts, conclusions, or ways of living that were not consistent with the Kingdom.
See Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 68-70. Although one can isolate the underlying structure, that structure easily fits the needs of the primitive church to explain "whether it should expel from its ranks those whose lives are in some way evil" (Beare, Gospel according to Matthew, 305). Setting up boundaries is part of community building; attacking them appears to represent Jesus' position (e.g., From Jerusalem to Jericho; Two Men Went Up to the Temple). Lacking any compelling argument for the parable's coherence with Jesus' preaching of the kingdom, one must assume that such preaching derives from the early Christian community. (p. 70)
- See In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (by John Dominic Crossan), pages 63, 83, 94.
- The Parables of Jesus, Second Revised Edition (Joachim Jeremias, NY: Scribner, pages 81-85, 224-227):
It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the interpretation of the parable of the Tares is the work of Matthew himself. This conclusion is confirmed by the Gospel of Thomas which has preserved the parable (57), but not the allegorizing interpretation. (pp. 84-85)
- See The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition (by The Jesus Seminar), page 65, which comments:
Since the Planted Weeds is attested independently by Matthew and Thomas, it existed in oral form prior to its incorporation into these two gospels. The parable reflects the concern of a young Christian community to define itself over against an evil world, a concern not characteristic of Jesus. Letting the wheat and weeds grow up together suggests the final, judgment rather than agricultural practice... The Planted Weeds is only distantly related to the words of Jesus, if at all.
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- Mat 13:44
44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
- Tho 109
109 Jesus said: The kingdom is like a man who had in his field a [hidden] treasure about which he did not know; and [after] he died he left it to his [son. The] son also did not know; he took (possession of) that field and sold it. The man who bought it came to plough, and [found] the treasure. He began to lend money at interest to whomsoever he chose.
- Mat 13:44
- Mat 19:29
- Luk 14:33
- Phi 3:7
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- Mat 13:45-46
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
- Tho 76a
76 Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a merchant was who had a load (of goods) and found a pearl. That merchant was wise. He sold the load, and bought for himself the pearl alone. You also, seek after his treasure which does not perish but endures, where moth does not enter to devour, nor does worm destroy.
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- Mat 13:47-48 [+ 49,50]
47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. [49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.]
- Tho 8a
8 And he said: Man is like a wise fisherman, who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisherman found a large good fish. He threw down all the small fish into the sea; he chose the large fish without trouble. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
- Mat 13:47
- Mat 22:9,10
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- Q/Mat 18:12-13 [+ 14]
12 What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. [14 So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.]
- Q/Luk 15:4-6 [+ 3,7]
[3 So he told them this parable:] 4 Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. [7 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.]
- Tho 107
107 Jesus said: The kingdom is like a shepherd who had hundred sheep. One of them, the biggest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and sought after the one till he found it. When he had laboured, he said to the sheep: I love thee more than the ninety-nine.
- Eze 34:11-16
11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
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- Mat 18:23-34 [+ 35]
23 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything. 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, Pay what you owe. 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, Have patience with me, and I will pay you. 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you? 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. [35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.]
- Mat 18:21,27,32 - forgive
- To explore an index of online articles regarding forgiveness, browse http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/forgiveness.htm.
See Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 267-280.
See In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (by John Dominic Crossan), pages 101, 103-104, 113-117.
See The Parables (by Dan Otto Via, Jr.), pages 14-15,41,97-99, 104-106, 121, 137-144, 151, 164-165, 189.
See The Parables of Jesus (by Joachim Jeremias), pages 28, 39, 80, 83, 97, 101f, 109, 136, 180, 200, 210-214.
See The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition (by The Jesus Seminar), page 49.
Re-imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 97-107, 127,136,143.
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- Mat 20:1-15 [+ 16]
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine oclock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right. So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three oclock, he did the same. 6 And about five oclock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, Why are you standing here idle all day? 7 They said to him, Because no one has hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard. 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first. 9 When those hired about five oclock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat. 13 But he replied to one of them, Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous? [16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.]
- Mat 20:12
- '00 9:25-30
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- Mat 25:1-12 [+ 13]
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. 9 But the wise replied, No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us. 12 But he replied, Truly I tell you, I do not know you. [13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.]
- Mat 25:1-13
- Luk 12:36
- Mis 92:11
- Mis 117:23
- Mis 151:24
- Mis 276:15-2
- Mis 341:21 to 342:27
- My 125:26
- My 197:15
- Ret 23:13
- Ret 84:7
- S&H 238:12
- S&H 582:17
- S&H 592:25
- Un 17:7
- Mat 25:11 - Lord, Lord
- To explore additional references in the Bible and other writings, browse "Lord, Lord" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/l.htm.
- Mat 25:13
- Mat 24:36
- Mar 13:32
- Mar 14:9
- Luk 12:46
- My 19:30
- S&H 77:15
- S&H 233:12
- S&H 292:3
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- Q?/Mat 25:14-30
14 For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his masters money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents. 21 His master said to him, Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master. 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents. 23 His master said to him, Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master. 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours. 26 But his master replied, You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Q?/Luk 19:11-27
11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 So he said, A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. 13 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, Do business with these until I come back. 14 But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, We do not want this man to rule over us. 15 When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. 16 The first came forward and said, Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds. 17 He said to him, Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities. 18 Then the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has made five pounds. 19 He said to him, And you, rule over five cities. 20 Then the other came, saying, Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow. 22 He said to him, I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest. 24 He said to the bystanders, Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds. 25 (And they said to him, Lord, he has ten pounds!) 26 I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over thembring them here and slaughter them in my presence.
- Luk 19:13 - occupy till I come
- S&H 22:13
- Mat 25:21,23 - well done
- S&H 44:3
- S&H 569:6
- Mis 116:28
- Mis 117:1
- Mis 122:25
- Mis 339:17
- Mis 343:27
- Mis 355:7
- Pul 13:6
- My 62:2
- My 124:13
- My 124:13
- My 162:21
- My 202:13
- My 207:21
- My 225:4
...In the parable it emerges how to go about claiming the future... The parable as a window onto the kingdom demands that the servant act neither as preserver nor as one afraid; but act as boldly as he must. If one is to act boldly, then the rules have been changed. They are no longer predictable.
This parable, like Jesus' parady of legal sayings in the Sermon on the Mount, forces a hearer to choose a future in which to live. Jesus' parodies legal form for the same reason he parodies the rabbinic trusting in the yoke of the law -- for freedom. (pages 234-235)
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- Luk 10:30-35 [+ 25-29, 36-37]
[25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" 27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live." 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"]
30 Jesus replied, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.
[36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."]
Luk 10:27 - love your neighbor as yourself
To explore additional references in the Bible and other writings, browse "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/l.htm#love-neighbor.
No 8:19-28 ["pass by"]
Luk 10:30-35 - Samaritan hero - a shocking story to Jesus' Jewish audience
See Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 189-202.
The Samaritan is a mortal enemy, not the model of good comportment... What commentators have failed to notice is that the Israelite is excluded from being the parable's hero. To remain in the story the hearer cannot play hero but must become a victim... The hearer's only possible course is to identify with the half-dead and be saved by a mortal enemy... (pages 200,201)
As parable the story subverts the effort to order reality into the known hierarchy of priest, Levite, and Israelite. Utterly rejected is any notion that the kingdom can be marked off as religious: the map no longer has boundaries. The kingdom does not separate insiders and outsiders on the basis of religious categories. In the parable the Samaritan is not the enemy but the savior, and the hearer does not play hero but victim... Here the Samaritan is not converted. Gone is the apocalyptic vision of ultimate triumph over one's enemies. The world with its sure arrangement of insiders and outsiders is no longer an adequate model for predicting the kingdom. (pages 201,202)
See In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (by John Dominic Crossan), pages 55-64,84.
See The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition (by The Jesus Seminar), page 30,31. Since there was a deep and longstanding hostility between Jews and Samaritans rooted in political and religious rivalry, a story with a Samaritan hero would have shocked a Jewish audience. The Samaritan breaks down social and ethnic barriers by serving as a friend and savior of the anonymous Jew who was waylaid on a dangerous road... (page 31)
See A Credible Jesus: Fragments of a Vision (by Robert W. Funk), pages 167-171, "The Samaritan."
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is commonly understood as an example story... I believe Jesus formulated it as a parable and specifically as a parable of grace... The listeners are simply incensed that Jesus would award the hero's role to the Samaritan... One thinks immediately of "love your enemies." ... The injunction would have to be turned around: "Let your enemies love you." In either form, the admonition is unthinkable in a tribal, honor/shame culture. Love was reserved for tribal members. Hate was the order of the day for aliens and members of other tribes. The story simply subverts the lived world of the peasants in Jesus' audience... (pages 167, 170, 171)
Scholars are sometimes asked why Jesus was killed. Very complex political, social, and theological answers have been given to this question, any or all of which have some degree of validity. But a simple rejoinder may be quite adequate: The parable of the Samaritan could easily have gotten Jesus killed. (page 171)
Luk 10:30-35 - Samaritan hero - a shocking story to Jesus' Jewish audience
To comprehend the shock this story would have produced to Jesus' Jewish audiences, BibleTexts.com invites you to consider any one of the following three scenarios:
1. You are a 1950's era white Anglo-Saxon protestant from Georgia . At a whites-only Sunday church service in Georgia, you are challenged by a guest preacher at the pulpit to answer the question, "Who is your neighbor?" This question came after he had just quoted the Old Testament (Lev 19:18) passage, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
The guest preacher then told you a story of a fellow-Georgian white guy who was traveling through Mississippi in 1952. This white Georgian was brutally beaten up inside a white bar he had visited for the first time. (In the bar he had been bragging about how Georgia Tech had beaten MSU in a recent football bowl game.) Even though the man appeared dead, the police were not called. The local preacher was in the bar at the time of the beating, but the guys who beat up the Georgian man were from the preacher's congregation and from prominent families, so he left immediately after the beating. A church deacon was there, too, but he also left immediately. Several of the guys in the bar carried the Georgian man out to a nearby black part of town to frame black folks for the supposed death.
Note: In the period between post-Civil-War Reconstruction and the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960's, it was not uncommon for blacks to be framed for a variety of violent crimes that actually were committed by whites. During that period many lynchings of innocent blacks were based upon completely fabricated allegations. Also during this period blacks also were systematically demonized by white racist groups (and even in a very popular, patriotic silent film), which were greatly influenced the American public and many politicians. Sadly men, women, and children in the racist group were portrayed in propaganda and political speeches as being true patriots and the heroic defenders of Christian values, which was the exact opposite of the truth. To explore authentic Christian values of the earliest Christians, see http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/genuine-christianity.htm.)
In the same way during the US conquest of what is now the American West, Native Americans often were demonized as savage heathens and falsely framed for violent crimes that actually had been committed or orchestrated by whites. Violent actions against Native Americans were also justified by the argument that the Native American's were obstacles to the development, expansion, and prosperity of the US.
An hour later a black man, who was coming home from working the evening shift at a local factory came upon the beaten-up white man and found that he was alive and now slightly conscious. No one in the black community had a phone to call a white doctor or white hospital, so the black man borrowed a neighbor's truck and carefully drove the man to the emergency room of a white hospital that was nearby, but not too close -- a hospital that he believed would also protect the man from the white men at the bar, whom he suspected had done the near fatal beating. At the hospital the black man offered to help the white man in any other way he could. The white man thanked the black man for saving his life.
The guest preacher at the pulpit then asks his white Georgian congregation, "Which of the three acted like a neighbor? The preacher, the deacon, or the black man?"
2. You are a contributor to and participant in the Conservative Family Values movement. You have come to a certain American city to attend a big Convervatives Family Values event announces, among other things, that the killing of US soldiers in Iraq is God's judgment against America's moral decay, especially tolerance of gays. (This description is based on an actual newspaper account.) On Sunday morning you happen to attend a nearby church before heading home. You are challenged by the guest preacher at the pulpit to answer the question, "Who is your neighbor?" This question came after the preacher had just quoted from Old Testament (Lev 19:18) passage, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
The guest preacher then tells you a story of another Convervatives for Family Values event attendee. He got lost while in that city. While walking through a run-down part of the city, he became ill, fell to the side-walk, and passed-out next to a homeless woman who was on top of a sidewalk grate, from which warm air was coming up to keep her -- and now both of them -- warm on that cold winter day. Soon another homeless man came by, took the man's watch and wallet, and swapped his own beat-up coat, hat, and shoes, for the man's very nice ones. An hour later a small group of Conservative Family Values event people -- a preacher, a deacon, and some children -- also happen to be passing by there. They saw the unconscious man -- whom they thought was a homeless man sleeping next to his woman partner. As the woman began to stir, the preacher of the group spoke to the deacon and to the children saying what a sinful sight this was and how it illustrated the need for their Conservative Family Values movement. And they continued walking. A few minutes later a well-dressed gay couple came by, arm-in-arm. They recognized the homeless woman, to whom they offered a bottle of water and a granola bar that one of the men had in a bag. When they tried to stir the man, they realized that he was ill and needed professional attention. He was barely conscious at first. The couple immediately dialed 911 to send for Emergency Medical Services. They took off their coats to cushion his head and to keep him warm until the EMS professionals arrived. The man thanked the gay couple as they told him to let them know if they could be of any further help. The guest preacher at the pulpit then asks you, "Which of the three acted like a neighbor? The preacher, the deacon, or the gay couple?"
3. Soon after 9-11 you are enthusiastically attending a big evangelical event at a packed football stadium. A famous evangelical preacher has been blaming the 9-11attacks on the decline in moral values in America and also has been condemning Islam as an evil and violent religion and its adherents as under satanic control. (This description is based on an actual newspaper account.) On Sunday morning you happen to attend a nearby church service before heading home. You are are challenged by the guest preacher at the pulpit to answer the question, "Who is your neighbor?" This question came after he had quoted from Old Testament (Lev 19:18) passage, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
The guest preacher then told a story of another evangelical man -- a big man of Latino descent -- who was also in town to attend the same big evangelical event that you just attended. The night before the rally, after doing some shopping at a large suburban mall, when this man got to his car, he was harrassed and then beaten up badly by some local rednecks who had mistaken the Latino man for being of Middle Eastern descent -- like the hijackers on the 9-11 airliners. These redneck guys had been following the man at the mall and had even told two friends at the mall what they were planning. The two friends also had thought he was Middle Eastern. After the attackers left, the two friends -- one the son of a preacher and other the son of a deacon -- drove slowly past the scene where the man was lying motionless on the ground. Then they drove off.
In a few minutes an Iranian man -- a Muslim -- was driving with his family past the Latino man's car and the man's little daughter, speaking in her Persian language, pointed out the injured man to her father. The Iranian man stopped the car and went to the injured man's side. He put a blanket under the injured man's head and another blanket over him, while his wife used the family's cell-phone to call 911. The wife instructed a son to take a water bottle to the injured man, while they all waited for the EMS team to arrive.
After the EMS team had put the Latino man on a stretcher, he thanked the Iranian family for their kindness, as the father told him and the EMS people to let them know if they could be of any further help.
The guest preacher at the pulpit then asks you, "Which of the three acted like a neighbor? The preacher's son, the deacon's son, or the Islamic family?"
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- Luk 12:16-20 [+ 21]
16 Then he told them a parable: The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops? 18 Then he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry. 20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be? [21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.]
- Tho 63a
63 Jesus said: There was a rich man who had many possessions. He said: I will use my possessions that I may sow and reap and plant, and fill my barns with fruit, that I may have need of nothing. These were his thoughts in his heart. And in that night he died. He that hath ears, let him hear.
- Luk 12:13-34 - Possessions, greed, wealth, and poverty
- To explore additional references in the Bible and other writings, and to read articles about early Christian practices, browse:
- "Wealth and Poverty" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/substance.htm (topical index)
- "Christian caring for and sharing with individuals, the community, and the world" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/substance.htm (topical index), especially:
- Sharing as practiced by the earliest Christians (webpage article)
- Sharing and giving to the poor in the Christian churches of Paul's day (webpage article)
- Re-imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott, pages 93-95, 129-131, 16, 45, 127)
The Rich Farmer ... identifies himself as an epicurean: "Then I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty put away for years to come. Take it easy, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.'" He reserves a fantastic harvest for himself. But that night he dies, and so his harvest, like Joseph's in Egypt, will be available for the village. God does intervene in this parable, but to the villagers who helped the rich man build new barns, his death will be a natural one. Perhaps they will not see the hand of God in his death, because without his death, they would have starved. But intervention there was, for he intended to keep the whole harvest for himself. (pages 129-131)
- Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott, pages 127-140).
Jesus' tale does not belong to a major key of the [wisdom] tradition... Rather, this parable is variation in a minor key: wealth's correct usage. The parable cleverly equates the mismanagement of the miraculous harvest with idolatry... The parable The Land of a Rich Man [focuses] the radical identification of God's kingdom with community and the demand to provide for the needs of others. "If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?" (James 2:15-16). Or as another saying has it, "What does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Mark 8:36) ... Not to place community first violates the First Commandment, is idolatry. No apocalyptic explosion will rid the world of evil; the parabolic kingdom exists only in the deeds of a loving community. The miracle must be managed. (pages 140)
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- Luk 13:6-9
6 Then he told this parable: A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil? 8 He replied, Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.
- Luk 13:7
- Mis 151:11
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- Luk 14:28-30
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.
- Luk 14:30
- My 162:16
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- Luk 14:31-32
31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.
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- Luk 15:8-9 [+ 10]
8 Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost. [10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.]REFERENCES
Jeremias vividly fills out the details: "'She lights a candle,' not because it is night, but because the low door lets very little light into the miserable, windowless dwelling, and she 'sweeps the house' with a palm-twig because in the dark the broom may make the coin tinkle on the floor.'...
What the woman seeks, a lost drachma, is one of ten. A drachma was a Greek silver coin equal in value to a denarius, which is equivalent to a peasant's subsistence wage for a day's work. Thus its intrinsic value is not great, certainly not that of a kingdom, but is is worth searching for if one is a peasant.
The woman's searching ... gives it [the drachma] value and draws a hearer into the story. Even more, a woman searches, not a man. Luke ... does not repeat the question of the first [Man with a Hundred Sheep] parable, "Which one of you?" To address males so would be an insult...
A hearer is caught up in the search, the search of a woman, the search of a woman for a thing of little intrinsic value. Thus is the kingdom. This parable is a burlesque... The burlesque may even dampen a hearer's enthusiasm for the search. And it is a woman's search, not that of a mighty warrior or even an eminent rabbi. On reflection, a hearer begins to understand that the parable's proposed metaphorical network for the kingdom is less than anticipated and may even be a burlesque of the traditional expectations. Yet more serious is the scandal of identifying God's ruling, kingly activity with the unclean.
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- Luk 15:11-32
11 Then Jesus said, There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me. So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, How many of my fathers hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands. 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son. 22 But the father said to his slaves, Quickly, bring out a robethe best oneand put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to celebrate.
25 Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound. 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him! 31 Then the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.
- Luk 15:11-32 - the parable of the prodigal son
- Related references
- Gen 21:12
- Gen 25:23
- Deu 32:8,9
- Psa 133:1
- Jer 3:18
- Mal 1:2-3
- Rom 9:12
- Gal 4:21-31
- S&H 575:14-16
- Mis 369:19
- Ret 91:3
- '01 17:1
- Luk 15:13
- Pro 29:3
- Luk 15:16
- Pro 23:21
- Luk 15:17 - came to himself
- This refers to the son's feeling of repentance and desire for reformation.
- See also "Confessing sins" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/c.htm#confessing-sins.
- See also "Repent" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/r.htm#repent.
- Luk 15:18
- Psa 51:6
- Isa 3:12,13
- Luk 15:24
- Eph 2:5
- Luk 15:32
- My 185:16-21
The father showed a lot of the heart that cultural myths usually associate with mothers! That may be yet another of Jesus' thought-provoking devices for using this parable to turn the world upside down to help his hearers view the real Kingdom of God.
- See Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 99-125:
The hearer of the parable would have identified with the younger son... The parable's scandal derives from its subversion of the mytheme's power to resolve between the chosen and the rejected... In the parable the elder son's fate is not like Esau's: he is not hated, nor does the younger receive Jacob's portion. Actually, the elder is the heir: "All that is mine is yours." Nor is he banished: "I am always with you."... This parable subverts a mytheme by which the kingdom decides between the chosen and rejected. Here the father rejects no one; both are chosen... The father is interested neither in morality nor in inheritance. He is concerned with the unity of his sons... The kingdom is not something that decides between but something that unifies. The father does not reject... The kingdom is universal, not particularist. The universalism, however, is not based on the rejection of some. All people are called, regardless of the script the mytheme requires of them. (pages 124-125)
- See In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (by John Dominic Crossan), pages 72-74,95.
- See The Parables of Jesus (by Joanchim Jeremias), pages 128-132:.
Jesus vindicates his revolutionary conduct by claiming in the parable, 'God's love to a returning sinner knows no bounds. What I do represents God's nature and will.' (p. 132, but see also quote above from Scott.)
- See The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition (by The Jesus Seminar), page 40.
- See Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus (by Norman Perrin), pages 94-98:
We must here stress the point that the story is a parable and not an allegory. The father is not God, the elder son is not a Pharisee; the whole story concerns a real family in a familiar situation. (p. 97, but see also quote above from Scott.)
- Luk 15:12 - KJV wording: and <2532> he <1244> divided <1244> - corrected wording: so <1161> he <3588> divided <1244> - (based on a needed correction of the KJV's Greek text)
- Luk 15:15 - feed swine
- A Jew who became a swineherd, feeding swine, was virtually a permanent renunciation of one's Jewish religion, heritage, and birthright. Thereafter one would be disinherited, and one's family and all other Jews would view and treat one as a Gentile. (See Perrin, p. 96)
- Luk 15:17 - came to himself
- This refers to the son's feeling of repentance and desire for reformation.
- See also "Confessing sins" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/c.htm#confessing-sins.
- See also "Repent" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/r.htm#repent.
- Luk 15:17 (after perish) - add to KJV wording: here [literally: but I with hunger here am dying] - (based on a needed correction of the KJV's Greek text)
- Luk 15:19,21 - KJV wording: and am - corrected wording: I am - (based on a needed correction of the KJV's Greek text)
- The Greek word for "and" was not in the original text, and the Greek verb that is translated "am" does not need the Greek pronoun for I, so it literally means "I am".
- Luk 15:20,22,23 - kiss, robe, ring, shoes, meat
- Joachim Jeremias (p. 130) describes the message conveyed by these.
- kiss: In this circumstance a kiss was a symbol of forgiveness.
- robe: It was a designation of honor for a guest to receive a gift of a ceremonial robe. The father now considered the wayward son as a guest of honor.
- ring: The ring symbolized that the son was being given authority.
- shoes: Since shoes were a luxury and warn only by freemen, they symbolized that the son was no longer a poor slave, who went barefoot.
- meat: Since eating any kind of meat indicated a special occasion, preparing the fatted calf represented an extraordinary event.
- Luk 15:22 (before bring) - add to KJV wording: quickly <5035> - (based on a needed correction of the KJV's Greek text)
- Luk 15:22 - KJV wording: the best robe - corrected wording: a robe, the best one, - (based on a needed correction of the KJV's Greek text)
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Luk 16:1-7 [or 8a]
Then Jesus said to the disciples, There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer. 3 Then the manager said to himself, What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes. 5 So, summoning his masters debtors one by one, he asked the first, How much do you owe my master? 6 He answered, A hundred jugs of olive oil. He said to him, Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty. 7 Then he asked another, And how much do you owe? He replied, A hundred containers of wheat. He said to him, Take your bill and make it eighty. [8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.]
- Luk 16:1-7 - the parable of the unjust steward
- See Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus (by Bernard Brandon Scott), pages 255-266.
The parable presents a counterworld to the hearer's normal, implicit world. In that normal world of patron and clients, power and justice are coordinates. The rich man possesses power, and his initial judgment, arbitrary and summary, can be carried out because he is powerful. The steward also possesses the power of a victim: he draws the hearer to his sided by sympathy, allowing one and all to enjoy his getting even... The master in the end demands from a hearer a price -- the admission that the action was unjust -- and at the same time forfeits his power of tyranny by praising the steward... The parable breaks the bond between power and justice. Instead it equates justice and vulnerability. The hearer in the world of the kingdom must establish new coordinates for power, justice, and vulnerability. The kingdom is for the vulnerable, for masters and stewards who do not get even. (page 266)
- See In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (by John Dominic Crossan), pages 63, 65, 101, 106-108.
- See The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition (by The Jesus Seminar), page 32.
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Luk 18:2-5 [+ 1,6-8]
[1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.] 2 He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, Grant me justice against my opponent. 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming. [6 And the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?]
- Luk 18:8
- S&H 132:26
- Mis 83:20
- '01 12:11
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Luk 18:10-13 [+ 9,14]
[9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:] 10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income. 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner! [14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.]
- Luk 18:11,12
- Isa 58:2,3
- Luk 18:11
- S&H 9:1
- Luk 18:12
- Mat 23:23
- Luk 18:13 - KJV wording: and the - corrected wording: but the - (based on the original text's correction of KJV's Greek text)
- Luk 18:13 - omit KJV wording: upon - (based on the original text's correction of KJV's Greek text)
- Luk 18:13
- Psa 51:3,19
- Luk 18:14 - humble..exalted
- To explore additional references, browse "Humble..exalted" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/h.htm#humble-exalted.
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97 Jesus said: The kingdom of the [Father] is like a woman; carrying a jar full of meal and walking a long way. The handle the jar broke; the meal poured out behind her on the road. She was unaware, she knew not her loss. When she came into her house, she put down the jar (and) found it empty.
- The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? (Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, & The Jesus Seminar (NY: HarperCollins, 1993, page 524) comments on this parable:
Empty jar. The structure of this parable, recorded only by Thomas, is similar to that of the parable of the leaven (Thom 96:1-2 // Matt 13:33 // Luke 13:20-21). It has a surprising and provocative ending: the woman comes home with an empty, rather than a full, jar. A full jar would be the expected metaphor for God's imperial rule, so this ending is startling. The symbolism may fit with Jesus' tendency to portray the kingdom as having to do with the unnoticed or unexpected or modest (this is true also of the parable of the mustard seed, Thom 20:2 // Mark 4:31-32 // Matt 13:31-32 // Luk 13:19).
The story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath occurs in 1 Kings 17:8-16. Elijah is instructed by God to go to the widow to be fed. The widow, it runs outr, is on the point of starvation and has only enough meal and oil for one baking. After this is gone, she and her son will starve. Nevertheless, Elijah tells her to make a cake for him and then one for herself and her son. She does so. This is how the story ends: "The jar of meal was not depleted, neither did the jug of oil fail, in accordance with the word the Lord spoke through Elijah." In the judgment of some..., the parable of the empty jar is a parody of the story of Elijah and the widow.
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98 Jesus said: The kingdom of the Father is like a man who wanted to kill a powerful man. While he was in his own house, he drew the sword and drove it into the wall, that he might determine that his hand would be strong enough. Then he slew the powerful man.
- The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? (Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, & The Jesus Seminar (NY: HarperCollins, 1993, page 524-525) comments on this parable:
The assassin. The sheer violence and scandal of the image of the assassin suggests that it might well have originated with Jesus. It is unlikely that the early Christian community would have invented and have attributed such a story to Jesus since its imagery is so contrary to the irenic and honorific images, such as the good shepherd, they customarily used for him. In ancient society, it was expected that kings and tyrants would act violently to enforce their will. Ordinary people were expected to refrain from violent behavior, unless, or course, they were brigands or revolutionaries. The parable of the assassin is reminiscent of the parables of the tower builder (luke 14:28-30) and the warring king (Luke 14:31-32), all three of which have to do with estimating the cost of an act or the capability to perform it successfully.
Parables that may not have originated with Jesus
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23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.
25 He knew what they were thinking and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?
17 But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul.
- Mat 12:25 -- Mar 3:24 -- Luk 11:17
- S&H 85:16
- S&H 252:2
- S&H 388:12-21
- Mis 189:2
- No 5:21
- Mat 12:24 - KJV wording: Beelzebub - corrected wording: Beelzebul - (based on the original text's correction of KJV's Greek text)
- Note: To further explore the history and meaning the word Beelezbub, browse http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/beelzebu.htm.
- Mat 12:26 - Satan (or the Accuser or the Slanderer)
- Note: To further explore the meaning the word Satan, browse http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/satan.htm.
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28 From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
32 From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
29 Then he told them a parable: Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
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24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it felland great was its fall!
47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.
- Mat 7:24
- Jam 1:22
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28 What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, Son, go and work in the vineyard today. 29 He answered, I will not; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, I go, sir; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.
- Mat 21:31
- Luk 7:29
- S&H 20:7
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11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe? And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
- Mat 22:14
- S&H 27:25
- My 244:20
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45 Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked slave says to himself, My master is delayed, 49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. 51 He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
42 And the Lord said, Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that slave says to himself, My master is delayed in coming, and if he begins to beat the other slaves, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful.
- Mat 24:48-51 -- Luk 12:45
- Mis 334:28-11
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31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. 37 Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? 40 And the king will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also will answer, Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? 45 Then he will answer them, Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
17 As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats: 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture? When you drink of clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet? 20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22 I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken..
- Mat 25:31-40
- To explore two webpage articles that quote Mat 25:31-40 and provide insight regarding the practices of "primitive Christianity," browse:
- "The 'duty' of local churches to 'reinstate primitive Christianity' and to 'promote the welfare' of its local community," which is located at http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/love-in-action.htm.
- "Sharing as taught and practiced by the earliest Christians," which is located at http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/sharing.htm.
- Mat 25:35-40
- Gal 4:13-14 echoes the message of this parable: "You remember why I preached the gospel to you the first time; it was because I was ill. But even though my physical condition was a great trial to you, you did not despise or reject me. Instead, you received me as you would an angel from heaven; you received me as you would Christ Jesus." This also provides a helpful model for the practice of Christian healing and nursing.
- '02 18:14
- My 117:13
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19 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich mans table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames. 25 But Abraham said, Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.
27 He said, Then, father, I beg you to send him to my fathers house 28 for I have five brothersthat he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham replied, They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them. 30 He said, No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. 31 He said to him, If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
This parable is found only in Luke. It has two distinct parts, verses Luk 16:19-26 and Luke 16:27-31. Like many scholars, Joachim Jeremias points out (page 183):
In order to understand the parable in detail and as a whole, it is essential to recognize that the first part derives from well-known folk-material concerned with the reversal of fortunes in the after life. This is the Egyptian folk-tale of the journey of Si-Osiris, the son of Setme Chamois to the under-world, which concludes with the words: 'He who has been good on earth, will be blessed in the kingdom of the dead, and he who has been evil on earth, will sufffer in the kingdom of the dead.' Alexandrian Jews brought this story to Palestine, where it became very popular as the story of the poor scholar and the rich publican Bar Ma'jan.
Many current scholars, but not all scholars (see Caird, Danker, Jeremias), believe that the second part (Luk 16:27-31) was introduced to the gospel by the author of Luke, not by Jesus. The major difference among many scholars is whether Jesus himself actually used this "folk-material" parable (Caird, Crossan, Danker, Jeremias) or whether Luke introduced it into the gospel to expand what he believed Jesus to have taught taught (Franklin, Scott, The Jesus Seminar, Via).
Describing the dominant view among the scholars ("Fellows") of the Jesus Seminar, The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition states (page 64):
Many Fellows of the Jesus Seminar are convinced that the first part of the parable (verses 19-26) is also a Lukan creation. Luke contrasts the blessedness of the poor with the condemnation of the rich in the first beatitude and woe (Luke 6:20,24). The bosom of Abraham is an allusion to Luke 3:8: "Do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." This parable, moreover, is the only one in which a character is given a proper name.
Describing a dissenting view among the scholars of the Jesus Seminar, The Parables of Jesus: Red Letter Edition states (page 64):
Other Fellows reasoned that the first half of this parable depicts a scandaous scene reminiscent of Jesus' technique in story telling. Abraham is a suitable figure for heavenly reward because he is rich and well known for his hospitality. The rich man is not censored for being rich (as Luke would have it), but for his lack of hospitality.
Vv. 22-31 are not concerned with the final fate, but with the state immediately after death. That is apparent from a comparison with the folk-tale on which Jesus was drawing... It is a common late-Jewish conception that the righteous and the wicked can see one another in the intermediate state... What v. 25 really says is thaaat impiety and lovelessness are punished, and that piety and humility are rewarded; this is clearly shown by comparison with the fold-material made use of by Jesus...
Since the first part is drawn from well-known folk-material, the emphasis lies on the new 'epilogue' which Jesus added to the first part... Jesus does not want to comment on a social problem, nor does he intend to give teaching about the after-life, but he relates the parable to warn men who resemble the brothers of the rich man of the impending danger. Hence the poor Lazarus is only a secondary figure, introduced by way of contrast. The parable is about the five brothers, and it should not be styled the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, but the parable of the Six Brothers. The surviving brothers, who have their counterpart in the men of the Flood generation, living a careless life, heedless of the rumble of the approaching flood (Matt. 24.37-39 par.), are men of this world, like their dead brother. Like him they live in selfish luxury, deaf to God's word, in the belief that death ends all (v. 28)... Jesus wanted to open their eyes...
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1 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers. 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So again Jesus said to them, Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs awayand the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.
- Joh 10:13
- Mis 213:25
- S&H 464:26
- Joh 10:14 - KJV wording: am known <1097> of <5259> mine <3588 + 1699> - corrected wording: mine <21 + 1699> know <1097> me <1473> - (based on the original text's correction of KJV's Greek text)
- Joh 10:14
- 2Ti 2:19
- Joh 10:16 - KJV wording: there shall be <1096, 3 pers. sg. fut. mid. dep. indic.> - corrected wording: they will become <1096, 3 pers pl. fut. mid. dep. indic.> - (based on the original text's correction of KJV's Greek text)
- Joh 10:16
- Joh 11:52
- Act 10:34,35
- Mis 244:24
- Mis 270:18
- Chr 53:49
- Chr 55:33
Jesus' purpose of using parables, according to the canonical gospels
Explanation #1 for using parables (Strong's #3850)
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10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, Why do you speak to them in parables? 11 He answered, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand. 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 15 For this peoples heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn and I would heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
9 Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speakin parables, so that looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.
39 Jesus said, I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.
62 Jesus said: I tell my mysteries to those [who are worthy of my] mysteries. What thy right hand shall do, let not thy left hand know what it does.
9 And he said, Go and say to this people: Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand. 10 Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed.
- Mat 13:13-16
- Luk 8:10
- Mar 8:17,18
- Joh 12:39,40
- S&H 350:18
- S&H 585:3
- S&H 586:5
- Mis 99:5
- To explore additional references in the Bible and other writings, browse "EARS BUT NOT HEAR, EYES BUT NOT SEE" at http://www.bibletexts.com/topics/e.htm#ears-cannot-hear.
Explanation #2 for using "parables" (Strong's #3850)
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33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.
- Mat 13:35
- S&H 317:1
Explanation #3 for using "figures of speech" (Strong's #3942)
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25 I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father. 29 His disciples said, Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God. 31 Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? 32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!
- Joh 16:28
- Mis 360:28
- Joh 16:25,29 - KJV wording: proverb - NRSV, TEV: figure of speech <Strong's #3942, paroimia, considered virtually synonymous with parabole, parable>
- To explore the meaning of the Greek word paroimia, translated in modern versions as "figure of speech," browse http://www.bibletexts.com/glossary/parables.htm.
- The following is an excerpt from the above-linked webpage on paroimia, quoted from The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volumes 2 (edited by Colin Brown, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1975, 1986, pages 743):
1... It is striking that, although sayings that can be classified as proverbs occur in many places in the NT, only in few places (Jn. 10:6; 16:25, 29; 2 Pet. 2:22) are proverbs and saying designated by the word paroimia. The instances in Jn. occupy an exceptional position.
2. It is only in Jn., in fact, that paroimia occurs (10:6; 16:25, 29) in the sense of dark saying, or riddle. This meaning comes about because of the Heb. equivalent masal and the consequent approximation to parabole [parable]. In retrospect Jesus' discourse on the shepherd (10:6) and, indeed, his discourses in general (16:25) are characterized as dark sayings. The dark saying is contrasted with the later, clear revelatory saying (16:25, 29). This can be understood chronologically; the early Jesus spoke in riddles, the exalted Jesus speaks openly. But this interpretaion contains some difficulties. One cannot really characterize Jesus' words in Jn. as intectectually difficult to understand, nor can one distinguish between dark and clear sayings. Dark here probably does not mean intellectually difficult. The darkness of the words does not reside in the words but in the hearer. Therefore the words are dark and clear simultaneously. The words remain dark so long as the hearer tries to understand them intellectually. "It is possible to understand the words of Jesus only in the reality of the believing existence. Before that they are incomprehensible -- not in the sense of being difficult to grasp intellectually, but because intellectual comprehension is not enough. It is precisely this that the disciples must realize, namely that the commitment of one's whole existence is required to understand these words. They will be comprehensible in the new (i.e., eschatological) existence: rechetai hora hote ktl. ['the hour comes when etc.']: only then will Jesus speak to them parrhesia [openly]" (R. Bultmann, The Gospel of John, 1971, 587).
- The above quote is especially meaningful in the light of:
- S&H 350:6-15
- S&H 45:32-4
- Joh 16:33
- My 132:6
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Marks of the Genuine Parables of Jesus
C.H. Dodd, the British counterpart to the German Jeremias, has provided a classic definition of the parable.
At its simplest the parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought. (The Parables of the Kingdom, 16)
From this definition derive four essential clues to the parables of Jesus.
- The parable is a metaphor or simile...
- The metaphor is taken from nature or common, everyday life...
- The metaphor arrests the hearer by its vividness or strangeness. Jesus chooses metaphors that surprise..., or that exagerate..., or that satirize...
The parable has no conclusion...
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Edited by Robert Nguyen Cramer