Two Parables

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The author tells about the life of a silly and vain emperor, whom two cheaters approached, pretending to be artists. They suggested that he wear their clothes, which they said would make him invisible in front of incompetent and stupid people. The emperor agreed, and paid them to make such clothes, as he enjoyed wearing fancy dress.

Two Kinds of Parables

In fact, they did not make any fancy suit; however, people started admiring them, so that they might not be considered useless and stupid. Therefore, the emperor took off his clothes and wore the invisible dress, which actually left him prancing around town naked. Nobody told him the truth except a young boy who screamed to see him. In the book of Luke , Jesus teaches about the love of God for humanity.

In this parable, a rich father divides his estate — while he was still living — between his two sons. That son wastes the whole of his newfound wealth, and becomes miserable. Rather than being angry, the father welcomes his wayward son, celebrating his return. The elder son, who had remained with his father the entire time, not wasting his inheritance, was perplexed by this, and refused to take part in the celebration.

Key Verse: "It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns" Luke Peter wants to know who Jesus is instructing to be watchful. Is He just speaking to the disciples or is He instructing everyone? Jesus responds with another parable. A master puts a manager in charge of his servants while he is away. But what would happen if that manager took advantage of his freedom and responsibility?

What if he figured the master wouldn't return soon, so he became self-indulgent and abusive? The master would show up unannounced and put that manager to death. Jesus is addressing the disciples who would be put in positions of authority in His household, but He is also addressing everyone else who finds themselves in positions of authority within the church. Be vigilant and make sure you are at your Master's business when He returns.

Passage: Luke —9 Audience: The disciples within earshot of a larger crowd Context: Some in the crowd tell Jesus of a tragedy which had befallen some Galileans. Jesus challenges the idea that they suffered as judgment.


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He then calls the whole crowd to repent with this parable. If not, then cut it down" Luke A man is tired of the fruit tree growing in his vineyard not producing fruit. He tells the caretaker to cut it down. The caretaker asks for an opportunity to make it fruitful. The vineyard owner concedes but gives him one year to make it fruitful. Jesus expects fruit from His followers, but like the fig tree, we don't know when our time is up.

We cannot wait forever to begin producing fruit. To remind the disciples about how the kingdom's chain of command works, Jesus asks them to imagine a scenario where a servant has come inside from a day of fulfilling his responsibilities. The master doesn't then wait on the servant. Instead, the servant serves the master and waits patiently before he eats. This is the servant's duty. Jesus doesn't tell this story dismissively, as if the disciples are just slaves. Instead, He wants the disciples to understand that they have been brought into the God's kingdom out of kindness.

God owes them nothing, and they owe Him everything. Passage: Luke —37 Audience: A teacher of the law and likely the disciples Context: A lawyer asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.

Once it's established that the whole of the law is summed up in loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself, the lawyer tries to wriggle out of the responsibility to love his neighbor by asking, "Who is my neighbor? Jesus shocks the lawyer with a parable about a man who is robbed, beaten, and left for dead. A priest and Levite servant to priests come by but do not stop to help the man. But then a Samaritan comes along who tends to the man and pays to put him up in an inn until he recovers.

We miss the shocking nature of this parable because we don't understand just how much Jews hated Samaritans. This hatred went back hundreds of years. To admit that it was the Samaritan who was a true neighbor to this man and not a fellow Jew would have been hard for the lawyer. The application is that everyone is capable of being our neighbor—and we are responsible for being a neighbor to everyone. After teaching them the Lord's Prayer, He gives them this parable. Key Verse: "I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need" Luke Jesus wants His followers to have the courage to make bold requests and pray until God moves.

To illustrate this, He gives a parable about a man whose friend shows up in the middle of the night, but he doesn't have any food to offer him. So, this man goes to another friend and wakes him up to borrow some bread. Jesus isn't comparing God and the sleeping friend. He's actually contrasting them.

What Is a Parable? Find Out Why Jesus Taught in Parables

If a friend is moved enough by your audacity to act on your behalf, how much more is God who loves you? It's almost comical how pointed this parable is. Jesus was invited to dine at the home of a Pharisee, and He was watching guests arrive and jockey for the best positions. He responds with a parable that would have been taken as a very specific criticism.

He tells them that at a wedding party you should never choose the place of honor.

That way if someone more distinguished arrives, the host won't have to ask you to move and humiliate you. Instead, take the lowest place. The more significant application had to do with the Pharisees' perceived prominence in God's kingdom. Jesus often warned that a great reversal was coming where the first would be last. He was encouraging them to prepare for that day. After sharing the Parable of the Place of Honor, a man responds with a toast to those who are blessed enough to eat at the feast of the kingdom of God. It's almost as if he completely missed the point of Christ's words.

So Jesus tells a more challenging parable. A man was putting on a banquet and invited many guests. When he sent his servants to collect the people who promised to attend, they offered excuses for why they couldn't come. When the master heard that the guests had blown off his event, he sent his servant out to invite those on the bottom of society's ladder: the poor, lame, blind, etc.

Parables of Jesus

He then sent the servant out to invite travelers to come to the party. Jesus was trying to tell them that He was here to collect them for God's celebration, but they were refusing Him. In their stead, He was going to fill the kingdom with people the Pharisees didn't think belonged. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? Jesus never seemed interested in attracting a crowd for its own sake. He knew that people were drawn to Him because of His miracles and celebrity.

He always challenged their motives. Here Luke tells us that Jesus randomly turns to the crowd that's following after Him and starts talking about the cost of discipleship. He tells them, "Imagine wanting to build a tower. Wouldn't you count the cost before you started so that you don't have to abandon the project halfway through? Or consider a king about to go to war.

Doesn't he ponder the size of his army, and if he knows he can't win, doesn't he look to strike a deal? When Jesus overhears Pharisees disparaging Him for associating with sinners, He begins instructing them about God's passion for the lost. In God's economy, a shepherd leaves his flock to find a single lost sheep—and upon finding it, he rejoices. Passage: Luke —10 Audience: A large crowd including tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and teachers of the law Context: As Jesus speaks to the crowd, the Pharisees begin grumbling about the low moral quality of the people Jesus associated with.

Key Verse: "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" Luke After the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus offers another parable intended to communicate the same truth.

The Parable of the Good Republican

God is like a woman who loses one of her 10 silver coins, and she overturns the house until she finds it. Once she does, she calls all her friends to celebrate the recovery of this coin.


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  5. Passage: Luke —32 Audience: A large crowd including tax collectors, sinners, Pharisees, and teachers of the law Context: As Jesus speaks to the crowd, the Pharisees begin grumbling about the low moral quality of the people Jesus associated with. Key Verse: "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours'" Luke Jesus rounds out the trifecta of parables about lost things with a story of a wayward son. While this parable is famously known as the story of the prodigal son, it's really a parable about the older brother.

    In this parable, a son asks his dad to give him his inheritance early. The father does, and the son leaves home. It doesn't take too long before his entire portion of the estate is squandered, and at that point, the country is hit with a famine.


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    The son ends up tending to pigs and finds himself longing to eat what the pigs have. He decides to go home, and as he nears the home of his youth, his father runs out to meet him. He apologizes to his father, and his father—so happy to have him home—lavishes attention on him and decides to throw a big party for his return. At the end of the story, we find out that the older brother resents the attention his little brother is receiving.