A provocative element of Jesus’ parables is that they simultaneously point to the present and to the future. An important attribute of a growing, faithful Christian life is the ability to see the present and the future mingled together and to be reminded that our future is being rendered by what we participate in today.
Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus used parables to convey deep truths about the Kingdom of God, God himself, and his followers. These simple stories reveal a richness and depth that, at first glance, may escape the hearer. But each parable says something eternity-revealing and spur us into action.
We live in a world filled with great injustice leaving us wondering how we should respond. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus offers us a way forward that demonstrates how to respond by loving and serving our neighbor.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:25–37
We live in a world that cries out for “more, more, more;” yet Jesus calls us less to accumlate for the sake of having more things, and more to invest in his Kingdom. What does this counter-cultural life look like today?
SCRIPTURE: Luke 12:13–21; Matthew 25:14–30
Our experience with others is dictated by “social maps” with relatively clearly defined roles and expectations, rewards, and punishments. Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector frustrates the social map of Jesus’ own day and suggests that we should examine the way we see our world as well.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 18:9–14
In our world that is shaped by competition and earning, Jesus’ parables of grace seem to be upside down, bizarre, and other-worldly. While the grace of God may be celebrated by those who are vulnerable without it, the grace of God frustrates those who suggest that they can make it all on their own.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 20:1–16
“Lost” is a reality that confuses men, confounds women, and can strike fear into the hearts of the bold if they realize they are lost. “Lost” is also a condition that Jesus used to describe people who were estranged from God. The curious thing about being lost is that more often than not, it takes someone else to find you. Someone like God, maybe.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 15:1–32
In the parables, Jesus often speaks of the Kingdom of heaven, giving examples from daily life. In many cases, we can see the Kingdom growing in our world. In other cases it is harder to detect, seemingly hidden by noise and strife. On this World Communion Sunday, we will join with believers around the world to celebrate the Kingdom in our midst.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:31–34
Life is filled with weeds that choke and tangle our lives and with weedy people trying to entrap us and keep us from living into the fullness of God’s plan for our lives. Jesus teaches how we should respond to these weeds, and how we can ultimately use them for the betterment of his Kingdom.