“While claiming full unity and equality with God, Jesus was very active as a teacher and healer. Through his parables, direct teaching on important topics, and miracles, Jesus used commonplace human situations to tell us about God’s interest in each of us, the way to make good choices in our life, and about the Kingdom” (Adult Learner’s Guide). Parables
What is a parable? A parable is a short story or a brief tale that is told to illustrate a religious, moral, or philosophical idea. About one third of Jesus Christ’s recorded teachings are in the form of parables. Jesus frequently used parables as a means of illustrating profound, divine truths. Stories such as these are easily remembered, the characters are bold, and the symbolism is rich in meaning. Parables were a common form of teaching in Judaism. Before a certain point in His ministry, Jesus had employed many graphic analogies using common things that would be familiar to everyone (salt, bread, sheep, etc.) and their meaning was fairly clear in the context of His teaching (Stories for All Peoples). The parables that Jesus told were not just for those whom he personally taught. His parables are part of his gospel and are therefore for all peoples throughout all nations and throughout all time. When he said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15) he had already presented the gospel in a form that suits that great commission. Furthermore, Jesus crafted his parables in such a way that they would remain effective even when carried far beyond his own teaching environment into the future. They became an important part of the scriptures, so that they could be retold all around the world and all through the centuries. They were truly lessons for the future, and have, through 2000 years, provided many individual seekers with insights that enable them to embrace the kingdom of heaven and eternal life (Stories for All Peoples). “Bible parables conform to artistic, illustrative devices, which may have been used in any well-written literary piece. They must also, however, be understood as tools employed by God the Holy Spirit to inspire His written word and convey His truths” (Parables of Jesus – Vivid Illustrations). Jesus’ two most famous parables are the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) and the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Both parables illustrate God's love for sinners and God's command that we show compassion to all people. The Parable of the Prodigal Son
The parable of the prodigal son is about a son who decides to take his inheritance and spend it on a life of sin. After his money runs out, his life hits rock bottom. He decides to return home and see if his father will take him back as a lowly servant. His father, however, doesn’t take him back as a servant. Instead, he takes him back as a son. His father clothes him with the best robe, kills the fatted calf, and throws him a party. The father is rejoicing because his prodigal son has returned. The point to emphasize here is that this father, instead of worrying about his honor, which was very important in that culture, throws it away and does not act as the typical patriarchal father. Instead, he acts rather as a mother and forgives both sons. His chief concern is that they live together in peace and harmony. Also, if we choose to do things our own way instead of the Father's way, we have to live with the consequences of our actions.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
The parable of the Good Samaritan is about a man who was attacked, robbed and left to die by the side of a road. Later, a priest saw the stricken figure and avoided him. Similarly, a Levite saw the man and ignored him as well. Then a Samaritan passed by, and, despite the mutual antipathy between Samaritans and the Jewish population, immediately rendered assistance by giving him first aid and taking him to an inn to recover. This parable...