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Parables in Society

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Parables in Society
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.
Jesus told many parables during his ministry that really spoke to the people that he was ministering to and also gave them something to think about as well. I want to know something though; have you ever thought about the parables Jesus told and the fact that they could be true for us today in our society? Have you ever thought about how these parables can be examples of homelessness, inclusion, missionaries, and many other things in our society and how we can learn a lot from these parables?
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.
What are some characteristics of Jesus’ parables? What makes them so much different than any of the other parables or stories we hear people tell? If someone is reading them, we may be easily tempted to see them as very simple stories. They speak of invitations to banquets, of fishermen casting their nets, of women baking bread, of teenagers leaving home and of employees who have problems with their bosses. Since these are situations that we all may know by experience, the parables seem to us more accessible than they really are. Their first listeners, however, realized very soon that, behind their modest appearance, the parables were hiding unexpected dimensions. Rather than examples illustrating reality, they carry surprising messages. When we analyses them in depth, we discover that the parables constitute some of the most perplexing and enigmatic passages in Scripture. So what makes these stories so special? 1. They are built on an element of surprise. They are full of mysteries and teach as much through evidence as through extravagance. 2. The parables make it easier to establish unexpected connections. 3. The fact of appealing more directly to the imagination than to reason, allows the parable to open more easily the door which leads to the mysterious inner world, in which everyone builds his/her own view of reality. 4. The narrative language is language of contacts and relations. The message easily reaches its target when the listener identifies his/her own experience with the story told. a. Mathew 9:16-17 b. Mathew 6:25-26 5. Parables and anecdotes have a seductive effect because they do not impose anything, they do not threaten. The audience has to wait until the end of the story to discover how its lesson applies to his/her personal case. c. Luke 9:62 d. Mathew 9:12 6. Many of the illustrations used by Jesus belong to the category of “self-evident metaphors”. Their premises work on a hidden form of truism enveloped in an almost irrefutable argument. e. Mathew 6:13 f. Mathew 5:15 g. Mathew 7:16-20 7. Jesus knew how to combine in his parables spirituality, ethics, and aesthetics. In order to touch the conscience of his listeners while respecting the complexities of the human mind, he was a master at the craft of bringing together deep thinking and the beauty of art.
To start this paper off, I am going to explain what each of the three parables mean and what is the “moral” of the parable and then talk about practical application that the parable has in our society today.
The first parable I am going to talk about is one that is well known to pretty much anybody who is a believer or even a non-believer. It is the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is perhaps the most well-known Lucan parable. There are two ways to interpret this parable. The first way is to take it as how it is read and how a person should help others in need. It is about having the heart of a neighbor and helping out your fellow neighbor. In relation to the rejection of Jesus, it should also be noted that in this parable, the Jewish religious leaders rejected the man who fell among the robbers. An outcast was the only one who helped him out. Jesus was the outcast One who was willing to seek and to save people who were suffering and hurting. The parable told is:
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:23-37)
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 highlights God is the Father of everyone. There are no elites and no chosen ones, because everybody is chosen in God's plan and God desires all persons to be saved.
Something also significant to the story is the question that the lawyer had asked what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer was, in effect, "You have to do the impossible." How could anyone be expected to live up to the standard of the Samaritan in this story? If that is what God expects, even the meticulous lawyer was doomed. But Jesus had chosen his words carefully. He was showing that humans cannot meet the perfect requirements of the law. Even those who fully dedicate themselves to it fall short. Jesus is the only one to fulfill the law in its deepest intent. Jesus alone is the Good Samaritan.
So the question is this: How can we let ourselves be touched by other people whom we hardly know? The Samaritan is touched because he sees the wounded man. The priest and the Levite also see him, but they see not a person needing help but a possible source of impurity. The first challenge is to open one’s eyes to see. Just before the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus turns to the disciples and says, ‘Blessed are the eyes which see what you see’ (10.23). Every society makes some people visible and others disappear. In our society politicians and film stars, singers and football players are all visible. They appear in public spaces and on the billboards and televisions. But we make the poor and members of the LGBTQ community invisible. They disappear from the electoral lists. They have neither a voice nor a face. Sometimes it is because people think they are going against what God has in plan for their lives. We as a society are scared of what is not normal or natural for us. We tend to not know how to react to certain things and people in society. Sometimes we are left in a state of shock. We get so impacted by the things we see happening in our society that some people want to do something but other people just go on with their daily lives and not pay any attention to them. People like the Trevor Project are the Good Samaritan’s to the LGBTQ community. The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. They also provide guidance and vital resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school. I have seen first-hand just the impact and the work that this organization has been doing in the lives of people around me. They really care about helping out the people who are considered outcast and help them back up after they have been beaten down. This is a true example of the Good Samaritan Parable in our lives. The second parable I am going to talk about is the parable of the sower. This parable was told by Jesus to show that a number of responses are possible to the Word of God and show what happens when good Christians receive the word of the Lord and act accordingly. The parable told is:
“While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’” (Luke 8:4-10) The sowers seed falls on four different types of ground. The hard ground “by the way side” prevents the seed from sprouting at all, and the seed becomes nothing more than bird food. The stony ground provides enough soil for the seeds to germinate and begin to grow, but because there is “no deepness of earth,” the plants do not take root and are soon withered in the sun. The thorny ground allows the seed to grow, but the competing thorns choke the life out of the beneficial plants. The good ground receives the seed and produces much fruit. These can be examples of four different responses to the gospel. The seed is “the word of the kingdom.” The hard ground represents someone who is hardened by sin; he hears but does not understand the Word, and Satan plucks the message away, keeping the heart dull and preventing the Word from making an impression. The stony ground pictures a man who professes delight with the Word; however, his heart is not changed, and when trouble arises, his so-called faith quickly disappears. The thorny ground depicts one who seems to receive the Word, but whose heart is full of riches, pleasures, and lusts; the things of this world take his time and attention away from the Word, and he ends up having no time for it. The good ground portrays the one who hears, understands, and receives the Word—and then allows the Word to accomplish its result in his life. The man represented by the “good ground” is the only one of the four who is truly saved, because salvation’s proof is fruit A proper example of the parable in our society is portrayed in the lives of missionaries and ordained members of the church. The sower (Jesus) casts out numerous seeds (Teachings), but how many of the surfaces (Listeners) of which they are cast upon allow the seeds (Teachings) to prosper and grow? When people who are going out into the world spreading the Good News to those who have not heard, they are going to run into a lot of hardships and rejection. Many countries where Christianity is not really practiced, there are still people going and planting seeds there and people are coming to know Christ and come into a relationship with him but have to keep quiet about it all. They just have the urge to want to share the seeds with other people but are living in fear of their own lives because they are not following the norm for their culture. Beatitude means “blessing” or “promise” of true happiness. They are stepping stones on the path to the kingdom of heaven. One of the beatitudes is, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”. The message of both the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Sower are relevant to today’s society because if ever you see somebody hurt in public and nobody is helping them, you should be the good person and help them. If you see someone in society that does not know God and are showing an honest burden to know him, you should plant that seed in their mind and heart so that they will begin to start reaping the benefits of the truth. Jesus’ parables hold a lot of truth and promise to our lives today and we should totally be following in his footsteps. So the next time you run into a situation that jogs your heart or your mind, think of just one little question: What would Jesus do?

Works Cited
Arthur, Kay. "The Gospel of Luke." The New Inductive Study Bible: Updated New American Standard Bible. Eugene, Or.: Harvest House, 2000. N. pag. Print.
Jeremias, Joachim. The Parables of Jesus. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1963. Print.
"Jesus Christ." AllAboutJesusChrist.org. N.p., 2002. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/>.
Kwan, Annette. Jesus Law! [Parramatta, N.S.W.]: Lets See Investments, 2008. Print.
"A New Look at the Good Samaritan." Grace Communion International. Grace Communion International, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://www.gci.org/bible/luke/goodsam>.
"Parables of Jesus." AllAboutJesusChrist.org. N.p., 2002. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/parables-of-jesus.htm>.
"The Trevor Project." The Trevor Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://www.thetrevorproject.org/>.
Viladesau, Richard, and Mark Stephen. Massa. Foundations of Theological Study: A Sourcebook. New York: Paulist, 1991. Print.
Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck. "The Gospel of Luke." The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1983. N. pag. Print.
"What Is the Meaning of the Parable of the Sower?" GotQuestions.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. <http://www.gotquestions.org/parable-sower.html>.

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[ 1 ]. Jesus Law!, 2008
[ 2 ]. NIV
[ 3 ]. Jesus Law!, 2008
[ 4 ]. The Parables of Jesus,1963
[ 5 ]. NIV
[ 6 ]. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 1983
[ 7 ]. NIV
[ 8 ]. The Trevor Project
[ 9 ]. NIV
[ 10 ]. Grace Communion International
[ 11 ]. NIV, Mathew 5:6…...

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...Brett Irwin February 4, 2014 Parable of the Sadhu Business 005 In a world where capitalism is prevalent not only in economics, but in social status and achievement, many people are often consumed in personal “success.” This arbitrary definition of success varies in meaning from person to person, but for the most part is marked by trivial accomplishments used solely for bragging rights. While actually accomplishing the goals set may be difficult, the entire purpose of working towards them is meaningless. Such is the situation that Bowen McCoy, possibly inadvertently, found himself in, in the Himalayas. During his time at Morgan Stanley, McCoy was on a long and arduous journey high in the Himalaya Mountains. While hiking, McCoy, his business partner, and a group of other travelers came upon a Sadhu clinging to life, alone in the mountains. Expecting the summit of the mountain to be the highest point of his journey, in both possible meanings, McCoy soon had more ethical and moral responsibilities to consider than he had bargained for. Blinded by his ambitions, and set out for personal achievement, McCoy was not really doing anything wrong per se, but was soon faced by an ethical dilemma, without initially realizing it. McCoy did not recognize that he was faced with an important decision, but rather acted in the moment according to a simple set of standards. Firstly, he thought about his mission to climb the mountain. This was the first......

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The Parable of the Sadhu

...The Parable of The Sadhu Reflection by: Austine Mae Gabales Mgt19 MTH 10:30-12:00 The Sadhu provides a parallel to business situations — both require quick responses where indecision can have grim consequences. As on the mountain, most business decisions occur absent all relevant information. Also, in our business lives our rush to succeed can let our goals interfere with doing the right thing. I would suggest that most of us have become numb to situations we confront because of their banality and our drive to achieve. Sometimes we just look through or past issues. Moral decision-making does not occur in a vacuum. The real test of personal and corporate values is what you do under stress. Judgments rendered under pressure reveal more about our character than pronouncements of corporate ethics do. As you think about the “Parable,” bear in mind that decisions made in the comfort of your office or home may not be the ones you would make on top of a cold mountain, or more to the point, under job stress. To a large degree, stress and teleopathy, the overzealous pursuit of a goal, limit us all. Greed, singleness of purpose, rationalization and detachment conspire to keep Sadhus out of our lives. The detachment of politicians and the greed of business people combined to induce the financial meltdown, and the rationalization that followed elucidates how unfortunate decisions can impact or destroy others. Last week, I received upsetting news about my close friend. She asked me...

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The Parable of the Sadhu

...The Parable of the Sadhu walks us through an ethical dilemma that Bowen McCoy had faced on his journey through Nepal. McCoy and his anthropologist friend Stephen had been at the halfway point of their 60 day travel through the Himalayan mountains. While on this journey there were 3 other groups of travelers that had joined, the New Zealanders, the Swiss, and the Japanese. During their travels the mountaineers encountered an Indian holy man, a Sadhu, who was near death, half naked, barefoot, and suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia. They had found the man at 15,500 ft. while attempting to reach their summit point at 18,000 ft. Here is where the ethical dilemma rears its head. The travelers were now faced with heavy questions: do they help the Sadhu ultimately diverging them from their goal to reach the summit, or do they keep hiking on and leave the Sadhu to possibly die? Another ethical dilemma is seen at the end of the parable when McCoy begins to question if he should have done more? (The Parable of the Sadhu, 1997) The ethical frameworks that can be seen at the core of Stephen’s and McCoy’s conflicting responses to the problem of the Sadhu are that Stephen took a deontological approach while McCoy seems to have taken the a utilitarian approach. Stephen was quicker in thinking and making his decisions based on his ethical framework. By taking the deontological approach, Stephen was focused on duty. The deontological approach all......

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