Tag Archives: parables

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“A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower , and leased it to tenants and went into another country . When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard . And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty- handed . Again he sent to them another servant , and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully . And he sent another , and him they killed . And so with many others : some they beat , and some they killed . He had still one other, a beloved son . Finally he sent him to them , saying , ‘They will respect my son .’ But those tenants said to one another , ‘ This is the heir . Come , let us kill him , and the inheritance will be ours .’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard . What will the owner of the vineyard do ? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others .

Have you not read this Scripture :
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone ;
this was the Lord's doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes ’?”

How do Dispensationalists deal with the "others"?

The Parables of Jesus: Entering, Growing, Living, and Finishing in God's Kingdom by Terry Johnson

If you ask, "Why did Jesus teach in parables?" most people will answer:  "to make it easier to understand."

When the disciples asked Jesus why He taught in parables, He answered, "

This is why I speak to them in parables:
"Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
" 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Matt 13:13-17 ESV)

According to Jesus, He used parables not to make it easier to understand, but to make it more difficult to understand!

Why?  Johnson puts forward the thought that parables were perfect for Jesus' "purposes in election".

He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. (v.11)

I think the verse that follows contradicts the imposition of the doctrine of election into this passage, though.

Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. (v.12)

I think this verse says that (even if there is no doctrine of election and we all start out with the same ability), those who have even a little bit of understanding will be given more...and those who refuse to listen to the Word will have even what they started with taken away.

But the point remains that Jesus used parables to illuminate the truth to some...and to veil it to others.

From "The Parables of Jesus: Entering, Growing, Living, and Finishing in God's Kingdom" by Terry Johnson.

We know that Jesus taught with parables (not the only way He taught, but (Johnson says) that whenever it is recorded that Jesus taught, He included parables.

He gives 5 related by slightly different definitions of "parable".

(1) "wise sayings of a pictorial kind" (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew, 354)
(2) "A story taken from real life (or a real-life situation) from which a moral or spiritual truth is drawn" (J.M.Boice)
(3) "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning" (an old Sunday School definition)
(4)"examples of popular story-telling that are meant to evoke a response and to strike a verdict" (A.M.Hunter, Interpreting the Parables")
(5) " a comparison, a putting of one thing beside another to make a point" (Robert F. Capon, The Parables of the Kingdom)

The parables are interesting because they sometimes turn what we "know" upside down.

"bad people are commended, good people are scolded and unanticipated pople are rewarded and punished" (p.16

The parables illuminate those with the key, but obscure it for those who do not. The disciples had to ask about the parable of the sower.

Johnson says,

Jesus' answer is that parables are uniquely suited to the central principles of redemption in that they in fact both reveal the truth and veil it. They are illuminating for some and at the same time obscuring for others.

  • do the definitions make sense?
  • why would Jesus use a confusing method of teaching?