The parables of Jesus embody much of His fundamental teaching. They are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to yeast (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus’ parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man’s neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus’ death.
In this series of blog posts, I will be discussing many of these parables in light of the world we live in today. What is Jesus intention in what He says through the parable? What is He saying to me personally? How is this parable relevant in a 21st century world? How can Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky help you implement the parables into your life?
Oftentimes in my counseling practice I equate Jesus’ parables to the Cliff’s Notes of a book. I agree, I’m comparing apples and oranges here. But hear me out. As Cliff’s notes are to the undisciplined or novice reader, as are Jesus’ parables to the novice or undisciplined reader of the Bible. When I’m working with a client who is desperate to find hope and healing in Jesus, I’m more concerned that they are reading/hearing and internalizing the Truth than I am about what is the means or method of it getting into them.
When reading a parable, I tend to read it all the way through first, without any attempt to break it down or understand it. This just helps me have an overall view of the story Jesus chose to employ in conveying an important spiritual message.
Secondly, I walk back through the parable, being intentional to pick up on who the characters are in the story, and what is the message Jesus is wanting them to discover. I suggest that every parable of Jesus will include at least two characters: me and Jesus.
Then I spend the bulk of my study time pondering what it is that causes me to be the character in the story where I most see myself. Do I have false beliefs that hold me in that mindset? Have I just learned attitudes and behaviors by being influenced by the fallen world around me? Am I ignorant to what my character should look like in light of the metaphor taught in this story.
Repentance Brings Heart Change
Regardless what conclusions I land on, Jesus desires for me to confess and repent of how my attitudes and actions have sinned against Him, and possibly kept me from loving others. And He urges me to surrender my mind and will to allow myself to think, act, feel, and be more like His characterization in the parable. One day a time. The counselors at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky are honored to guide you as you seek to surrender to Him and His teachings.
I typically read and re-read a parable for as much as a week. Each day I keep my heart and mind open to a perspective or teaching that is different than the days before. By the end of these several days, the story is pretty ingrained in my heart and mind, and my commitment to has had time to move from my head to my heart.
Thank you for joining me on this journey of examining the parables of Jesus, and implementing them into our lives each day.
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