Ep 1: Introduction to the Parables

Ep 1: Introduction to the Parables


Christianity is all about meeting Jesus who’s not once upon a time,
he’s here and now. So the encounter with him is really the
whole of Christianity. In that sense Christianity is a personality cult
– we have to get to know him and the question is: How? If he lived all those years ago,
how do we get to know Jesus as presence and power, now? One crucial part of an answer
to that question is to walk into the world
of the Gospels. We talk about the four Gospels as inspired texts. And one of the things that means is that if you
enter the story world of the Gospels you will actually meet Jesus. You’ll see him, you’ll hear him,
you won’t just read about him. You’ll see him and hear him
it will be an encounter. Now when you walk into the world
of the Gospels one of the things you’ll hear from Jesus,
most strikingly, are the parables that he speaks. Others before him had used parables, they were well-known
in Jewish tradition – particularly what they call
the wisdom tradition. So these little stories – that open
on to a very large truth – are typical of Jewish tradition
but Jesus makes them his own. In fact in the four Gospels
we find about 40 parables, which is an extraordinary number. So they were somehow typical of his teaching style and one of the interesting questions is:
Why was that so? And also the parables of Jesus were
unlike many of the parables before him, he uses them in a very
distinctive way. Now the word ‘parable’
means a comparison literally ‘a throwing together’
– from the Greek: ‘parabolē’. Now what a parable does
– as a little story is it brings together two things
that are not normally associated. And it does that for two reasons, first of all to subvert conventional
perceptions, in order then to generate new and
more brilliant perceptions of reality. And the reality that Jesus speaks of,
in telling these little stories – the parables, is what he calls ‘The Kingdom of God’. So the parables have as their prime intent
to subvert conventional notions and understandings of the Kingdom of God
– what it is, what it means – in order to generate new and more
brilliant perceptions of what the Kingdom of God
actually is. So we walk into the world of
the Gospel stories, we listen to the voice of Jesus
speaking these parables, and then we come out with a new
perception and experience of the Kingdom of God,
which is in Him.

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