Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interconnecting Parables

In working on the final parable in the series of three parables that Jesus teaches in Matthew 21.28-22.14, I'm impressed with how each parable is interconnected to the teaching that came before it.

And when you keep the linking images in mind as you study, you really feel the full weight of what Jesus is teaching when you come to the end. These are some of the most sobering passages in the Bible. And they're not taught to "worldly" people... rather they're taught to "conventionally religious" people. We need to feel the weight of these words.

In the first parable -- the Parable of the Two Sons -- Jesus is pointing back to the previous passage (21.23-27) by the returning to the issue of believing in & responding to John's teaching, when John pointed everyone to Jesus.

In the second parable -- the Parable of the Tenants -- Jesus is linking back into the first parable by returning to the image of Working in the Father's Vineyard -- not just saying we will, but really doing so. And the important reference to "the kingdom of God."

In the third parable -- the Parable of the Wedding Feast -- Jesus is linking back into the second parable with the continuing themes of
  • the Son
  • the Servants who are Sent Over & Over (& who get shamefully abused & murdered by the wicked)
  • the Astonishing Patience of the Master/Father
  • but also the Eventual Destruction of the Wicked
  • and the Transfer of Favor to Another (Unlikely) Group of People.

The prideful religious people say they're living in the kingdom of God, but actually they refuse to even enter the kingdom by believing in & following Jesus. Meanwhile the outcasts -- the tax collectors & the prostitutes -- are entering the kingdom.

But... the tenants must yield the fruit... the guest must wear the garments. The Master/Father/King wants to taste & see the fruit of his righteousness and grace in our lives.

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