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Bible Chat on Parables of Jesus for Lenten Contemplation


‘I invite you, therefore… to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word…’ BCP 1979 pg. 265

A parable is a literary device for communicating an important truth or lesson. It is usually a very short story about a common thing in life that reveals an uncommon truth to enhance the quality of one’s life. Jesus used parables extensively in His teaching. Most scholars state that the 39 parables point out the things Jesus felt most important for seekers to learn to live by. The themes of the importance of prayer and the true meaning of love are the keys to developing and deepening one’s relationship to God, the world and others.

+Mostly Jesus used parables when speaking to crowds. Parables are not so much meant to reveal ‘private’ or ’secret’ information to individuals on solitary journeys. Christianity is primarily a communal/interconnected path to God based on a person being part of an interpreting/active community of faith.

+By the numbers- 39 Total Parables by most standards. Luke 28,  Mark 8, Matthew 21 (although 10 of Mt are only found in Mt), John 0.  

+Important themes for Lenten contemplation-  The Kingdom of God grows and flourishes from small, even tiny beginnings. (See, read aloud and discuss) Leaven in the Loaf  (Matthew 13:13 and Luke 13:20) and Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31 + Mark 4:30 + Luke 13:18)

+The Value of the spiritual connection with Heaven and the need to live a faithful life in order to experience the blessings of heaven. ( The Pearl -Matthew 13:45 and Hidden Treasure Matthew 13:44)

+The promise of redemption even after loss-(Lost Sheep Luke 15:1-7, Matthew 18:12-4) , Lost Coin Luke 15:8, Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32,

+The Demand for Social Justice/Generosity of Spirit – (Luke 16:19 – 31)

+Requirement to learn forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-35)

+The Need for Prayerful Persistence (Unjust Judge Luke 18:1-9)

+The Way to Life Eternal / Eschatology – (Luke 12:16 – 21)  Rich Fool +THE FAITHFUL SERVANT  Mathew 24:42 – 51, Mark 13: 34 – 37, Luke 12:35 – 48.

One may devote days or decades to reading and re-reading the Parables of Jesus, each time receiving a deeper or nuanced insight. Let these be great spiritual resources for you. Pick a word or phrase that catches your attention on a given day and sit quietly with it. Like a mustard seed, it may yield the greatest example of the tree of life you have yet to see.