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I will be outlining the main meaning of the term ‘parable’ Essay

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In this coursework, I will be outlining the main meaning of the term ‘parable’, and finding out what it means to many people in the world today. I will be concentrating on three main sections: What the term Parables mean and where it originated from, how Jesus presented his teaching in Luke’s Gospel, and talking about the meaning of parables to Christians today.Parables are one of the most important means that Jesus used when communicating with the people of Israel, to spread the word of God. People liked to listen to stories rather than long sermons or talks, and Jesus’ parables helped them to develop their own conclusions. This meant that even people who couldn’t read and write were able to remember the one message or meaning in the parable.Parables were short, sharp and straight to the point, making the listener sit up and think for themselves, helping them to develop their own personal understanding about Jesus’ message.What is meant by the term Parable?A Parable is a simple story with a clear teaching. The word Parable originates from the Greek work ‘parobole’ meaning a comparison, and mainly has one meaning. For example, ‘The Parable of the Mustard Seed’ – teaches us that the Kingdom of God would grow from small beginnings into something big and significant and protection for people.Jesus, who preached his stories to many Jewish people, who weren’t rich, related the parables to their way of life, for example ‘The Lost Sheep’ in Luke’s Gospel, and ‘The Rich Fool.’ The meaning of the parable is left to the listeners to work out for themselves.The difference between a parable and an allegory is that a parable clearly states the meaning or message n the parable, where as an allegory is a story where the message is hidden in a type of code. An allegory may depart into a type of make believe world, meaning the story has to be decoded to understand the meaning. For example, in the last book of the New Testament, allegorical material can be found throughout the New Testament.Many of the Parables that Jesus preached, can be found in Luke’s Gospel, for example: ‘The Parable of the Sower’ Luke 8:1-15, ‘The Parable of the Good Samaritan’ Luke 10:25-37.Jesus used Parables in his teaching for a number of different reasons:Many people in Jesus’ time liked listening to stories, rather than sermons, and by preaching out in public, they captures the audience’s attention.Parables were easily understood as they held clear and precise meaning to them and they were easy to listen to.The Parables encouraged people to thin for themselves, making them develop an understanding to the parable, that could be achieved by people who could not read or write.The parables have held the same meaning for the past 200 years, encouraging many Christians today, giving them genuine faith and commitment to God.Describe from Luke’s Gospel, how Jesus presented his teachings through Parables.The main theme of the parables is the central theme of the Gospel, the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not an area of land. It refers to Gods new society, to people who live according to Gods new rules.The kingdom of God is a present reality in the sense that God guided his people all the time, but it is also a future reality when God will rule the earth.Many Jews believe that God sent down an anointed one, the Messiah, to lead the people into developing the world God wanted. Jesus said that such a moment arrived. Evidence of this can be seen in Luke 4:17-19. The parables teach us things about God and his Kingdom such as where and when it is, how one can enter it and how important it is.The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37Jesus was confronted by an opponent one day, asking him ‘who is my neighbour?’ Jesus told him about a man one day, who was robbed when walking between Jericho and Jerusalem. A Levite and priest passed him by, saw that he had been robbed and just crossed the road, then a Samaritan who was despised by the Jews helped the man and gave him food and shelter.This story showed people in Jesus’ time that everyone is our neighbour, even our worst enemy. This must have shocked many of Jesus’ audience, mainly because Priests and Levites were meant to love everyone because they were religious people.’There is no place for discrimination in Gods Kingdom’ Jesus set an example for everybody by showing love to everyone: the Jews, the rich, the poor, the Levites and the sinners. Throughout the Parable, Jesus wanted to show us the different types of love shown towards the man that was robbed. The Parable may have surprised many people than, because there was a lot of tension between Samaritans and Jews then.The Parable of the Sower Luke 8:1-15The Parable of the Sower is one of the most well known: the seeds fall on four different type of ground: the footpath, rocky ground, among thistles and on good soil. At first sight, this may be seen as careless farming with so much seed to be wasted. The parable only makes sense when seen against the methos of farming followed Palestine at the time. Certainly some seed was wasted but this is exactly what used to happen. The sowing was done before the ploughing.The message of the Parable is simple – on the one hand it shows the frustrations of the Sower’s labouring with its weed, greedy birds and rocky ground; on the other hand, in contrast to this, a picture of a rich harvest. The meaning of the story is that the kingdom of God will be successful in spite of all the frustrations and difficulties.What this Parable is trying to say is that the seed is Jesus’ message and that everything will grow from there, people’s faith, people’s freedom, and gods kingdom will finally be fulfilled.But Jesus changes this Parable into an allegory, when he talks about the seed being the word of God and the various types of soil being peoples different responses.The Lost Son Luke 15:11-32The Lost son is a Parable about a father who equally divides his Land between his two sons. One of his sons decides to sell the farm and spend it on luxury goods away from, where as the other son works hard and make sure his crops grow well. The other son spends all his money and can’t find a decent job so he ends up working with pigs – the lowest job or rank you can be in Israel – working with pigs.He goes back home and his father rejoices and prepares a great banquet to celebrate the return of his son. The other son is enraged and questions his father about it. The father replies ‘My son was lost, and now he is found.’The father treated the son like an honoured guest – the robe was a sign of honour: the ring was a rich gift and a sign of position and authority and the fatted calf was kept especially for the arrival of a special occasion. The younger son has finally reached a point of repentance.The younger son teaches people in Jesus’ time how many people strayed away from God, and the further away they get, the more lost they become. And the elder son behaved just like the Pharisees and the Levite – acting without any mercy or regard that his brother had returned safe and well.The Parable of the Friend at Midnight Luke 11:1-1Travelers in Palestine often journey late to avoid the scorching midday heat. When a man arrives the days baking has all been eaten. But in the east the law of hospitality is sacred, and so, late as it is, the host goes to the neighbour to borrow bread. Jesus’ audience must have smiled at the humour of the situation. The father in heaven can be trusted to give only what is good when his children pray to him.Jesus is pointing out the contrast between the unwillingness of the man who was knocked upon and the willingness of God who loves his Children.’Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find;knock and the door will be opened. For everyonewho asks, receives; those who seek, find: and toanyone who knocks, the door will be opened.’ (Luke 9:9-10)Discuss the meaning and relevance of parables to the belief and life of Christians today.The teaching of Jesus’ parables today inspires many Christians. Values such as love and forgiveness are expressed in those stores in spite of the fact that they are set in the everyday life two thousand years ago.The Good SamaritanThe Two Great Commandments that are mentioned in this parable are to love God and to love your neighbour. From this parable, the story explains to us that everyone is a neighbour without looking at his or her race, religion or sociable background. The claims of the Kingdom of God state that all people must be treated the same and held in the same esteem. Love is the basic attitude, which all Christians should have no matter what.In personal experience, I have felt proud and confident of myself when I am able to help people who have been hurt either emotionally or physically. This parable has also inspired many people including myself to reach out to people in distress, to organisations such as The Samaritan or CAFOD.The Parable of The Sower’Christians need to reflect from time on their faith, knowing that it is easy to be distracted from their calling to be disciples.’Nowadays, Television and newspapers are saying that evil is growing stronger than goodness, take for example the war in Iraq, which seems to be doing more harm than good, we may get discouraged, however there are many signs of goodness in the world.The Parable of the Sower explains to Christians today that we should repent for all our sins we have committed and that if we believe in Jesus and his teachings, not only will our faith grow but also our trust and love for one another and the bond between us and God.As an allegory, this parable can make us think of our way to respond to the Word of God.The Lost SonThe teaching of the Lost Son points out the Kingdom as one in which God offers people the chance to return to him. ‘Christians see in the parable of the lost son a picture of God’s forgiveness shown in the father. He does not hold sin against people. They also claim that forgiveness produces reconciliation only when it is proceeded by repentance.’Many Christians find it hard to welcome people from different backgrounds and cultures, mainly due to the fact that they believe in different religions, and they find it more difficult to communicate with them.’Jesus did teach his followers to be ready to forgive others just as God would forgiven them. The parable of the Lost Son does teach us that God wants the penitent sinner to be welcomed back by the ‘older brother.”The Parables are no longer relevant for life today’, Remember to consider both sides of the argument.I have a mixed view about this topic, one could argue with the statement saying:A parable is an important factor in society today, it helps us work out the meaning of life and the boundary line between right and wrong. This helps many Christians growing up understand the goodness in life and helps them lead a certain lifestyles.A Parable does catch the attention of the audience and is more interesting than long sermons, which would help the listener understand the topic more easily whether they are blind, or they cant read or write.Also parables help many people think and develop their own understanding about the Kingdom of God.Whereas on the other hand:Parables could make it more difficult to understand the meaning behind the stories for many of the children because it talks about seeding and farming, and does not talk about the moral issues of life.If I had to explain to a group of teenagers the story about the Good Samaritan, I would base it in modern day society. For example:’One day, there was a man walking from Balham to Clapham south station when he was attacked by a couple of youths who stole his wallet. A Priest walked by and saw him but just crossed the road and carried on walking, then a doctor walked by and saw the man but just carried on walking, but then a refugee from Afghanistan, who was getting pressured and bullied by the council and community, saw the man and took pity on him. He gave the man shelter and warmth and paid the doctors to treat him.’In conclusion, despite some problems of interpretation, the main teachings of the parables are relevant for life today, this is because human nature has not really changed.

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