All in Parables

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

In the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus shows us why we should pray—God is not an unjust judge, but the righteous Father who loves his elect and will bring justice. In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Jesus shows us how we should pray—not with pride, comparing ourselves to others, but in humility, needy for God’s mercy. Putting the two together, Luke aims to show us that we both ought to pray and never lose heart and that there is a certain heart that knows how to pray, and a heart that doesn’t.

The Persistent Widow

The widow had no rights before the judge. But we are not like the widow before the unjust judge. We are like children before the Father. We are like Abraham and David, whom God protected and provided for. We are God’s elect, his chosen people. Though our prayers be long and labored, though they be stretched across times and seasons, though we grow tired and impatient, we should not lose heart because God is for us, and if God is for us, who can be against us?

The Dishonest Manager

Jesus is telling us not to be financial morons. Let’s not remove ourselves from the world and let’s not pour our heart into the world. Let’s consecrate the world to God. Let’s use what he’s given as he would want us to use it, because we are all stewards of money that is not ours.

The Wedding Feast

That’s why we need the gospel to orient us at every moment, even at a dinner party. The gospel of Christ, when believed wholeheartedly, does not lift a man above others, it humbles him to the proper place among others. That’s hard to grasp. We are so like the Pharisees. We long to be exalted, and we deeply fear we never will be. So, when we have an opportunity, we squeeze our way into the front of the line, worried that if we don’t do it, no one ever will.

The Barren Fig Tree

We are all fruitless to some degree, are we not? Even if we are doing well in one area, there are other areas of failure, or fruitlessness. But God is not calling us to account right now. We have this moment before him. What will we do with it? He may call us to account five minutes from now, but right now we’re here, alive, with an opportunity to live for him.

The Rich Fool

Talking about money is never easy in the church. Maybe in other parts of the world it’s different, but in America, talking about money in the church is something pastors know they should do, but often rarely do. There may be one Sunday a year set aside to address it, and even that is a struggle. But Jesus talks about money a lot. In fact, eleven of Jesus’s thirty-nine parables were about our handling of money. Tim Keller says that at least 28% of the time Jesus spoke, he talked about money. But money is a topic most of the church in America ignores from the pulpit and Bible study.

Today, we can’t ignore it.

The Good Samaritan

In Christ, we are propelled into a new world that isn’t like the old. It’s full of mercy and grace, and we have the privilege of serving the least of these. Let us no longer do it out of a sense of duty or obligation. That never drives us to true service. Only love can. And love has come down to us in Christ. In the fullness of his joy, then, and to the praise of the glory of his grace, let us go and do likewise. 

The Ten Virgins and the Talents

Jesus Christ is coming back. It’s an inevitability. He will come in person, with glory and power, to end the present age and usher eternity into being. The dead will rise. The wicked will be judged. The “how long, O, Lord” cries will turn into victory shouts. The tears will be wiped away. Heaven will come down to earth, and all things will be made new. 

The Unforgiving Servant

In Matthew 18, Jesus is teaching his disciples what life is like in the family of faith. He’s showing us how gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture. It includes some hard things because all life-giving things are hard. Among them is this act of forgiveness.

The Hidden Treasure, the Pearl, and the Net

In the parables of the kingdom, Jesus is not telling us to purchase our way in. He’s not telling us to sort ourselves out to become wheat or good fish. He’s not telling us to make sure we cultivate good soil on our own. He’s telling us the kingdom has come and all we must do to receive it is hear what he’s saying. All we need is the humility to lay aside our expectations of God and receive the grace of God. If we can see it, we can have it. The kingdom is here. The end of the age is approaching. It’s time to enter. Will we?

The Parables of the Weeds, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven

What is the kingdom of God like? It’s like wheat growing among weeds, like a mustard seed in the ground, like a little leaven in a lump. The kingdom of heaven is the rumble underneath the earth, waiting for the time of eruption. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, swallowing up the world, until that final day when Jesus returns and makes all things new.

The Parable of the Sower

Jesus takes to the floating pulpit as his congregation gathers on the shore. The time has come to teach about his Father’s kingdom. He’s miraculously healed their diseases with his hands; now it’s time to touch their hearts with his words.