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The Truth... What is it?

Parables of Jesus the Messiah

The four Gospel books, between them, contain 55 or more parables (an earthly story illustrating a spiritual lesson). So, the parables may be interpreted...on one hand...(1) as if there were no Savior (Messiah) and (2) on the other hand because there is a Savior (Messiah). Why the difference? 

The four Gospels were written at different times & probably with a view to different audiences: Matthew to the Jews, Mark to the Romans, Luke to the Greeks, and John to all gentiles (non-Jews). In general, the "parable" having been part of the Hebrew culture (see Nathan & David, 2 Samuel 12:1-7), nuances of meaning may be discerned by way of knowledge of the culture of those times. Here is a list to include old testament parables as well as those of Jesus. All were spoken (not written) "on the fly" to the apostles and crowds following Him. Thus, they must be capable of transferring meaning to regular folk (and later generations) & not just learned scholars. And there existed, at that time, only the Old Testament writings of the Jews, God's "chosen people" at that point in the history of mankind. Also, all parables were written down in the first century AD (CE).  And, of course, the parables were not written down in modern English; they have been translated. They were SPOKEN by Jesus prior to His crucifixion and WRITTEN after His resurrection, the apostles having THEN become irrefutably and unequivocally convinced that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (most would die because of this conviction & without a single one of them renouncing Him). A scriptural phrase that troubled me for years ("and there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth") may well be a "prophet's signature" phrase7 sort of like "amen" (so be it) or a modern casual closing statement such as "pay close attention or suffer the consequences" (listen carefully to what I've just said). The world-wide mind-set was one of relationships as treaties (covenants) between UNequals (the "ruler vs. subject" suzerainty mindset).

While on earth, Jesus summed up all prior commands & rules with two commands: (1) love God & (2) love others (Matthew 22:37-40). That is, "The Way"  is all about "right relationships" (righteous living), which, by extension, is all about the "community"...that is, all about others and not about "self". Chart as to "righteous" . The parables addressed issues covered by the 10 Commandments & all subsequent Jewish rules of living. Yet, as a fallen "race", humankind cannot stop sinning (falling short as to those two commands), a sin being a sin even if one just thinks it! Upon the resurrection confirmation of Jesus having been & being the Savior (Messiah) by way of His  atoning self-sacrifice on the Cross to pay for the sins of mankind, there become at least two ways to decipher the parables. Jesus wanted to tell a story on which each listener in the crowd would pass a quick judgment and with the intent that the judgment would trigger the listener's personal insight into a personal situation on which the listener had been personally blind4. My own personal thought is that the parables were a way of illustrating (1) "fallen-ness" of humans & (2) what man might expect of God had there been no Savior of the type that Jesus would prove to be (see link at end of page). So, the parables may...on one hand...be interpreted (1) as if there were no Savior (Messiah) and (2) on the other hand because there is a Savior (Messiah). Why the difference?

Eternity is from the instant of creation on into an infinite future. An eternal life is in two phases, from (1) the point of conception (or entry of the soul) of a person until their earthly death and from (2) there on into that infinite future until the end of time. According to the Bible, those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God are instantly spiritually baptized by the entry of God's Holy Spirit to indwell them during this earthly phase of life. Like a never failing gyroscope or GPS, that indwelling Holy Spirit signals (but with a wee small voice) the safe path of life choices between good & bad...between righteousness and sinfulness. The Holy Spirit indwelt Jesus believer thereby possesses a divine (though very unobtrusive) power source as a guide or pathfinder in this foreign land...this treacherous jungle...of life on earth!

 A good web source for looking up the following Bible verses is HERE & here [you can read in as many as some 150 different Bible translation versions in the first].


Parables of Jesus Christ, alphabetically:

  1. Alert Servants (faithfull servant)(doorkeeper)(master returns) (an end times/final destiny parable): (Mark 13:33-37) Be alert! No one knows the day or the hour when the servants (workers) will see the return (or stand before to be evaluated) of the Master (boss, employer, Jesus).

    without Jesus, the Savior
    : The "right" life is all about following ever increasing numbers of legalistic rules! The returning master must not find servants (you) "asleep at the wheel" or otherwise deficient (sinful) in your job of tending to his property (His creation). There is the implication of trouble and punishment coming to those who are caught by surprise, and you are "on your own" (1) to make your way in life with the consequences & (2) to defend yourself concerning any judgment. But Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind.

    with Jesus, the savior: The "right" life is all about living in relationships "rightly"! Live each day as if the Savior would suddenly appear and find you at whatever you are doing, right or wrong. Though on His sudden & unexpected return you might be caught sinning, the Savior has atoned for mankind...the Good News. Through the grace & love of God and on the coat-tails of the Savior (Jesus), you have (1) the Divine to impute a life of joy & help for you to steer clear of the hellish consequences of your actions or inactions on earth during your remaining time on earth in this fallen world and (2) an advocate for that after-life salvation into eternity. And (3) the indwelling Holy Spirit throughout eternity assures that you relate perfectly to all of Heaven for all of eternity ("fully saved").

  2. Barren fig tree (an end times/final destiny parable): (Luke 13:6-9) The keeper of the vineyard had not cultivated a fig tree there; and, for 3 years, it bore no fruit. The owner, thinking that the spot could be put to more productive use, demanded that it be cut down. The keeper pled with him to allow one more season, promising to actually cultivate the fig tree this time.
    without Jesus, the savior: The threat of a last chance! God will partly judge a person's record on earth according to the opportunities a person has, and uselessness invites disaster4 (think of the theory of evolution). That which only "takes" cannot last, and we are all in debt to life...what came before us4. And you are "on your own" (1) to make your way in life with the consequences & (2) to defend yourself concerning any judgment. But Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind.

    with Jesus, the savior: The Gospel of the other chance! Jesus is all about second chances and more. As part of the "saved" life on earth, we must (1) "till the soil" when we are "keepers" of a trust or stewardship and  (2)  listen to the reasoned pleas or input of those under our care or authority when we are in authority or positions of responsibility. Through the grace & love of God and on the coat-tails of the Savior (Jesus), we have (1) the Divine to impute a life of joy & help for us to steer clear of hellish consequences of our actions or inactions on earth during our remaining time on earth in this fallen world when we fail and (2) an advocate for that after-life judgment & on into eternity. And (3) the indwelling Holy Spirit throughout eternity assures that you relate perfectly to all of Heaven for all of eternity (see "fully saved").

  3. Bread of life: (John 6:31-38)
    Preceeded by Herod's birthday party orgy of food and dance and the beheading of John the Baptist because the dancing beauty of a daughter of Herodias asked Herod for John's head on a platter, we have "feeding" by Jesus for another reason. Following the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21, the only Gospel story in all 4 Gospels), the crowd missed Jesus and went in search and found Him. "When did you get here?" Jesus remarked that they hunted after Him not as the source of miracles but as one who had filled their stomachs with food. They mentioned the miracle of manna from heaven during the desert trek. Jesus clarified that God, not Moses, gave that manna even though they griped and whined all the way. The message & feeding were not about full stomachs. Manna & the feeding of the 5000 was about the grace & love of God as God provides both the caloric need and the Son with the Holy Spirit to meet all non-caloric needs.  "For the bread of God is He who comes down and gives life to the world." They grumble and remind themselves that Jesus is only (conceived out of wedlock!) that son of Mary & Joseph. Jesus then clarifies that He is the one God sent down from Heaven to do God's will and see that none is lost and that all will be raised up at the last day...that they should "eat" [Luther is said to have translated "eat" from Hebrew into German & that the Hebrew was more like "munch"...chew on...chew the cud...cogitate].
    without Jesus, the savior: Those who know nothing of Jesus or deny Him for being the Messiah cannot undergo the spiritual baptism that results in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, they cannot experience the part of eternal salvation that is the period of time during which that person exists on earth and can "eat" spiritually of the Gospel and truly "feed" and minister on the problems.

    with Jesus, the savior: The earlier chapters in the gospel of John have recounted testimonies that Jesus is the Messiah. The full and entire salvation experience is available by way of the indwelling Holy Spirit! The Gospel can be "eaten" so that the believer never goes "hungry"...never lacks the possibilty of relating "rightly". The believer even becomes empowered to truly "feed" mankind! Such a believer is truly able to experience the fulfillment of serving and the joy as she or he "passes forward" the good deed.

  4. Budding fig tree (an end times/final destiny parable): (Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-32; Luke 21:29-33)
    without Jesus, the savior: when one sees the buds appearing after winter on the fruit tree branches, one knows that fruit-bearing summer is coming closer. Natural things have natural cycles so that one can resonably see signs that predict the next phase of the cycle.

    with Jesus, the savior: This parable may reflect the cycle of the nation of Israel going through periods of being away from God (winter) and moving back into periods of fruitful closeness to God. One YouTube commentator noted that the Hebrew word in those times for "fig" was very nearly the same word for "end" (reminding of End Times). I also wonder if the parable reflects when a believer has befriended or encountered a former believer who has been in a "winter" of absence from the faith and their relationship begins to show signs of generating a renewing interest in the faith, there is the joy of the hope of seeing a "reblooming" of a spiritually fruitful season and the afterlife after one's death (see "fully saved").

  5. Children in the market: (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35)
    This parable basically says "What's with this younger generation? You're acting like children! John the Baptist comes neither eating nor drinking & you say he is demon-possessed. Yet, the Messiah comes & both eats & drinks and mixes with all people & you fault the heck out of him, too! What you fail to see is that wise choices are (or will be) vindicated by positive results.

    without Jesus, the savior: this constant criticism, no matter what, is what the secular media & so many politicians in the USA seems to thrive on...

    with Jesus, the savior: believers (as well as doers of charitable things) will be criticized & disparaged by others. Yet, the truth of eternity will vindicate their determination to...in essence...accept Christ as their savior & live as best as they can by the Golden Rule.

  6. Christian light (The Lamp): (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21-23; Luke 8:16-18)
    Matthew tells them to let your good works be seen that others might see them & turn and glorify God. The other two Gospel angles also warn against wasting God-given talents. AND, they remind that NOTHING...good or bad...is hidden from God (you cannot get away with secret sins).

    without Jesus, the savior: Don't be shy about letting others know what all you have accomplished! That might encourage them to accomplish things, also.

    with Jesus, the savior: Realize that your good actions in the name of Jesus act as a beckoning light encouraging others to (1) better themselves and (2) join in. Baloon your talents & gifts within yourself & as encouraging ways to fetch others to join in & be fulfilled. Fulfillment is a great blessing! Failure to use your God-given gifts & talents will find them dwindling away over time.

  7. Dinner guests or Feast Invitations: (Luke 14:7-24) At first, there is a meal in the home of a prominent pharisee, and Jesus notices the jockeying for seats closest to the host and comments that, rather than invite friends, invite the disadvantaged, etc. Later, a man planned to throw a great banquet. Apparently, suddenly the banquet time was at hand; and he sent out servants with (urgent ?) invitations to, presumably, those of the area in high places. All declined, making excuses. Enraged, the man then sent the servants to round up the poor, blind and disabled and compel all of them to come and fill his house for the banquet.
    without Jesus, the savior: All of us must weigh how we use the 24 hours in each day. Who is inviting and who are the invited? Who sits where? Why? The "right" life is about socializing between the well-connected (or at least between people of equal social standing)! There is the implication that refusal of an invitation will result in anger at you and extension of the invitation to a less deserving individual, and you are "on your own" to make your way in life with the consequences of a non-discerning, improperly engaged life & to defend yourself concerning any judgment about sinful poor choices. But Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind.

    with Jesus, the savior: The Gospel of another chance! Jesus is all about second chances and more. When Jesus talks about meals or banquets, He is talking about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. As part of the "saved" life on earth, we must be willing (1) to have social interaction and (2) to exercise discerning and caring stewardship as to interactions and feelings of all, whether we be hosts or guests. We are to try to live Kindom-of-God-like while on earth and know that...as we fall short...God's grace is sufficient for each of us. In doing so, we execute discipleship toward that which brings wholeness to community & light out of darkness, a discipleship as the church. Through the grace & love of God and on the coat-tails of the Savior (Jesus), we have an advocate for that after-life judgment (but our salvation is secure) & the Divine to impute a life of mutually positive social interactions at all levels, living in joy & with help for us to steer clear of hellish consequences of our actions or inactions on earth during our remaining time on earth when we fail in this fallen world.

  8. Divided kingdom: (Matthew 12:24-30; Mark 3:22-27; Luke 11:14-23)
    Jesus is accused of being demon-possed. This parable is about unity vs. division: a kingdom divided gets conquored or collapses; a house divided cannot stand as a whole, etc.

    without a savior: Whoever is strongest, better funded, has the most widespread media advocacy, is the most aggressive, etc., wins...until an even stronger entity arises to take control. This is pretty much limited to earthly thinking.

    with a savior: Whoever is fully clothed by the righteousness of Jesus (fully saved) comes out the winner in the earthly life and, more importantly, eternally.

  9. Food (what goes in & comes out of the mouth) of Man: (Matthew 15:10-20)
    Jesus tells the gathered crowd that it is NOT what goes into the mouth ("unclean food") that counts but what comes OUT of the mouth that defiles a person. Elsewhere Jesus tells what an evil, hurtful thing "the tongue" can be. Here He focuses on the fact that what comes out of the mouth reflects the condition of the "heart" of the speaker. Wow!...think of this as we hear the public discourse of the day in the news and in our conversations!
    without Jesus, the savior: There is great focus on dietary issues in order to biologically live a longer, "healthier" life. It is nearly impossible to back away from hurtful, hateful speech, either by being provoked into it or just giving in and generating it.

    with Jesus, the savior: With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, there is hope of a "heart transplant"...changing of what goes OUT of the mouth by incorporating the freely available skills of grace, toleration, and love which then can be deployed to righteous living (living with a focus on assuring "right relationships"). As usual, Jesus knew the salvation gifts He would leave for mankind. After speaking this parable, he goes to Tyre & Sidon in Canaan & is confronted by the Canaanite woman having a demon-possessed daughter. Jews and Canaanites were sworn enemies7 & detested each other (much as USA Southerners detested "yankees" from the 1850s into the first half of the 1900s!). Jesus comments to His disciples that He was sent especially to the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus seemed to even compare that mother to a filthy street dog taking in the filthiest of material into its mouth! BUT, He has compassion and cures her daughter and again extends His availability to a gentile...signifying salvation hope to all and showing that, thereby, ALL...even the unrefined... can be used to spread the Gospel of righteous living!

  10. The friend at midnight ([persistent] importunate friend)(friend in need): (Luke 11:5-13)
    This parable seems to advise asking persistently for help when needed.

    without a savior: Persistence pays off!

    with a savior: This parable demonstrates the need to pray without giving up in this earthly component of eternity.

  11. Good Samaritan (a love & forgiveness parable): (Luke 10:25-37) A man was traveling alone down the road from Jerusalem (2500 feet above sea level) to Jericho (600 feet below sea level). He was robbed & beat & left half dead. The pious people and church folk saw the wounded man and skirted on by him. But an outcast of society (Samaritan...Samaria the previous capitol of Israel [the Northern Kingdom of Israel]; Judah was the Southern Kingdom of Israel & Jerusalem its capitol) stopped and helped extensively. Jesus told His audience to go and help in life as the Samaritan did.
    without Jesus, the savior: The "right" secular life may be all about "me" and advancing the interests of "me" and "my legacy" . The "right" life for religious people is all about the church doings & church culture! There is the implication of shamefulness & the sin of omission coming to those who don't help out in times of trouble, and you are "on your own" to make your way in life with the consequences of a disengaged life & to defend yourself concerning any judgment. Many secular & religious people do some good for others. Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind & as an amazing example of God's unconditional love for all mankind. In this instance, the Priest & the Levite, the law requiring them to NOT become "ritually impure" in the presence of a corpse, assume the man is dead & strictly follow the Law (the legalistic rules)8. Further, this parable reflects the age-old schism between Israel (10 tribes) to the north (power base taken away in the Assyrian exile, 740BC) & Judah (2 tribes) to the south (power base taken away in the Babylonian exile, 580BC)8.

    with Jesus, the savior: The Gospel of the other chance! Jesus is all about second chances and more. As part of the "saved" life on earth, we must help those who are in trouble when we reasonably can. Through the grace & love of God and on the coat-tails of the Savior (Jesus), we have an advocate for that after-life judgment & the internal indwelling Divine to impute a life of joy & help for us to steer clear of hellish consequences of our omissions on earth & experience unexpected growth & reward from engagement during our remaining time on earth in this fallen world when we fail. These saved possess an indwelling power which they can lean upon & which will help them turn rules/law aside & to reach out & relate to others in ways that step beyond ordinary human nature. Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind & as an amazing example of God's unconditional grace & love for all of mankind (yet, there is much more when "fully saved".

  12. Good shepherd: (John 10:1-18) One who tries to enter the sheep pen as a leader the wrong way are likely up to no good. The Shepherd enters by the sheep pen door way is not seen as threatening by the sheep, and the sheep will follow. Moreso, Jesus clarifies that He...jesus...is The Doorway.
    without a savior: There are right ways and wrong ways to do things.

    with a savior: As ref. #13 notes, this is preceeded by Jesus commenting on spiritual blindness. The parable clarifies that those who are not spiritually blind will enter the Kingdom of Jesus followers through belief in Him, following Him, and on to the level of discipling with Him.

  13. Great physician: (Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32)
    Jesus (a Jew) was known among the Jews as a Jewish Rabbi; and, yet, some of His closest associates and friends were tax collectors and known sinners. The religious leaders were appalled by His choice of company. When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means [said by God]: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous but sinners, to repentance'."

    without a savior: On reading this parable, a huge percentage of non-believers will say, "No problem for me because I am a good person. Religious people consider a sinner to be one of those bad people."

    with a savior: Sins are actions or inactions which cause degrees of separation of us from our triune God. For the person who has learned anything about Jesus as Savior, that person almost certainly...early on...learned about sins that we committ (usually considered bad) and was shocked to learn of sinning by failing to do certain things (sins of ommission). Using the Holy Spirit, Jesus works with His believers as being "yet sinners saved by grace".

  14. Grooms attendants: (Matthew 9:14-15; Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:33-35) In essence, why do the Jews in those days fast but the real-time disciples with Jesus don't fast?... "Then the disciples of John came to him [Jesus] saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast often but your disciples do not fast?' Jesus said to them, 'Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them and they will fast. No one puts on a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch pulls away from the garment and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled and the wineskins are ruined, but they put new wine into new wineskins and both are preserved.' ”

    without a savior: There is no point in periods of mourning a loss that has not happened! Worse, poor analysis may lead you to think you have lost something and be sad when, in fact, the thing or issue has not yet been lost. Don't fret ahead of time because you fear a loss!

    with a savior: The fully saved true believer following Jesus need not mourn or be sad as if Jesus is dead. Though believers may well be sad that they do not NOW actually see Jesus in person, they...at least in the backs of their minds...know that they will be with Him. Jesus was resurrected from death and lives now and will come again & be fully & completely engaged with His fully saved ones for eternity.

  15. Growing seed: (Mark 4:26-29) The essence of this parable appears to be that humans harvest, but God is the true provider!... "And He [Jesus] said, 'The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground and should sleep by night and rise by day and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head but when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.' ”

    without a savior: Whether religious or not, this group may smile and say that one can't ignore the impact of accumulated wisdom of the centuries plus the ongoing march of scientific knowledge in production of whatever.

    with a savior: In the broadest sense, this may mean that a "seed" bears fruit after its own. Or, it may more specifically mean that the fully saved person is able to TRULY understand that any yield is ultimately the work of God.

  16. Hidden treasure: (Matthew 13:44) "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it."
    without Jesus, the savior: If a man is so fortunate as to find an incredibly valuable thing and recognize that value, then invest your "all" in it and anticipate huge returns!

    with Jesus, the savior: Now, upon understanding more about the grace & love of God for His creation, the Jesus follower is capable of forgetting Old Covenant notions of the wrath of God and comprehending that the "pearl" of this story is mankind. In essence, God sold all that He had to redeem us through Jesus7. Then, for those who rightly respond to the Gospel, they become fully saved!

  17. Householder: (Matthew 13:52) And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
    without a savior: Nonbelievers see this more as a host showing off antiques and collectibles.

    with a savior: The Christian community must cheerish all age groups and old ways (and history) but be always on the lookout for the new which Jesus (the master of the household of the believers) may be leading us into. This may be a warning to churches and their congregations to not be stuck in establishment ways...especially when membership is flat or declining.

  18. Humbled guest: (Luke 14:7-11) This is about advising invited guests to under-rate their own importance and have the host promote you rather than over-rating yourself & then being embarrassed when put in your place.

    without a savior: Social graces require that as you jockey for a closer position in the networking area of life with the powerful people, you must be VERY careful to not over-step your bounds. Be politically shrewd and correct.

    with a savior: For believers, this is all about the constant admonition within the Faith that we maintain humility and stay humble about the temptation to be puffed up about how good we have become or how much we give of time and talents or whether we are the pastor's favorite or not. Verse 11: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

  19. King's war plans: (Luke 14:31-33) This is a "counting the cost ahead of time" parable...this time about evaluating chances of winning before going into battle. If you calculate that you cannot win, then seek a peaceful solution. But, in the arena of discipleship, verse 33 says, "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions."

    without a savior: For the secular world, this is about shrewd planning and giving up all distractions as you go to launch into a new job, venture, marriage, etc.

    with a savior: For believers, this is about thinking and anticipating all of the worldly stuff it is going to cost you to jump deep into a faith-walk type of life as you attempt to be a follower (disciple) of Jesus.

  20. Laborers in vineyard: (Matthew 20:1-16) The vineyard owner goes to town & brings in willing laborers at various times during the day...some for only the last hour of the work day...and pays all the same for a day's work (a denarius...about 300 denari equaled a year worth of labor by one laborer & 6000 denari equaled a talent [see #40]). Nothing is mentioned about the people who did not respond. The ones who worked longer griped & grumbled that all were paid the same. The owner says, "It's my money & my vineyard; I can pay as I like!" The "owner" seems to parallel the grace of God which is not fair (by earthly standards), earned, or deserved.
    without Jesus, the savior: God's love, grace, patience, and persistence (before and after death?) cannot be fathomed by us mere mortals! Our Father...with complete & perfect ability to love His creation...will have His will be done. However, the non-religious (especially the non-Christian) find no sense in this parable. To them, it is ridiculous to pay the same daily wage no matter how little the person worked.

    with Jesus the savior: God's love, grace, patience, and persistence (before and after death?) cannot be fathomed by us mere mortals! Our Father, with complete & perfect ability to love His creation, will have His will be done. For the Jesus believer and follower, this story might parallel that of coming to true belief and undergoing spiritual baptism. No matter what time in your life (child, youth, young adult, older adult, aged adult even near his/her deathbed), that spiritual baptism of the incoming of the Holy Spirit into the being of one who comes to true belief in Jesus lasts for eternity! How long the Holy Spirit indwells you on earth in your earthly life has no bearing on the indwelling time in the afterlife. Additionally, Jesus becomes your friend who "sticketh closer than a brother" from that point on into eternity. Jesus indicates NOTHING negative or hurtful toward those who chose NOT to respond (are they all the rest for whom Christ died but who did not become "fully saved")?

  21. Landowner & tenants (wicked husbandmen)(master returns) (an end times/final destiny parable): (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18) The owner leaves for a far country and leaves overseers in charge who abuse & even kill some of his servants. In a way, this is a subtle love song. While this story is clearly paralleling the story of God's outreach to humankind (& finally even sending His Son, Jesus, who would be killed), there are underlying basic things going wrong which plague mankind. Firstly, (1) there is scant communication between the parties. (2) Secondly, being unequals, there are two classes of people and both are likely ignorant of any details about life in each other's social class. Human nature being what it is, it is rare that BOTH parties in a communication truly view each other as equals. So communications...and, therefore, relationship...disasters await any mal-communication. Examples: just the inevitable tension between children in the home vs. the parents, grown children/grandchildren still dependant on parental support vs. parents, aged/disabled parents dependant on children or friends vs. children or friends, Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives, etc. Relationship building and maintenance is THE key to a successful and fulfilled life. Careful attention to positive communication between the above "unequal" parties is especially critical! But it takes a will to cultivate it and then time and effort. Otherwise, people forget who is who and who is "giver" or "taker", etc.. In some ways, this parable is a metaphor for old churches & other organizations which refuse to change with the times and wither on the vine.7 BUT, more fundamentally, this parable is Jewish leadership trying to stamp out the growth of the popularity of Jesus and His messages among the Hebrew people.
    without a savior: While in the eternal life component on earth, these folk miss the chance to have an ever-present, divine internal guide to help (1) navigate the maze of relationship building, (2) keep a person tugged in the direction of "other thinking" rather than selfish (what's in it for me) thinking, and (3) valuing and being truly tolerant and understanding of the huge variety of
    differences between people.

    with a savior: These saved folk claim Jesus and are charged by Him to focus on
    relationships...living in right relationships (living "righteous" lives) while in this earthly life. With them resides the huge potential for "right relationship living", potentially empowered and guided by that indwelling, divine power source, the Holy Spirit, toward living a life with relationships based on a greater amount of true unselfish living & gratitude. Therein comes the joyful life. In the earthly End, these folk go to the ultimate right relationshipping in Heaven (see "fully saved")!

  22. Leaven: (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21) This seems overall about the fact that hidden components likely cause the most impressive outcomes. ...
    [a] From the King James trans.: "Another parable He [Jesus] spoke to them: 'The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.' ”
    [b] From The Message translation: "He [Jesus] tried again. 'How can I picture God’s kingdom? It’s like yeast that a woman works into enough dough for three loaves of bread—and waits while the dough rises.' ”

    without a savior: The modern day secular or religious readers would likely agree that science has demonstrated time and again that unseen things do big things. For example, we have all manner of variety of visible bulbs, lamps, and lighted signs. But the electricity is NOT visible! Living leaves of every type absorb invisible carbon dioxide gas and invisibly convert it to invisible oxygen. Humans die without oxygen!

    with a savior: God's work is miraculous, ESPECIALLY when He works alone or through the telling of the Gospel to convert a person who accepts the Gospel and truly asks Jesus to come into his/her heart so as to render that person fully saved! Check out this list of some folks' testimonies (HERE), as well as these stories (HERE).

  23. Lost coin (a loss and redemption parable): (Luke 15:8-10) The first of three (trilogy) about "lost"... Talking to Jewish non-disciples, He tells of a woman who has 10 silver coins and loses one. She sweeps her house & hunts it until she recovers this thing of great value to her (and the friends & relatives with whom she celebrates the recovery). This is a story that parallels the persistence of God's love that His creations benefit from His eternal grace! See HERE.
    without a savior: Each human is of great value to God & is His own (although you have never claimed Him as your God). He hunts until He finds you (in a sense, recovers you). He planned & engineered the sacrifice of his only begotten son, Jesus, in order that all humans be spared an eternity in afterlife Hell.

    with a savior: Each human is of great value to God &, though you have claimed Him as your God, He hunts via that indwelling Holy Spirit until He recovers you each of the 10s of thousands of times you slip away. If your belief in Jesus is true, you have undergone spiritual baptism and are "fully saved".

  24. Lost sheep (a loss and redemption parable): (Matthew 18:12-13; Luke 15:4-7) The second of three (trilogy) about "lost"... In Matthew & Luke, a man has 100 sheep; and one becomes lost. In each, the lost sheep is found; and the owner celebrates. But the settings differ 5. In Matthew, Jesus (having just been talking about people needing to humble themselves & become "little ones" in order to experience the faith) is surrounded by His disciples & assures them that The Father is not willing for any "little ones" to be lost to The Kingdom. In Luke, Jesus is surrounded by listening tax collectors and sinners (those outside of the faith) and notes how joyful any one of them would be who owned 100 sheep and found the 1 which was lost. Then He notes, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent." This is a story that parallels the persistence of God's love that His creations benefit from His eternal grace! See HERE.
    without Jesus, the savior: There is no common-sense perception within mankind of an end-game status of being spared the consequences that we deserve in life. A cuurent casual saying that I hear people say is, "Karma can get you!" For the non-religeous, you live; and you die. But, nevertheless, whether you know of Him or not, Jesus presented a very convincing case of God the loving, grace-filled and merciful God who is not willing for any "unsaved" sinner to be lost from a place in His kingdom.

    with Jesus, the savior: Jesus paid the debt of all humans, freeing them from an afterlife in Hell. Even moreso, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the "fully saved" Jesus follower has the potential to truly understand that God is not willing for any sin of His saved people to cost them their place in His kingdom. A spiritual "tug" is always going on to "find" each human and bring them into His divine relationship and the thoroughly wonderful consequences thereof.

  25. Mustard seed: (Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19)
    This parallels the parable of the wheat and weeds, below and is remindful of what can happen when Jesus comes into your (small or large) life.

    without a savior: mustard seeds and mustard are bad, below

    with a savior: mustard seeds turn out to be the good guys, below

  26. Net of fish (The Net) (an end times/final destiny parable): (Matthew 13:47-50)
    This indicates a drag-net type of fishing net that hauls in good and bad creatures & stuff...both edible and not edible. The description of angels separating the good from the bad sounds ruthless & frightening.

    without a savior: The secular folk will see this as life on earth. If you are in a despotic nation, you live a very low life unless you are an elite. In the free market countries, some keep jobs and some lose jobs through no fault of their own. Companies rise and fall. Life is a crap shoot with good and bad parts.

    with a savior: For those in religious lives, there are also good and bad consequences...better & worse outcomes. There is an especially wonderful outcome for the true Jesus believer (see "fully saved").

  27. New cloth: (Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21; Luke 5:36) This parable goes hand-in-hand with "New Wine", #28 below. From ref. #13 (HERE), I find this excellent context note: "You can only add an old principle to an old law. Likewise, you can only add a new principle to a new law. You see, Jesus leaves us clues: the old garment represents the Old Testament Law, based on the Old Covenant. The new garment represents the New Testament Covenant of grace that Jesus established by His substitution death on the cross for us."

    The verse from Luke = 36 "And He [Jesus] was also telling them a parable: 'No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.' "

    without a savior: Whether secular or religious, fallen mankind is forever trying to modify cultural norms & laws & even governmental foundational documents such as the American Constitution by always claiming, "Well, the times have changed!"

    with a savior: The focus has changed to, "What does God want through Jesus and the Holy Spirit?" The true Jesus believer has personally chosen to grow his/her attempts to emphasize his/her focus on God's will as clarified by Jesus. "Essentially, the new cloth represents the fact that you cannot mix the New Covenant of grace and salvation with the Old Covenant Law. If you are a Christian, you should live in freedom and liberty: you should live to follow the desires and directions of the Holy Spirit, which are to be done in love, and not by a set of rules.

  28. New wine: (Matthew 9:17;Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-39) In the book of Luke, this parable immediately follows...goes hand-in-hand with...the parable of New Cloth, just above (#27).
    without a savior: It is ensible that some sort of contaminant in the moisture of that residual old wine might spoil the new. Maybe old wine skins weaken (we have wooden barrels and various glass & plastic containers, now-a-days).

    with a savior: In connection with the previous parable, it is a little disturbing to think: "The only way your life’s wineskin is going to burst and be destroyed, is if you mix the new wine, the New Covenant teaching of Jesus, with the Old Covenant Law."13 Though heeding the parable's advice, surely there is much to be learned from the ancient times and the covenant of The Law as we try to live by the covent Of Grace.

  29. Pearl of great price (costly pearl): (Matthew 13:45-46) "This parable and the parable of the Hidden Treasure both stress the incomparable value of Jesus and His kingdom. The most common interpretation of both parables is that a person should be willing to part with everything they own in order to possess Jesus, the “exquisite pearl of infinite price.” However, it has been suggested by some theologians, that another interpretation of both parables could be that Jesus is the purchaser who gave His all, in order to gain us. This seems to be plausible when we read that Paul the Apostle urges the pastors to watch over their flock and to be good shepherds of: the church of God, which He (God) bought with His own blood. (See Acts 20:28)"13
    without a savior: Wow! Be careful!...this suggests that it is advisible...in the right instance...to put ALL of your investment eggs in one basket...to put all of your money on one bet...to invest everything in one stock...to bank all of your money as a horse breeder in one apparently sure-fire stud horse! EXTREMELY risky advice!

    with a savior: YET, this is the move that the true believer is assured that he/she can take. BUT, I find it to be the hardest thing to do...I have NOT been able to do it...in the life of even the "fully saved" believer!

  30. Pharisee and tax collector: (Luke 18:9-14) This is about all humans being sinners who should never feel very self-righteous.

    without a savior: To secular folks, this parable likely sounds ridiculous. To the religious...depending on the religion...this may sound okay but just not workable in reality. After all, how does one get to the top or to a high goal without a certain amount of self promotion?

    with a savior: This is another hard parable for the true believer, "fully saved". Its hard because, though perfectly understandable, it is so hard to just experience the inner reward of a life Abiding in Christ without at least secretly hoping that those who do/give less of material things and of themselves are noticing and appreciating your example.

  31. The prodigal son (a loss and redemption parable): (Luke 15:11-31) This is the crowning jewel of the trilogy of parables of "the lost" (#23, lost sheep & #24, lost coin, above). "Prodigal" = wastefully or recklessly extravagant [MORE]. Jesus is speaking to the non-disciple, citizenry Jews who are gathered. The story hints to me that the setting consists of (1) the family & servants and (2) those who are away from, and not part of, the family. A man has a conformist son and an independence-minded (rebellious?) son. Not even wanting to wait for his father's death so that he gets his inheritance, this son demands his inheritance. Amazing to me, the father gives it to him. He leaves and squanders everything on wild & sinful living, even to the point of literally having to eat pig slop with pigs. He has become totally "lost". He decides to return to his father, even if only as a slave. To his amazement, his father has heard of his impending return, sees him in the distance, and literally runs to greet him, overwhelmed with love & joy to meet & greet him and welcome him back into the family (a response totally against the customs of the day 6). The good son, in true human-nature form, resents the celebration. The central theme is the contrast between the father's attitude and the brother's attitude6. And this is the story parallel of the patience of God.

    without a savior: If the parable applies to all humans (as do the first two in the trilogy), then there are those "of" God and those who deny or reject or just never thought of God. I don't sense that the "away" ones are "the condemned". And I see no indication that the "away" are hell bound. So, if you insist, God will not stand in the way of your desire to be away from Him and His ways. But He loves you and desires you to be close & in His family and will celebrate & be joy filled with your return (He does not have you locked out). But, rather than rejoicing (1) that God loves all people & (2) all who come to Him (God), don't many (us "brothers") people of religion begrudge many (they are just TOO sinful!) who claim the God of Abraham and/or His son Jesus? No?...think hard about saying "no" (if you say "no", I think that you are not looking inward deeply enough). Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind & as an amazing example of God's unconditional love for all mankind. While this is the basis for human compassion, there is the greatest realm of being "fully saved"!

    with a savior: Even though you have chosen Jesus and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, if you insist, God will not stand in the way of your desire (deliberately or inadvertently) to be away from Him and His ways. But He loves you and desires you to be in His family and will celebrate & be joy filled with your return. Rather than rejoicing (1) that God loves all people & (2) about all who come to God, don't many (us "brothers") people of religion begrudge those who claim the God of Abraham and/or His son Jesus? No?...think hard about saying "no" (if you say "no", I think that you are not looking inward deeply enough). Jesus died as an atoning advocate for all mankind & as an amazing example of God's unconditional love for all mankind. This is the basis for human compassion; yet being "fully saved" is the greatest relationship to ever experience!

  32. Rich man & Lazarus: (Luke 16:19-31) To me, this reading in Luke is a graphic and horrifying image of the gap between being spared the Old Testament Hell and the state of being "fully saved" & in perfect communion in eternity.
    without a savior: To the secular, this probably sounds so ridiculous (frightening?) that it is not worthy of reflection and maybe even a "turn off" to learning about God...about Jesus. To the religious persons...if the religion has an eternal state of condemnation, this is really frightening & discouraging (almost to the point of dispair that they can get to the wonderful state in the afterlife...especially when they learn of sins of ommission). IMPORTANTLY,the rich man yearns to go back and convert his family. As true believers, we have a duty to help others truly find Jesus & accept the inheritance bought for fallen humanity by God through the cruxifiction, death, and resurrection of the still living Jesus!

    with a savior: As a true believer, I found this parable inevitably frightening until my mother's ICU experience shortly before her death at the end of 2011 delivered an insight that "re-booted" my liberalized thinking about "all are saved" & I felt what seemed to be the wee small voice of the Holy Spirit and returned me to a revised understanding of what I now call "fully saved".

  33. Rich fool (an end times/final destiny parable): (Luke 12:16-21) The land of a certain rich man produced great crops, and he didn't have enough storage space. He thought to himself about himself [his wealth] and what this meant for his future, as he would have plenty of value stored up for years to come. He dreamed of a future in which he'd eat, drink, and be merry! Then God came to him and told him that he was a fool and would die that very night. He'd only thought of himself and not of his community. In 2011, I was stimulated to think of the situation in America where lack of focus on people as individuals and our communities has (1) lead investors to short-term thinking and (2) businesses needing to breathlessly report quarterly performance and (3) even move businesses to other countries to get cheap labor and avoid the costs of government regulations. Politicians and governments are not truly discerning as to the effects of their laws and decisions on "community". Before selling a business off, do any people who have built successful small, local businesses ever truly think about the long term effect on their community before they sell out to the highest bidder? Or will any business, even a pathology group, ever seek primarily to sell out to those who might continue to be stewards to the community that they arose to success in rather than for the quickest and highest buck?
    without a savior: Human nature is self-centered, and this man seems to be a nearly totally self-centered man! Though he may do some generous things in his earthly life, I doubt that he will even try for what Jesus came to teach about right relationships (righteousness). Why?...because he does not have the power to truly resist that human nature gyroscope that pulls tenaciously back to self-centeredness.

    with a savior: A person's death & the final judgement will come sooner than we think, the initial, personal component being personal earthly death into the Afterlife (see "fully saved"). Human nature is self-centered, and this man seems to be a nearly totally self-centered man! But, a man who follows Jesus has the indwelling of the all-powerful Divine in the form of the Holy Spirit with the power to help that follower rise strongly against the forces of human nature. Though he may do some truly good and generous things in his life, I doubt that he will even try for the full extent of what Jesus came to teach about right relationships (righteousness). Why?...NOT because he does not have the power to truly resist that human nature gyroscope that pulls tenaciously back to self-centeredness. It will be because it is truly politically dangerous for pastors (1) to really cut through the routine of church habits and (2) to really dwell on the Gospel's focus on righteous living (living for community...living for right relationships) with enough focus and emphasis that we followers actually & firmly step out of our comfort zones with sustained emphasis on right relationships and community.

  34. Salt without flavor: (Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34-35) From Matthew = "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." The people of God's creation are to spread positive flavor (salt). As ref. #13 points out, "So, Jesus was all about love, but He was also setting the standards so high, leaving men and women to consider that they could never measure up. The reason that He did so was that we would know that we can never obtain His level of perfection by self effort."
    without a savior: The secular types will likely agree with the above but in a nonspiritual sense. Religious people may or may not agree with this, depending upon the particular religion. Either way, I suspect that this "without a savior" group would see this parable as basically directing people to make your life account for something.

    with a savior: Jesus talked the Law (old Testament) in such a way that it just made it impossible to be free from sin13. Ref. #13 author proposes that salt is a preservative that fights bacteria & rot & degradation! Wow! So, this is then proposed to mean that the true believer stands against & is not quiet when wrongs and/or degradations are being committed (the author's whole discussion HERE).

  35. Servant's (slave's) duty: (only in Luke 17:7-10) “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

    without a savior: Being without a savior, a modern employer may well be a non-religeous but "good" person. The servant in ancient Greco-Roman times worked a long day10. In a modern free society, a reflex response...fair and just...egalitarian...would be that the employer should invite the servant to his own table and share the meal and express one's thanks for a job well done. Instinctively, such thinkers would read this parable and conclude that it is unfair and mean-spirited10. Again, this parable seems diametrically opposed to "The Watchful Servant" parable, below (#51)10.

    with a savior: This parable is about Divine-human relations & discipleship: He is transcendent & perfect & Lord of the univers; we humans are not10. In the earlier history of the Christian faith, many Christians used verses such as this one to justify slavery10. This parable seems diametrically opposed to "The Watchful Servant" parable, below (#51)10. And it seems opposed to the first sermon by Jesus which was in Nazareth about releasing the oppressed (Luke 4:16-21)10. So, for the believer, "the deal" of this parable could be that: in Divine-human relations, we believers are to go beyond human-like relationships to one in which we believers are slavish in devotion to our triune Creator who might viewed as multifaceted, sort of like a 4-part choir: sopranos (the "almighty Creator" voice or facet of the choir), altos ("Heavenly Father" facet), tenors ("incarnated Friend" facet), and basses ("divine Master" facet), together blending & harmoniously creating a wonderful chorale10. An attitude of "surrendering" from our attempts...our battle...to balance our spiritual and secular lives may be what this parable indicates for us.

  36. Sheep and goats (master abides in all)(the Judgement): (Matthew 25:31-46) There seems no way around the fact that this parable reflects the final Judgement upon each human. BUT, there have been & still are many interpretations and ideas as to exactly what the final distination for the "sheep" and for the "goats" is actually like (one example in ref. #13, HERE).
    without a savior: A high percentage of the secular world is (1) just clueless as to the spiritual life and religion or (2) actually rejecting of such beliefs. Many rejectors put their faith in "science" or some philosophy. To them, this parable (and all others...even the entire Bible...are of no interest). For religious folk, the parable may or may not be meaningful, depending on which of the world's religions one is talking about. For others, this parable might spark compassionate action. For a large percentage of Christians, this is a frightening parable: how good do I have to be for Jesus to consider me to be a "sheep" worthy of a wonderful eternal afterlife? [Check #24 above about the Lost Sheep for encouragement.]

    with a savior: For the Holy Spirit indwelt, born-again, true Jesus believer ("fully saved") who has accepted the Gospel inheritance that came with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, there tends to be an amazing degree of comforting certainty...even excited anticipation...of a relatively glorious present life & perfectly glorious afterlife after Jesus judges him/her as a "sheep"! Even so, there is a call in this parable for compassionate Christian action in the remaining time in the earthly life, "verse 40...just as you did to the least...you did to/[for] Me." This last sentence suggest that The Master (Jesus) is in or represents ALL who are in need14.

  37. Sign of Jonah: (Matthew 12:38-42; Luke 11:29-32) To me, this parable seems to indicate that mankind wants a sign of the truth of God and that the Luke verses indicate that Jesus came 2000 years ago as the very sign that moderns ask for. 29 "As the crowds were increasing, He [Jesus] began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites [Nineveh was on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq], so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South [queen of Sheba was the queen of Egypt and Ethiopia] will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here."
    without a savior: The secular world is not interested in religious stuff...many in that people class even being fully derisive of religion. Depending on the religion, this parable may or may not mean anything. Christians might place various interpretations...especially fully agreeing that modern generations are wicked & the prospects for all of modern man might be disturbing (depending on whether one has actually repented enough).

    with a savior: The true believer ought to continue to do his/her best to reflect Jesus better. BUT, he/she has the possibility of resting in full comfort in the truth of his/her slavation status as being "fully saved".

  38. Tares (weeds) in the crop field (an end times/final destiny parable): (Matthew 13:24-30...part #1; & Matthew 13:36-43...part #2 explanation) Who are the weeds? This parable is only in one Gospel book. Matthew was definitely a "weed"7! He was a despised tax collector for the Roman oppressors of the Israelites. Yet Jesus chose him as an apostle, and Matthew wrote one of the 4 Gospels! So, it is no wonder that Matthew alone was so struck by this parable as to know the incredible importance to record it! Additionally...as to "weeds"...look at a few surprising (especially to those who think The Kingdom is only for the squeaky clean) "weed" situations buried in the genealogy of Jesus. Jesus was born among a people who placed so much importance in the family pedigree. But, here are some in His human-side pedigree: Tamar (Judah's daughter-in-law who tricked Judah into getting her pregnant with twins, one being Pharez, ancestor of David), Rahab the gentile Canaanite prostitute (who married Salmon who sired Boaz with her), Ruth (a gentile Moabite who is destitute enough that she "gleans" from the fields & marries Boaz), and King David 7 (who lusted for Bathsheba while her loyal spouse was away leading David's war & ultimately set Uriah up to be killed in war so that he might have Bathsheba for himself in adultery, and she ultimately bore David the son, Solomon)! Or, rather, was Jesus actually hinting that His followers were viewed by Jews and Romans as weeds? If so, was He letting them know that his Gospel was so powerful when people "believed" that the followers of The Way (followers of Jesus) would be spreaders of the Gospel with a penetration and invasiveness like the most invasive and persistent of weeds?...that what God's chosen people had thought was good (wheat) was ripe for change to true goodness (rightly relating...the true "goodness" revealed by Jesus) by what they had thought were weeds?
    without a savior: Human experience of thousands of years in agriculture finds a nearly 100% belief that weeds are worthy of fighting against and of destruction! There is no other rational fate for a weed. Why would anyone without the Savior desire an alternative interpretation? The success of the sown crop (example = wheat), however, would likewise be nearly 100% viewed as a positive, desirable outcome (except for the enemies of that people). It readily seems fully justifiable for the "weeds", weeping & wailing and gnashing teeth, to be thrown into the fire...a well-deserved ending indeed!

    with a savior: BUT, with The Savior, an amazing thing happens. During the "age" of the crop growth, the weeds still cause their negative effects (or their good effects?). But at harvest, though the weeds may have been "bad" in the "age" (or the invasive good?) of crop growth, they are deemed part of the harvest on the purposeful coat tails (the atoning blood) of the saving grace of the Savior and justified as worthy for escaping Hell. Heck!...the Harvest is actually of weeds and wheat affected rightly by weeds! BUT, note "fully saved".

  39. Ten minas (master returns): (Luke 19:11-27) Also see #40, below. [The servants of a kingdom are entrusted with equal amounts, a mina being about 3 months' wages.] While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem; and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ 14“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ 15“He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. 16“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ 17‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ 18“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ 19“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ 20“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22“His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ 24“Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ 26“He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
    without a savior: Secular people who know something about the purchasing power degradation of a unit of through inflation since Roman times would almost certainly have invested the funds in some way so as to avoid such degradation. Religious people of all kinds might well interpret this parable as indicating that it is wise to apply and grow your human talents and not hide them away to "rust".

    with a savior: The Law having become potentially more clarified following the coming of Jesus and the Gospel of his cruxifiction, burial, and resurrection to life and making His inheritance available to all? Also, could the buried minas be a sort of metaphor for the commands of God buried under

  40. Ten talents (master returns):(Matthew 25:14-30) [A "talent" was a certain amount of "money"...about 6000 denari...about 15-20 years pay for a usual day laborer!] The servants of a master are entrusted with unequal amounts of his property as he leaves for a long period. As this prior chapter in Matthew (Matthew 24) opens, Jesus knows The Cross is "around the corner". As the disciples point with pride at The Temple (signifying The Old Covenant which has been distorted into multilayered exclusionary legalistic rules), Jesus forecasts (1) the destruction of mans' rules & customs excluding people and (2) the New Covenant of inclusiveness. The disciples will not "get it" until the Resurrection. Their thinking is still locked into the worldwide "suzerainty" thinking of treaties between unequals. And their mindset is on keeping things "as is" with the rules but with inclusiveness of Gentiles. We think of "talents" in terms of money & material gain. Jesus always was/is thinking of people ('the folks"). This parable is about taking RISK14...both self risk and risk on behalf of others (even on behalf of our bosses or superiors). Jesus was reflecting that God is way more interested in who is "in" rather than keeping folks "out". The servants investing the talents symbolize growing of the Kingdom of God. To "play it safe" & be fearful to risk what it takes to grow (one-talent servant) is NOT the right response! Jesus wants investment in growth! Then Jesus closes with what is known to be a prophetic type closing that basically means "this is NOT the right way"!
    without a savior: These folks want to be "realistic" and just accept that people, by human nature, tend to be groupish & exclusionary, a nearly impossible inclination to overcome in the long run.

    with a savior: On becoming a believer, one then has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a focusing power source that can be recruited within oneself to help as one wills oneself toward investing more of oneself to be more inclusive & more investing in one's surrounding community. This can positively build the community through relating of the citizens to each other "rightly". Could the buried talents be a sort of metaphor for the commands of God buried under The Law so that the value of relating rightly is completely obscured in the old covenant? Being an outgoing, outreaching disciple of Jesus is RISKY14!!!

  41. Ten virgins (wise & foolish virgins)(ten bridesmaids) (an end times/final destiny parable): (Matthew 25:1-13)
    The Kingdom of Heaven will be like 10 virgins (humanity) who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom (Jesus): five foolish brides (virgins) went to meet the groom with lamps but forgot the oil; five were wise & brought both lamp and oil. The groom was coming from afar; the brides fell asleep. When the cry went out that the groom was near, the wise virgins did not want to share their lamp oil. While the foolish five went back to buy oil, the wedding banquet started. The wise five entered, and the door was shut. The door guard claimed not to know the foolish ones when they returned and wanted to enter. It is a story about conserving valuable stuff instead of sharing.
    without a savior: This is about being prepared. This message would suggest that after-life salvation must be earned and with 50% exclusion without hope of a change of mind for those (all of us?) who are not properly prepared & even seems to condone refusal to share.

    with a savior: Be prepared for a saved life unto Judgement. Some say that the "oil" represents "good works". Since Jesus is all about inclusiveness and sharing, this suggests that Jesus is illustrating to His disciples what CAN happen (1) when there is a lack of divine love and grace and that (2) we should share and/or not attempt to measure who did the most or best works, so that all are included (but see "fully saved"). Jesus may be speaking this parable as a contrast to Biblical Justice wherein all get at least part of what is needed...not just what is earned.

  42. The seeds & soils (probably the very first parable 5): Is this about sowers scattering...sowing...seeds or about soil (or both)? (part #1: Matthew 13:3-9 & explained in Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:3-20; Luke 8:4-15) Jesus explains that this is how His ministry works & that lack of abundant yield is the active & deliberate result of the enemy in the Heavenly realms 6. In addition to seed & soil, a harvest depends on weather conditions (warmth & water). Humans would assume that a great harvest is about abundance. A planter (Jesus 6 [& by extension, any follower trying to spread the Gospel]) scatters the planting seed everywhere 7, and some falls on rich or prepared soil (and yields a bountiful harvest) and some on poor (compacted soil on path; thin soil over limestone undersurface; soil with weed seeds mixed in, etc.) or uncultivated soil (and sprouts but does not produce & withers and dies). The "seed" is like "hearing". The bountiful yield: this is akin to good news (or tips on the key to the great life) being heard, understood, and applied by those with rich "soil": prepared (positively or by trials) & ready to hear and with truly unimaginable 7 results of 100, 60, or 30-fold results. The short yield: Good news failing to yield such an incredible7 harvest in 3 ways: (1) (on the compacted path) coming to a compacted & beat-down person's spirit with no good effect at all on the disengaged, unprepared, and uninterested person, resulting that the hearer can be deliberately or inadvertently  easily mislead vs. (2) (thin soil) going shallow into one ear and out of the other, maybe due to the underlying things in that hearer's life that have "compacted" an underlying hardness beneath a favorable but thin exterior surface vs. (3) amidst the weeds of too much business & distraction (rendered so by the enemy) in life vs. etc. But, in today's world, what are the "seeds" & the "soil"; and who has the control over where the seeds fall or the condition of the soil? Seed scattering is only one (but the most important ) step in the end result of a worthy harvest that measures up to its initial potential. The parable of the lost sheep suggests to me that a worthy harvest may not depend on the numerical amount. In fact, the future harvest size from a single seed that produces its seeds, no matter what soil, is possible if it is God's will. And that single seed may sow its offspring seeds again & produce a harvest of note whose produce plays a role in future harvests.

    without a savior: Charitable seeds of "help" may be cast about by people with disengagement or even high-minded intent and often primarily to serve to make the "planter" feel good about (1) his/her "caring" or (2) imagining getting "points" with God & "man". They may cast seed but may not cast seed everywhere. AND, they are unable to do anything much about soil...they are more into attempting a safety net.
    with a savior: The great good news of Christ is that everyone has a chance; so, seeds are scattered widely and with abandon (because one can never dismiss what God might cause to positively happen if He chooses). And the seed are cast relentlessly...over & over. Also, knowing what positive impact the Savior has meant to his/her own life, charitable "seeds" may be carefully sown in proper kind & amounts for the currently perceived  state of the "soil" & efforts made to engage & cultivate that soil. And with continued interest in learning successful planting & cultivation skills, such might cause a "saved" person to be very engaged & discerning as to causing long-term, positive impact with his/her "donation" to a cause or a life. But, let's not forget that it is Jesus who knocks on the door of a human's life & not the other way around. Jesus (1) may be the Factor that can change any seed's chances...no matter the soil. And, (2) with Jesus, each life indwelt through Him by the Holy Spirit constitutes an abundant harvest for that previously lost soul! And, since these seeds sprout within a system that both casts seed again and nurtures the crop, the soil is replenished and improved.

  43. Two debtors (a love and forgiveness parable): (Luke 7:41-43) Preceeded by the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-40) washing the feet of Jesus and wiping the feet with her hair, annointing His feet with her most prized perfume and then kissing His feet over and over, Jesus talks about debt relief and forgiveness. He had gone to supper at a pharisee's home. Jesus proposed: Two persons owed money to a moneylender. One owed 500 denarii and the other 50 (a ten-to-one difference). They were both broke, and the moneylender forgave the debts of both. On which debtor did the moneylender extend the greater forgiveness? Jesus asked Simon, the pharisee host, "Now [for the forgiveness of the debt] which of them love him most?" Simon choses the one with the largest debt; Jesus answers, "You have judged correctly." And Jesus continues, "But he who has been forgiven little loves little." And, as with the prophet, Nathan, setting King David up to hear the bad news of God's judgement on David (2 Samuel 12:1-30) for having devised the death of his military leader, Uriah, there are positive & negative consequences to be worked through following God's judgements.
    without Jesus, the Savior: Of those humans having any interest in a Higher Power, there is a strong tendency to see that power of God as (1) completely detached from mankind and/or (2) as One who makes a "black or white" creditor/debtor type judgement and moves on.

    with Jesus, the Savior: But, the one true God of Abraham moves through His judgements. He does not discard after His judgements! The Jesus follower, indwelt with the Holy Spirit, has a huge earthly advantage in rolling with the consequences of that Jesus follower's decisions and actions with confidence in the grace-filled love of God. I like Pastor Tim Bupp's1 summary in June 2016, "The relationship with God is redefined [in this parable]. It's no longer based on debt and credit, but on love - [the] agape, selfless love [of God for His creation]. So many times we miss this about this Sunday's reading. It's a beautiful story about a woman on the edge, risking everything, and giving everything in the washing and annointing of Jesus' feet; but we miss the transition! When Simon mockingly thinks to himself how ridiculous it is to think that Jesus is a prophet because he permits this sinful woman to touch him, Jesus tells him a short parable about credit, debt, and forgiving of debts, something that would equate with Simon's understanding of The Law. Then at the end of the parable Jesus asks an odd question, 'Who would love the creditor more?' Now, I've paid off three houses, countless cars, but I have yet have a creditor or bank ask me if I loved them more after the transaction was completed, nor have any sent me any love notes afterwards. That's the turning point of this conversation! Jesus is redefining the relationship with God from the contemporary mindset of his time. A right relationship with God does not come from works [and obedience] of The Law, like one is settling an old debt, but rather by God's grace and our faith in that grace." While Jesus paid the debt for all, we want to be "fully saved".

  44. Two sons: (Matthew 21:28-32) Click on this Scripture link & check it. It uses another vineyard parable. This would seem to indicate that actual actions speak louder and truer than words.
    without a savior: It is just part of human nature for a large percentage of people to have poor follow-through on committments. I am nearly positive that both secular folk and people of all religions would agree that actions speak louder than words.

    with a savior: For the Jesus follower indwelt by the Holy Spirit, this is another hard parable indicating that, as a Holy Spirit indwelt Christian, you should come to the end of yourself and throw in the towel & say, “I just cannot stop sinning!!!... [both as to committing sins and also...as sins of ommission...sinning by virtue of NOT doing what believers are told by Jesus in such as the Sermon on the Mount what they ought to do]...Lord, please help me!” As Pastor Gragg noted, this is a parable about authority and where that authority comes from and whether or not we learn to make right decisions in response to His authority14. Which son are you like? Do you need to make changes in your life? When a person recognizes and agrees that the ultimate authority is God, then that is when the Lord steps in and operates supernaturally through your life...at His own speed/pace.

  45. Unclean spirit(return of the unclean spirit): (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26) It seems to me that this parable indicates that people who attempt to clean up their sinful acts in life and do NOT immediately replace an attitude...a spirit if you will...of sinfulness with a clean spirit (the Holy Spirit) are doomed to back slide into an even worse state of attitude.
    without a savior: As with attempts to lose weight or quit negative habits, failure to fill in the void with BETTER things, activities, and actions seems to often leave a person in even worse shape. Click on the verses & read them. This pretty much holds true for secular people and religious people.

    with a savior: Because the true Jesus believer can have the Holy Spirit move in and indwell that believer, the Holy Spirit moves into every new clean room in your spiritual house and actually replaces the unclean spirit occupied that room or closet of your life, especially if you pray as the true believer does in parable 44, Two Sons, above.

  46. Unjust judge (or persistent widow): (Luke 18:1-8) 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
    without a savior: this sounds very human...the official (judge) finally takes action, not out of a sense of rendering justice but because the persistent widow has pestered him so long in her effort to actually get action. This parable is about what God is NOT like !

    with a savior: God cares about all of His creation, moreso humans and especially His followers. At tyhe time Jesus told this parable, Jesus was on mission to clarify that God was not a disinterested or hanging judge. Jesus is the manifestation of what God the Father is actually like.

  47. Unjust (dishonest...shrewd) steward (manager): (Luke 16:1-13) 1 Now Yeshua (Jesus) was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a household [assetts...goods...property] manager, and this manager was accused of squandering his belongings. 2 So he called the manager and said to him, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3 “Then the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig; I’m ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I’ll do, so that when I’m put out of management others will welcome me into their homes.’ 5 So he called in each one of his master’s debtors, and he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 “He said, ‘One hundred units of olive oil.’ “The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘Now how much do you owe?’ “He said, ‘A hundred units of wheat.’ “The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.’ 8 “Now the master praised the crooked manager because he had acted shrewdly, for the sons of this age are smarter when dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 I say to you, make friends for yourselves from the wealth of the world, so when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal shelters. 10 “One who is faithful in the smallest matters is also faithful in much, and the one unjust in the smallest matters will likewise be unjust in much. 11 So then, if you cannot be trusted with unjust wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12 Now if you have not been trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you anything of your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money [wealth...mammon].”
    without a savior: The manager lost his job but may have left on last minute terms...scrambling to account for the assetts...that got him another job IF the discounted (removed his commission?) assetts volume actually came to the owner that he was managing for. The owner may have actually thought the departing manager to have done a clever thing before he departed. But in the secular world, many think that life is ALL about money.

    with a savior: In The Way of Jesus, the believer & follower acknowledges that his/her talents, abilities, and money (assetts) are foremost the things of God (all that we have is God's). In the final analysis, does/did a believer's life and money (his/her all encompassing stewardship) go for the purposes of God? In the fallen nature of man, NONE of us will ever live a life of 100% Godly stewardship. But, keep asking yourself, "What can I do for the betterment of others?"

  48. Unmerciful servant (forgive 7 times?)(unforgiving servant)(ungrateful servant)(wicked servant) (a love and forgiveness parable): (Matthew 18:21-35) Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (by New American Std. translation; by many others it is 70 times 7). “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold [one bag is a talent, 15 years of one slave's labor = 10,000 times 15 is 150 thousand years of slave labor!] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’“ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
    without a savior:
    Without any understanding of a loving God...much less Jesus, one could say that the king was incredibly generous to forgive such a massive debt! Yet the forgiven servant turns right around and unmercifully has a debtor (owing him) thrown in jail! In retaliation, thge king probably went impossibly overboard in his punishment condemnation. In its state of fallenness, fallen mankind has little true interest in reconciliation...

    with a savior: Jesus followers are familiar with God's grace and mercy bought by the crucifixtion of Jesus. But this parable gives an astounding example of the extent of the forgiveness God offers and provides mankind. Three (3) 15-year periods of slave labor, 45 years, would have been worth 3 bags (talents) of gold. Yet, in this parable, God forgives 10,000 fifteen-year periods (10,000 talents...10,000 bags of gold...150,000 years!)! This is more forgiveness than a person could give in the longest of human lifetimes. The major implication is that forgiveness is not a mathmatical calculation14. In the broad sense, this parable of forgiveness falls under the broader heading of reconciliation12...a key arena of opportunity in the Christian community. What friends or family are you on the "outs" with? What divisions are there which need to be healed toward unity? For the believer, this parable indicates that at least THEY should be fundamentally transformed in their Walk into forgiving people (in view of the ENORMOUS debt of mankind forgiven by God through the death of Jesus)14! As to the number 77, it is "said" that there are 77 generations from Adam to Jesus; and Genesis 4:24 notes about Cain avenged 7 fold, then Lamech 77 fold. The death of Jesus paid the price for all, but be aware of the status of "fully saved".

  49. Unprepared builder: (Luke 14:28-30) 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

    without a savior: Before a wise person starts a venture, they plan and use accountants & estimators so that they know in advance what the project is likely to cost & how much time & effort is needed.

    with a savior: Believer vs. Follower vs. Disciple ... One source13 points out the preceeding verse where (Luke 14:26-27) Jesus says that you must hate your parents & siblings in order to be a true disciple of His...a disciple (far more than a follower). Being a true disciple requires counting the cost! [source #13 analysis HERE]

  50. Vine & branches (true vine): (John 15:1-17)
    This parable is about the vine supplying (being the source of) what the fruit-producing branches need to bear fruit.

    without a savior: Compared to vines and their branches, any successful system (governmental, business, family, whatever) must have organization, information, supplies, and work performed

    with a savior: God is in charge and is the head and roots of supply of vision, energy, and power to succeed. To the greater & greater extent that you committ to Him and His will, He will work the Holy Spirit in you to prune away time & effort spent on things not part of his plans to move you from believer to follower to disciple of His Son, Jesus.

  51. Watching (watchfulness) servants (master returns): (Luke 12:35-40) “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
    without a savior: Always be prepared to report to your supervisor, boss, Board of Directors, etc. being "Johnny on the spot" lets them know how much you value keeping your position with the organization!

    with a savior: This parable seems diametrically opposed to "The Servant's (slave's) Duty" parable, above (#35). But, it makes more sense if this is interpreted as a parable about human to human realtionships which then cautions to also be ready for the return of The Son of Man (Jesus). As ref. #13 notes: "I have to ask you: Do you know the Lord Jesus? You need to – don’t put it off! Be aware, there is a thief who infiltrates our minds to divert us from the things of God. He will use every form of deception he can to stop us from [believing/knowing, following, entering into discipleship and] obeying God’s word. His name is Satan and he sends his demons to rob, kill and destroy those that Jesus died for.

  52. Wise builder: (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49) This follows The Sermon on the Mount and is advice to build your house on a firm foundation. House could be a metaphor for "life", "career", "marriage", "family"...what you build needs to be built to withstand the known dangers inherant in the thing you build.
    without a savior: Build wisely! In hurricane-prone areas build so that the structure is above known flood levels & with wind withstanding structure. The same for flood-prone areas otherwise: chose high ground if you can. Choose carefully where and with whom to associate in building a career...etc.

    with a savior: If your family, a friend, or anyone else tries to lead you to Christ (The Rock), don't delay in accepting. Christ is the Solid Ground under ALL circumstances one could possibly encounter in this earthly life. As a Christian parent, do not delay AT ALL in making great efforts to lead your children to a life in Christ. My daughter's two children and her first 2 grandchildren were dedicated to Christ on the first Sunday of their lives away from the hospital (as Baptists, water baptism comes later)!

  53. Wise & faithful servant: (Matthew 24:45-51) 45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the [e]master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    without a savior: This story would bring to mind the care one needs to take in hiring for your business or department....or the care one must take in finding a person(s) or place to care for a parent(s) who is in need. Etc.

    with a savior: Among many other things brought to mind, this parable might suggest the sinfulness of the pastor, counselor, or person who takes advantage of the faith that a church member might place in them as they hope for help toward believing, following, and committing a life to Jesus...in view of eternity and the status of being fully saved!

  54. Wise steward (overseer): (Luke 12:42-48)
    This is about differing punishments for (1) an overseer who knew better and (2) one who did not know better. The application is within the religeous faith.It ends, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."   

    without a savior: The secular world will find this frightening because a high percentage of secular living seems all about cutting corners & shrewdly using others & taking advantage of others.

    with a savior: The believer, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, fails to grow in the Faith when he/she lives poor stewardship...AND, thusly saved, he/she senses that much is expected. With increasing maturity in the Faith, he/she actually loves to take on more.

  55. Marriage feast (wedding feast)(wedding banquet)(great banquet)(marriage of the king's son) (an end times/final destiny parable): (Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:15-24) Pastor Gragg helps via 10/15/17 sermon.14 (1) By the Matthew version (Matthew wrote the Gospel to the Jews), the emphasis is on punishment & absurdly negative consequences of rejection of invitations colored by the Jews having seen the Romans destroy Jerusalem in 70AD. Nevertheless, the Hebrew culture thrived on "correct" celebrations! A king prepared a wedding banquet for his son, but the friends all had other plans and refused to come, some even eventually killing the servant messengers who came with invitation reminders. Enraged, the king sent his army & destroyed the murderers and burned their city down...absurd! So, the king then dispensed messengers to the streets and invited all & filled the wedding hall with them. But one did not wear a proper wedding clothes; enraged, the king had him thrown out...absurd! And Jesus ends the parable, "For many are invited but few are chosen [or chose to accept]." (2) The Luke version (Luke focused on communicating the Gospel to the Greeks) was focused on filling up the banquet with attendees.

    As Jesus tells the parable, He is ever aware that His time is short before He will be crucified. By custom, the king would have graciously (by grace) provided the wedding clothes for the guests. Knowing that Jesus has the ears of the Chief Priests and Pharisees, He adds on a whammy of an exclamation point to the story; and it harks back to the mindset of those times (cultures of "treaties"...covenants...between unequals). So, acting the way the Chief Priests and Pharisees and the culture would normally react to a guest who refused to wear the wedding clothes provided by the host (refusing the graciousness of the host), the parable has the king ordering his attendants to tie that guest up and toss him out into the darkness. And Jesus uses a standard closing phrase of the times for someone either experiencing or being possibly liable for punishment, "...where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."7

    without a savior: This parable sounds brutal and would seem to make no sense to a casual, secular reader. In wanting to be gracious, the king stumbles over his humanity and strikes out at both minor and gross social snubbs & imperfections. The potential joy of the wedding banquet is ruined.

    with a savior: From the Christian believer's viewpoint, this parable seems to reflect God inviting His chosen (Israelites) to the wedding with His Son, Jesus.They did not accept the invitation. So, the Apostles & Disciples carried the invitation to all people (Jews & gentiles); and vast numbers showed up. Look out for the punch from the blind side! But the wedding banquet was marred when the King (God) seems to focus wrath on one guest improperly clothed. Rather than letting this parable indicate how God would really act, Jesus is letting the Chief Priests & Pharisees get a glimpse of themselves and their legalistic ways which always search for and punish the fault and evil in people rather than notice and amplify the good as it begins to build up in a follower. The Israelite temple leaders would behave like this; at the Judgement, God would not (see "fully saved").


For any one of us, "eternal salvation" covers the entire span of time from the moment of our conception into the infinity of all future time (an earthly component & an after-life component). If any of the above has caused you to be curious as to what this Good News...this "Salvation"...is, check out this brief schematic chart or check out this brief bullet-point outline.



  1. Much of the above is my own personal analysis & viewpoint as an adult layman, serious believer since 1992 and with eyes opened significantly wider by my then pastor (Tim L. Bupp) between 2010-13.
  2. Richard Q. Ford, The Parables of Jesus: Recovering the Art of Listening, Fortress Press, 1997, 183 pages. [a clinical psychologist's interpretation of 8 parables from the viewpoint of the ways of listening practiced by psychotherapists]
  3. William Barclay, The Parables of Jesus, Westminster John Knox Press, 1970 (republished 1999), 223 pages. [A popular Scottish interpreter of the New Testament steeped in knowledge of old Greco-Roman & Jewish history & culture, he was Professor of Divinity at Glasgow U. and wrote many commentary books and with the hope to convey meaning to the common man, this one covering about 30 parables.]
  4. William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, Westminster John Knox Press, 1953 (republished 1975 & 2001), 355 pages. [A popular Scottish interpreter of the New Testament steeped in knowledge of old Greco-Roman & Jewish history & culture, he was Professor of Divinity at Glasgow U. and wrote many commentary books and with the hope to convey meaning to the common man, this one covering the parables in Luke, Luke having the viewpoint of a physician.]
  5. Robert C. McQuilkin, Our Lord's Parables, Zondervan Pub. House, 1980 (originally a portion first published in 1929), 203 pages. [Dr. McQuilkin was the founder & President of Columbia Bible College near Columbia, S. C. His book studies 17 parables from the viewpoint of a theological Christian who believed that there was only ONE central truth in a parable. He also notes some Old Testament parables on page 21.]
  6. Rev. Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson, First Presb. Church, Columbia, S.C., fall 2007  sermon series, "The Sting in His Tale: The Parables of Jesus"[10 sermons, MP3 formatted CD].
  7. various sermons or discussions by various preachers.
  8. The Great Courses, Holy Land Revealed, Professor Jodi Magness (archeologist & historian).
  9. Pastor "Tim" Timothy Leroy Bupp.
  10. free Wikipedia on-line resource, Parables of Jesus.
  11. Alec Hill, "The Most Troubling Parable: Why Does Jesus Say We Are Like Slaves?, Christianity Today, page 76-, July/August 2014.
  12. Pastor Larry Hagerty's sermon (amazing reconciliation with his estranged father) at Zion Lutheran Church, Lexington, S. C., 14 Sept. 2014; video posted HERE on YouTube.
  13. Matthew Robert Payne's excellent "The Parables of Jesus" web site, http://www.parables-of-jesus-christ.net/index.html.
  14. Pastor Nathan Thomas Gragg at Zion Lutheran Church, Lexington, S. C.

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(begun posting 30 December 2010; latest addition 26 November 2017)