Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The Gospel of Luke. Parables in Luke. A parable (Greek parabole) is a figure of speech comparing two things–literally placing them alongside each other. Occasionally, the Greek term is translated with other words such as “proverb” or “lesson.” Some of Jesus’ parables are very brief comparisons–that is, similes or similitudes; for example, the kingdom of God is “like” a mustard seed or yeast. Others are short narratives, complete with a plot, several characters and dialogue–for example, the great banquet or the rich man and Lazarus. The parables are characteristic of Jesus’ teaching–for example, about the kingdom of God. Besides conveying Jesus’ teachings, parables can also explain his mission; for example, the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and prodigal son justify his outreach to sinners. Many parables are somewhat allegorical; for example, the sower and the wicked tenants, with each detail signifying some reality. Their interpretation thus involves another level of meaning, though one should not press the details too far………………………………………… The disciples are granted understanding of the parables; the rest remain on the surface rather than attaining the mysteries of God hidden in the parables. “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:28). Next there is a lamp placed on a lamp stand. Like the seed, the lamp is an image for God’s Word: “Your word is a lamp for my feet,/ a light for my path (Psalm 119: 105). Thus, the person who, when hearing God’s Word, embraces it and understands it, is filled with light and becomes a visible lamp so others can see the light. Those who have been granted knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom must make them known. The person is a lamp that enlightens others so that they too may be saved. So much depends on how you hear the Word of God. There is a children’s song about hiding your light under a basket. We are supposed to be proclaiming God and Jesus. I am doing this blog, hoping that will satisfy my “good works” requirement. The author/commentator, Pablo Gadenz, says of the Word: “Believe what you hear, share what you believe and practice what you share.”……………………….. Luke 8:21 One day Jesus was preaching to a crowded room, so crowded nobody could move. Word came to him that his mother and brothers and sisters wanted to see him and talk to him. But Jesus said that his family were his followers, who hear the word of God and keep it. But his birth family will eventually join him and become his disciples. But Jesus promises abundant rewards for those who have given up their families for the kingdom of God…. Luke 27-33 People possessed by demons always know Jesus’ identity as son of the Most High God. Actually its the demons inside the people who know Jesus. Jesus and his disciples cross the Sea of Galilee and reach the territory of the Gerasenes. As they disembark, a madman possessed by demons meets them. The name of the demons is Legion because there are many. Legion is a Latin military word, indicating possession by an army of several thousand demons. The demons negotiate with Jesus not to be sent to the abyss (a bottomless pit like a black hole). Jesus allows them to enter a herd of swine, which, when seized by the demons, rushed down the hill and were drowned. The demons are sent into the watery abyss, despite their negotiations. The presence of the swine indicates that this is Gentile territory; Jews don’t eat pork. But the possessed man is now dressed and in his right mind and has been saved. Jesus sends the man out to proclaim what God has done for him, but instead proclaims what Jesus has done for him. So much for a low profile……. Luke 8: 40-56 These next two parables form a frame narrative, or as Gadenz calls it, a sandwich. First, Jarius, an official in the Temple, rushed up to Jesus, fell on his knees and begged Jesus to come-his daughter was dying. The second story is in the middle of the frame. A woman with a 12 year hemorrhage has faith that if she touches Jesus’ robe she will be healed. Jesus feels power go out of him and he finds the woman and tells her that her faith has healed her. Back to Jarius’ daughter, who has died before Jesus could reach her. Jesus told the parents: “Have faith and she will be saved.” Jesus took the girl’s hand and told her to rise, which she did immediately after she started breathing. And there are links between the two stories: the daughter was 12 and the woman had been hemorrhaging for 12 years; they are both addressed as Daughter; the woman was both saved and healed–the verb ‘sozo’ can have both meanings. The connection made applies to all readers: have faith and you will be saved. The miracles conclude with instructions to let no one know what has happened. Jesus also will tell his disciple not to tell anyone that he is the Messiah. The full truth about Jesus and his mission first needs to be revealed. As Jesus raised the “sleeping” girl, so too will he rise from the sleep of death, so that all that have faith in him may be saved and share in his resurrection (CC on SS).