Over the next few Sunday mornings (at our new 10 a.m. start time), we’re going to be looking at the parables of Luke. Some of these stories only appear in Luke. Some appear in other Gospels as well. We won’t get through all of Luke’s parables in this series, but we’ll be looking at some that deal specifically with faith.
So as we look at faith through the parables of Luke, I’ll be posting some back story on our Web blog each week. We can learn a little more about Luke, think a bit more about the stories and hopefully, along the way, deepen our own faith.
It is believed that the writer of Luke also wrote the Book of Acts. In fact, if you read the Gospel of Luke, skip over the Gospel of John and head right in to Acts, you get a nice narrative that begins with the birth of Christ and moves through the founding of the Church. Try it some time. It’s a great read.
The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms defines a parable as “a short story based on common experiences that contains a meaning.” I like to say that a parable is a story with a meaning greater than its content. In other words, a parable is about much more than it claims to be about. The parable of the barren fig tree and the parable of the mustard seed aren’t actually about trees and seeds. Parables use simple images to help us understand larger concepts.
Jesus didn’t have the market cornered on parable. We still use them today in all sorts of settings. My husband is working on an MBA and recently did a case study on what the industry calls quick serve restaurants and what the rest of us call fast food joints. A professor explained why these quick serve restaurants tend to clump together in one location rather than seeking out separate and distinct spaces.
Suppose there is a beach with a finite length and a guy wants to open up a frozen daiquiri stand. He sets it up in the middle of the beach so that he can get traffic from both sides of the beach. Now say you want to open a daiquiri stand on the same beach. You don’t want to put it on the far west end, because then the people on the east side will have too far to go. You don’t want it on the east end for the same reason. So where do you put your stand? Right by the other guy.
That’s a parable. The parables in Luke use images that, understandably, are more familiar to a first century Jewish peasant than they are to a 21st century bus driver or banker or daiquiri stand owner. But I think we can get the gist just the same.
Our series starts this Sunday with the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Make plans to join us at 10 a.m.