Birds, Rocks and Thorny Places

Parables are like ogres, which are like onions…they have layers.   One of the layers that adds rich meaning to the reading and understanding of Jesus’ parables is packaged in identifying with the different characters in the story. This is quickly and easily seen in the parable of the prodigal son where most of us […]

Layers of the Good Samaritan: More than Meets the Eye

The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is a complex one. On first glance it is relatively simple…be kind and compassionate even to people who are hard to love. The more you dig into this parable the more you see that there is a richness and depth to this parable that isn’t obvious […]

Luke 10 & Simple Faith

There are a few major things that happen in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. First, Jesus sends out the 72. They go out and spread the news about the kingdom, doing miracles and seeing God at work through their ministry. Next, Jesus is asked by a very knowledgeable legal teacher what has […]

Two Realizations That Help Christian Unity

In Luke 14 Jesus tells the parable of an influential man who throws a dinner party. He sends out the invite to all the choice people, the in-crowd. As the RSVP’s come back he gets nothing but excuses…One guy says he just bought a field and wants to go look at it. Pretty lame…don’t you […]

Jesus, Seeds and our DNA

I have been writing small group material on the parables and I was surprised to see how many of Jesus parables are about seeds. You have the parable of the sower, the mustard seed, the growing seed, the wheat and the weeds and so on. In these parables, the seed usually represents God’s Word. When […]

Will Willimon on The Parable of the Mustard Seed

“Jesus was preaching one day, preaching on the kingdom of God. ‘The Kingdom of God is like…It’s like a tiny mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds. but if you plant that tiny seed, water it, care for it, it will germinate and grow, and grow—and produce a weed about a foot high.’ The dumbfounded […]

The Difference Between Myth and Parable & How That Informs Our Preaching

In Will Willimon’s outstanding book on preaching, The Intrusive Word: Preaching to the Unbaptized, he mentions a distinction that John Crossan (in his book The Dark Interval) makes between myth and parable. Willimon sums up Crossan’s view like this, “Myth attempts to mediate opposites, explain mystery, reconcile polarities, to take the randomness of life and […]