Jesus in the parables

Ask a fellow citizen what he thinks of Jesus, and the answer will likely be that Jesus was a good man who wouldn’t harm a mouse. Read the Parables, though, and one thing you’ll notice is a recurrence of martial imagery warning of horrifying endings (Heb 10:31) for the Lord’s enemies. For example:

  • The Parable of the Two Builders: the “ruin was great” of the one who built on sand (Luke 6:49)
  • The Parable of the Tares: “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned” (Matt 13:30)
  • The Parable of the Dragnet: “The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 13:49-50)
  • The Parable of the Wicked Tenants: Those who fall on the stone “will be broken to pieces” and crushed. (Matt 21:44)
  • The Parable of the Marriage Feast: the king “destroyed the murders and burned their city.” The uninvited guest is bound and cast into the “outer darkness.” (Matt 22:7, 13)
  • The Parable of the Faithful vs. Unfaithful Servant: The master will “cut [the evil servant] in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 25:51)
  • The Parable of the Ten Virgins: The Lord says “I do not know you” to the unready virgins. (Matt 25:12)
  • The Parable of the Talents: The worthless servant is cast into “outer darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 25:30)
  • The Parable of the Rich Fool: “Fool! This night your soul is required of you” (Luke 12:20)
  • The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree: “Cut it down.” (Luke 13:9)
  • The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus: “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.” (Luke 16:24)
  • The Parable of the Pounds: “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” (Luke 19:27)

Of course, threats aren’t the only point of these parables, but the fly is in the ointment. They aren’t bedtime stories for the unbeliever. Certainly the warnings were put in there to be noticed, but such unpleasantries (which are such vital parts of the sermons of Jesus and the apostles) are rarely mentioned in pulpits today.

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