The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Parables From Luke Week 2

Download the mp3 of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Week 2

So this week we look over at Luke 11:1-13 and let's be honest, all we really have done is look at this as "The How-To manual on prayer."  Because the Lord's Prayer is here, the parable is glossed over as are some significant connections to other scripture passages.

What is most often missing is context and when it comes to parables, they are often treated like fables, myths and simple wisdom sayings.  BUT they aren't and it is important to note the difference.  Dr. James Fleming, in The Parables of Jesus, writes, "The Koran and many oriental religions only have the sayings and there is no context to help interpret them...we can excavate...this is unique to the Judeo-Christian heritage."  Archaeology can and has excavated the homes of the first century (along with a lot of places and documents which confirm the accuracy of the Bible).  For a good look at what I'm talking about in the study, visit Women In The Bible for a better view of an 'insula.'

What it seems to me however, is the passage AND the parable is more than a "How-To."  Jesus is giving us the how and the what and the why and the when but most of all, Jesus is revealing to us an important relationship - the who we are praying to.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Parables From Luke Week 1

Download the mp3 of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Week 1
When first released, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly received terrible reviews from critics.  Yet today, it is ranked among the 100 greatest movies of all time.  One of the things I believe makes it so unique are the smaller side stories hidden throughout the movie.  These reveal elements of the characters and, if we allow the power of story to work on us, those of us who watch the movie.  For us men (as this is primarily a men's study I'm leading), we are wired for stories not conversations.  We love the storyline of a football game, remembrances of a day fishing or hunting or simply recalling days gone by.

Dr. Edward Wimberly writes in his recent book, No Shame in Wesley's Gospel, "The power of Scripture is in its ability to get the hearer or reader to suspend his or her own way of seeing reality and, as the reader or hearer is drawn in, to take on the world as it is revealed in the text."  In an even larger way, this is the goal of Jesus' parables.  

Luke's gospel is unique among the four gospels in that it contains more parables than the other three.  Luke's gospel also contains a number of parables which are not found in the others as well.  Long thought to be nothing more than analogies, more recent scholarship has dismissed this notion and recognized parables as something different, a unique form of story contained in the Scriptures (Edwin Freed, The New Testament: A Critical Introduction).

In this first week, we're looking at Luke 7:36-50 and the parable contained in the story of Jesus, Simon the Pharisee and the sinful woman.  Often what is examined is the interaction of Jesus and Simon.  I think what we discover is an example of the power of a parable.  We see how Jesus uses a parable to teach and the power of a parable to 'explode' in a person's life and soul, even when we do not want it.

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