Thursday, December 17, 2009

parables of Jesus

The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind, Artist: BRUEGEL, Pieter the Elder. Date: 1568The parables of Jesus, found in the Synoptic Gospels, embody much of Jesus' teaching. Jesus' parables are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to leaven (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus' parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The Parable of the Good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man's neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus' death.

His parables are sometimes interpreted as allegories in the gospels themselves and in Christian tradition. In such an allegory, each element corresponds metaphorically to a class of people (e.g., false Christians), a heavenly reward, or some other topic. The gospel of John includes allegories but no parables.

Believed to be the words of Jesus, taught to him by the Father, Christians place high significance on the parables.
28So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. —John 8:28
Parables are attributed to Jesus in the three synoptic gospels of the New Testament and the noncanonical Gospel of Thomas. According to some interpretations, the Gospel of John also contains a parable.

According to one source the Gospel of Luke contains both the largest total number of parables (24) and the largest number of unique parables found nowhere else (10). The Gospel of Matthew contains 23 parables of which six are unique. The noncanonical Gospel of Thomas contains 15 parables of which two are unique. The Gospel of Mark contains eight parables of which only one (the Parable of the Growing Seed) is unique. The Gospel of John contains only the story of the Vine, which some consider to be a parable.


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