Stories captivate listeners, and carry their attention through plot twists, compelling characters, and poignant lessons. Jesus was a master storyteller, and his parables have allowed two thousand years of hearers the opportunity to learn eternal truths by engaging the imagination to understand the unimaginable. The parables of Jesus span from life, grace, the kingdom now, and the kingdom to come. These stories will capture our attention, awaken insight, and move us to share the stories of God’s work in our lives.
The Strong Man
Sunday, July 11 – Today, we transition from parables of unimaginable life to unimaginable grace. Abraham Lincoln said, “a house divided against itself, cannot stand.” Jesus once cast out a demon and was declared by a crowd to be doing work in the name of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. The Parable of the Strong Man teaches us that Jesus is not working with Satan, but against him, to rescue us with his unimaginable grace.
The Good Samaritan
Sunday, July 18 – The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a familiar favorite. Jesus teaches us who our neighbors are and how we are to love them. But there is more to this story. It also teaches us that we are the man who was robbed and beaten, half dead in our sin. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who finds us, sacrifices for us, and cares for us with his unimaginable grace.
The Two Debtors
Sunday, July 25 – Those who have sinned much in this life can be tempted to believe that they are too far separated from God, that their sin has removed them beyond the limits of his grace. But in this parable, Jesus teaches us that those who have sinned much, when they receive the unimaginable grace of God, are filled with great amounts of gratitude and love towards their Savior.
The Unforgiving Servant
Sunday, August 1 – Last week, we learned that those who have sinned much, have been forgiven much, and love much! But what happens when someone who has been forgiven much has a heart that is hardened toward others who are in debt to them? How does our Father expect us to pay forgiveness forward? How are we called to be forgiving to others? Do we really mean it when we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others?
The Lost Sheep
Sunday, August 8 – Jesus teaches us in this parable the great value of one lost sheep to the shepherd. He will search far and wide to return that sheep to the flock. The same is true with the Father. When one of us finds ourselves wandering, lost, and lonely, the Father sends his Son to seek and save. Jesus has gone to great lengths, even death on the cross, to call us back to the Father.
The Forgiving Father
Sunday, August 15 – This week we hear Jesus teach one of the most famous parables. We usually title this parable the Prodigal Son. That puts all of the emphasis on us, on our rebellion, and our repentant return to our Father. And there is a second son in this story who is equally at odds with the Father. In both cases the Father acts extravagantly to bring them into the feast he ahs prepared for them. What if the emphasis on this familiar parable was not centered on us, but on the patient forgiveness of the father? Our Father exercises great patience and abundant grace.