NextLevel Online: Parables

Session 5: Functions

As people heard Jesus tell parables, they saw at once that they weren’t about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. This session covers multiple functions and purposes of parables.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • “Parables sound absolutely ordinary; casual stories about soil and seeds, meals and coins and sheep, bandits and victims, farmers and merchants. And they are wholly secular; of his forty or so parables recorded in the Gospels, only one has its setting in church and only a couple mention the name God. As people heard Jesus tell these stories, they saw at once that they weren’t about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. And then, like a bomb, they would explode in their unprotected hearts. An abyss opened up at their feet. He was talking about God; they had been invaded” (Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor, 32).

  • “They take the mind off the thing they would put their mind on” (Arthurs, 108). “First, stories disarm resistance” (Arthurs, 110).

  • Multiple Functions and Purposes:

    • Like a picture.

    • Like a mirror.

    • Like a window—These first three are from Warren Wiersbe.

    • Like a punchline of a joke or a punch in the gut. Jeffrey Arthurs suggests that we learn how to pass the punch along.

    • Like holy sandpaper.

    • Like an ellipsis (Reference is to Luke 11. It should be Luke 13).

    • Like indirect lighting.

    • Like the point of an arrow in a chiasm.

    • Like seeds planted in soil.

    • Like a political, religious and social subversion.

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.