by Kenneth C. Kroohs

Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:7-14; Philippians 3:14-21; Matthew 21:33- 43
October 03, 1999

Some of the most enjoyable and best known Gospel readings are told through the parable literary style. Jesus must have believed that this form of teaching was effective because He used it a lot! And that fact that we remember the parables so easily suggests Jesus was correct.

However we face two very real dangers when studying the parables. On the one hand, it is very easy to over analyze them. To say that this character represents these specific people in today's society ... this event corresponds exactly with that event, and so on. Parables are not meant to be understood so precisely. They are to be understood at a more general level. Another way of saying that is that the parable might have a certain understanding today ... but tomorrow there could be other teachings found in it.

Which points us toward the second danger -- to under analyze the parables. Too often we see the immediate teaching and miss the full depth and wonder of the parable.

This morning it helps to see the entire passage in context. Matthew says this happened during Holy Week ... after Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday ... triumphant ... cheered ... leading a crowd. That concerned the temple's chief priests and elders! Jesus threatened some of their power and authority. So -- they decided to challenge Jesus ... challenge Him publicly. They wanted to show Jesus up so the crowds would abandon Him.

Bad move! Not only does Jesus avoid being shown up .. Jesus makes them look like fools! Jesus twists their challenges around until the chief priests and elders come out looking bad. They look so bad that Matthew follows this passage with the explanation that "When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard the parables they perceived that He was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest Him, t ...

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