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Describe from Luke's Gospel, how Jesus presented his teachings through parables.

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Introduction

Christianity Through a Study of Luke and Acts: Coursework Title 4 Paper 1 A) i) Explain the term 'parable' The word 'parable' comes from the Greek word 'parabole', meaning a comparison or analogy. A parable has also been described as 'an earthly story with a heavenly meaning'. Some of Jesus' parables are comparisons as they compare what is known and familiar on earth with the Kingdom of God, which is spiritual and less familiar. For example, in a parable in Luke 13:20 Jesus says 'The Kingdom of God is like...a woman who takes some yeast.' In this way, from the Bible, one can deduce parables are stories that convey teaching and is usually based on everyday life. A parable usually has one key teaching that the listener has to work out, which is why Jesus often used them in His teaching. ii) Describe from Luke's Gospel, how Jesus presented his teachings through parables. Jesus often used has parables in His teaching and 90% of His teaching recorded in Luke are in the form of parables. At one stage, it was said of Jesus, 'He would not speak to them without using parables'. He used parables to convey his teachings because people liked to listen to stories, and so, were attentive when he preached. Parables are also memorable and He wanted His listeners to remember the teachings behind the stories and provoke a response from them. This encouraged them to think for themselves and once they had worked out the meaning, they were more likely to remember it. ...read more.

Middle

And when he does "there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent". The parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) also was important for revealing the love of God. The father, who represents God the Father, forgives his son who squanders all his father's money away, living a reckless life, while his older brother stays at home, working for his father. When the reckless son returns home with a repentant heart, the father welcomes him with arms and reinstates him into the family, treating him like a guest of honour. This 'lost' son represents sinners and gentiles, while the hard-working son impersonates godly people or Israel. As most of the people who challenged Jesus' teaches were Jewish Pharisees, they would have been particularly against this teaching as in the parable the father divided his money equally between to two sons, suggesting the Kingdom of Heaven belongs equally to sinners as to Israel. b) Describe the meaning and relevance of parables to the belief and life of Christians today. Parables have a significant meaning and relevance to today's Christians as they still convey the teachings of Jesus about the Kingdom of God, Love for one another and the importance of prayer. Although based on life 2000 years ago, they can still be related to today. As in the days of Jesus people like to listen to stories and parables are today as then, received well be the people listening. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most importantly, the relevance of parables comes through in the teaching about the future of the Kingdom of God, and that which is yet to come. The parable of 'The Narrow Door', we are told to make every effort to enter through 'the narrow door' because the day will come that ' the master of the house will get up and close the door' and entry will no longer be possible. The possibility of not making it into the Kingdom of God is a something Christians should keep at the forefront of their minds as they seek to please God. We know parables still have some worth as 'The Good Samaritan' still answers the question 'who is my neighbour?' and people can still relate to the feelings of the elder son in the parable of 'The Prodigal Son'. Parables can act as guidelines and so be applied to present day problems. And with some effort some of them can easily adapted to the modern world as many have been. Even parables do not relate to the physical world today, they still do relate to the spiritual world. They still teach Christians, old and new, about the Kingdom and God's love for them. Today's society may be non-religious, but some parables are not just about Christianity but humanity in general. 'The Good Samaritan', instructs not only on how to be a good Christian but also, how to be a neighbourly human being. The teachings of Jesus, about our neighbours and outcasts, through parables make not only a good foundation for Christian communities, but for any society. Victoria Adewole Religious Studies Coursework 2001 Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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