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Archive for April, 2016

Did Jesus Want To Mystify Others By Talking in Parables?

One may get the wrong impression about God if thinking Jesus desired to be purposely mysterious at times in interacting with others. Does God think we aren’t capable of knowing God fully? Oh how I wish I had the abilities of Nathan to reach those who initially reject the straightforward truth about their actions. King David was knee deep in cover-up mood (2 Sam. 11). David saw Bathsheba, wanted Bathsheba, had Bathsheba, found out Bathsheba was pregnant, brought her husband Uriah back from war to lay with his wife but he wouldn’t, so then David sought to have Uriah killed at war without knowing he was set up by King David.

Nathan would not have gotten anywhere with David telling him directly he had sinned with Bathsheba and he needed to repent. David was not about to admit he had done anything wrong. In his mind this was one big secret that David hoped to take to his grave. So, Nathan told David a story of two people, one with power over the other and how the powerful took advantage of the less power for his own gain. David then pronounced his indignation and judgment on the evil done by the powerful. “Then Nathan said to David. “You are the man!”… (2 Sam 12: 7).  Whoops! Many times we will deny our immoral behavior. We will condemn others for their actions before realizing that our own actions are just as despicable.

Now, we may better understand why Jesus spoke in parables. Jesus’ teachings were not intentionally mysterious as if His ways are not understandable. Jesus would have preferred to not talk in parables but in straightforward ways, but human nature sometimes requires different ways to convince people for their own good. Like with children sometimes, straight talk falls on deaf ears. Parables are a different approach to get to the heart of a matter. Mark 4: 11-12 doesn’t suggest Jesus keeps secrets: “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be every seeing but never perceiving…” Jesus had just said: “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (verse 9). God’s direct message often is only perplexing to one’s heart not the mind.

Jesus used parables to not reveal Himself as the Messiah directly as He didn’t want to limit His ministry before having to accept His fate. Parables also served other purposes with Jesus’ audience. Directness is over-done sometimes. Directness often goes in one ear and out the other. Parables cause us to continually think of a subject to try to understand and eventually accept the application in one’s life. Parables, rather than directness, can stir those that may be interested and simply drive the uninterested away. Sometimes, we cannot understand Jesus’ parables at one point in our life but when open-minded to spiritual matters, we may more readily accept Jesus’ claims to always have our best interest in mind.

Why The Heck Did God Initiate A Relationship With A Bunch Of Laws?

Reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, can be confusing. Sometimes, we forget the Bible is a story with a beginning and a hopeful ending. The Bible is worth reading because it is God’s words to us about what God is really like. I know my wife without her letters explaining herself, but her words can give me deeper insights. Keep in mind though Jesus when leaving this earth didn’t promise to leave us the Bible but His spirit to remember Him (Jn. 14:26). God’s spirit within each individual is more valuable than others’ biblical interpretations.

If one dares to read the OT, it is easy to be totally confused about the “law” stuff. If I want to have a relationship with someone, which God did with us, I am not sure I would introduce myself through laws. Yet, I did the same thing as a parent. In the beginning of the relationship my children weren’t ready to necessarily talk about my eventual dreams – being friends. Can you see their eyes rolling! God didn’t load down Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel, with a bunch of laws but it was necessary in the beginning with a nation full of individuals.

A parent knows fully well a list of does and don’t is not the pathway to a friendship. Parents understand stressing the importance of obedience is necessary for a child’s own good, but these conversations are meant to lead to something greater. A parent doesn’t in the beginning require obedience before they will love their child. God has never demanded adherence to any laws before establishing a relationship. God just loves us like parents love their children at birth. 

We can forget that the Bible is not just a bunch of chapters and verses but a story about God and relationships with those God created. Many passages hint as to why God begin the relationship with laws. Laws help to make us conscious of our sins (Rm. 3:20). Really, the Law is only necessary for lawbreakers and not for those who treat others like they want to be treated (I Tim. 1:9). God perhaps made so much of the laws in the OT as it was the best place to start in a relationship to lead to the eventual knowledge God wanted us to know. I can’t obey even the laws clearly in my best interest. Such failures reveal my need for God’s help and guidance.

God or any parent in the beginning of a relationship somehow seeks to reveal a desire for a friendship and why such a relationship can be in their best interest in the long-run. Such knowledge and understanding often can only come from experiences. Rules in the beginning of a relationship can help lead to the intimacy so badly desired. God felt laws could best lead to the eventual goal. The next time you read the OT and are in the midst of a bunch of confusing laws, don’t think of God as overbearing and complicated but think of God as a parent giving a child what they need to hopefully lead to a shared, joyful relationship.

 

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