Category Archives: The Parables of Jesus

The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Unjust Steward

by Peter Ditzel

Many people find the Parable of the Unjust Steward in Luke 16 the most difficult of all parables to understand. Why would the steward’s master commend him for stealing money from him? Why would Jesus use the dishonest manager as a positive example? Is the parable saying that we can use unrighteous mammon to do good works so that we can be received into heaven? In this article, I’m going to try to shed some light on this story so that we can see the lesson that Jesus was teaching.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Dragnet

by Peter Ditzel

Jesus spoke the Parable of the Dragnet immediately after the parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price for a reason. These three parables are a triplet. One follows naturally upon the other. The Parable of the Treasure shows us Christ’s love for us in His buying the world in order to get us so that we could be called out of the world. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price shows us Christ’s love toward us in redeeming us from our sins. The Parable of the Dragnet shows the separation between those who are redeemed and those who are not. It is a pretty straightforward parable, and, yet, perhaps not quite so simple as some think.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

by Peter Ditzel

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price is the second of the hidden parables—so-called because Jesus tells them only to His disciples. They are found only in Matthew 13. There are certainly direct similarities between this parable and the Parable of the Hidden Treasure that precedes it. But there are also differences. (For more information, see the previous article in this series, “The Parable of the Hidden Treasure“).

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

by Peter Ditzel

The parable I am going to cover in this article starts what I call the hidden parables. They are the last four parables in Matthew 13. These parables are related to each other, not only because they build off each other, but also because Jesus did not give these parables to the multitudes. Jesus spoke them only to His disciples. We learn this several verses before Jesus actually spoke these parables. Matthew 13:36 says, “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.” Jesus then explained that parable, and we have covered that in, “The Parable of the Tares of the Field.” But then, staying in the house with His disciples, Jesus gave four more parables that were meant only for them. Let’s look at the first of these.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Leaven

by Peter Ditzel

This parable and the Parable of the Mustard Seed are a pair. They tell much the same story, but with somewhat different emphases. Understanding the Parable of the Leaven is very straightforward. In fact, it is so straightforward that it is amazing that most commentators give a wrong interpretation for it. In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus taught that the small, powerful, and simple faith that He planted would grow into a large and corrupt institution. The Parable of the Leaven focuses on the corruption.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Mustard Seed

by Peter Ditzel

The previous parables we have examined in this series centered on the planting of grain. The next two parables we will look at are different. The first one is about a mustard seed that grows into a large tree. The second (which will be discussed in our next installment) is about leaven that leavens the entire three measures of meal. As we study into these parables, we will find that the Bible reveals that their meanings are far different from what most commentators and preachers assume. This means that what you have heard about these parables is probably not what the Bible teaches.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Seed Growing by Itself

by Peter Ditzel

In his children’s book, Frog and Toad Together, Arnold Lobel depicts a toad planting a garden and becoming impatient for the seeds to grow. He is convinced he has to help the seeds along. First, he tells them to start growing. Then, he commands them to grow. Next, he goes out at night and reads them a story. He then sings them songs, reads poetry to them, and then plays them music on his fiddle. Finally, being very tired, he falls asleep. While he is asleep and doing nothing, the seeds sprout from the ground. Unfortunately, the toad doesn’t learn the lesson and concludes that the seeds came up because of all his hard work. I wonder if Arnold Lobel had the Parable of the Seed Growing by Itself in mind when he wrote that story?

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> The Parable of the Tares of the Field

by Peter Ditzel

The Parable of the Tares of the Field appears only in Matthew 13:24-30:

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

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The Parables of Jesus> The Kingdom Parables> Introduction to the Kingdom Parables

by Peter Ditzel

Many books have been written about the parables of Jesus. Some of these books are more helpful than others. Unfortunately, most suffer from one particular problem: They do not truly allow the Bible to interpret itself. Certainly, it can sometimes be interesting and even helpful to discuss the geography and the flora and fauna of the Levant and the social customs of the Jews in Jesus’ day. These things can have their place when talking about the parables. But, as is true whenever we study the Bible, unless we rigorously hold ourselves to biblical exposition, letting the Bible interpret itself, we will miss the intended meaning. It is my prayer that in this series of articles, God will keep me holding firm to Sola Scriptura, the Bible alone.

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