Letters to Jesus (Similes, Metaphors & Paradoxes)- 2
Any regular church-goer or Bible-reader has more than a passing familiarity with the parables You related to Your followers. The parable was a vehicle You chose for its simplicity and universality in teaching. I’ve been familiar with them all my life but it never struck me till recently that each fictional individual in the parables is a metaphor for mankind: the debtors, the hired hands, the prodigal son, his father, the Samaritan, the widow, the neighbor, the rich man, the host, the steward, the tax collector, and the maidens; each of them stands for different aspects of mankind’s relationship to God. The general metaphor can easily be narrowed to apply individually since they speak of the universal ebb and flow of our relationship with God. In the parable of the Good Samaritan we see mankind’s inclination to not get involved – an inclination I can individually identify with. But we also see the enormous need to give and receive compassion and overcome the fear of involvement.
All of the parables treat of some aspect of the great commandment to love God and love our neighbor and the stories often reflect how they mesh as in the debtors and their creditors, the rich man, and the host. The stories were simple because what they taught was simple – how we should live. Each is descriptive of some aspect of how it’s supposed to be. I’ve read bunches of philosophy, theology, spiritual and mystical writings, but the parables contain everything we need to know in its simplest most learnable form.
Finally, a point we may miss: though we may regard them as simple teaching tools, they have great depth. This is true of many things that are simple. It is only man who tends to complicate things. The path to our relationship with You is not complicated.