Journal of Biblical Ministry, Spring 2010

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Journal of Biblical Ministry

Spring 2010

Journal of Biblical … Ministry Spring, 2010

A journal to support and encourage those in ministry by providing studies in biblical texts with application for practical ministry CONTENTS Introduction, Dr. James Flanagan ................................................................................ 2 Articles: • I Love A Mystery! Interpretive Guidelines for the Parables of Matthew 13 Dr. J. M. Kinnebrew ........................................................................................... 3 • The Kingdom Parables of Matthew 13: Their Context and Function, Dr. Brad Arnett ................................................................................................... 14 • Why Jesus Taught with Parables, Dr. Benjamin Cocar ..................................... 24 • The Purpose of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Rev. Hal M. Haller, Jr., ...................................................................................... 34 • The “Feel” of Biblical Narrative Literature, Dr. Tony Guthrie .............................. 55 • Lessons about Pastoral Care from the Parable of Luke 15, Dr. Ronald E. Cobb ........................................................................................... 60 • The Use of Parables in the Old Testament , Dr. H. David Phillips ...................... 65 • Parables and Pedagogy, Marcia Bost ................................................................ 74 Guest Author: The Surety of the Resurrection of Christ and Those Who Are in Him, Dr. Steven L. Cox .............................................................................................. 82

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE By James L. Flanagan, Ph.D. President We’re delighted to present to you the second edition of Luther Rice Seminary and University’s Journal for Biblical Ministries. This journal has been established by our faculty with the intent of helping you fulfill the ministry God has given you in many different contexts. The bulk of this edition is dedicated to a topic that thousands of Southern Baptist churches will be studying this year: The Parables of Jesus. In addition to articles on specific parables, you will find corollary articles regarding the use of story in the ministry of teaching/preaching, the importance of “feeling” the biblical narrative, the real reason Christ used parables, and the Old Testament background for such a use. We are also happy to have an important article from guest writer, Dr. Stephen Cox. Dr. Cox, formerly Assistant Professor of New Testament here at Luther Rice, is now on the faculty of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. His article on the resurrection of Christ is one that you will want to read and share with others. It has been our joy to research and write what follows. I pray it will be a blessing to you. The publishing of this journal is a new endeavor for Luther Rice, and we welcome your comments and constructive criticism. Our mission is to help you become the best leader and minister for Christ that you can possibly be. If you know of a way to make this journal more effective to that end, please let us know. Now turn the page, read, enjoy, learn, and “teach others also” (2 Tim 2.2)!

James L. Flanagan, Ph.D. President, CEO Luther Rice Seminary & University

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I Love A Mystery! Interpretive Guidelines For The Parables of Matthew 13 J. M. Kinnebrew, Ph.D. Prof. of Theology VP for Academic Affairs

Introduction A rarely noticed phenomenon of Scripture is that the apostles of Christ never used story telling as a method of instruction either in their epistles or in their recorded sermons. This is all the more striking since “parables comprise more than one-third of the recorded teachings of Jesus.”1 Of course, parables were not invented by Jesus. There are instances of them in the OT as well as among the rabbinical, and even pagan, literatures2. However, no rabbi or prophet ever used this teaching device as effectively as Jesus, even though (for reasons noted below) He waited until sometime in the second year of His three-year teaching career to adopt its use. Because of their figurative nature, parables have afforded the interpreter with unlimited opportunity for fanciful and erroneous pronouncements. This article addresses the interpretation of the “mystery parables” of Matthew 13 (also found in Mark 4 and partially in Luke 8). To begin, the article makes note of the central place that the kingdom of God holds in the teaching of Jesus. Second, mention is made of the various ways in which the Bible speaks of the kingdom of God. Third, Jesus’ reference to the “mysteries of the kingdom” is discussed in relation to how the interpreter should understand the parables of 1

Neil R. Lightfoot, Lessons from the Parables (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1965), 13.

2

2 Sam 12.1-13, though not called a parable (Heb. mashal), has every distinction of being one. See also 2 Sam 14.5-l3; I Ki 20.39-42; Isa 5.1-7; 28.21-29; Ezek 17.1-24; 19.1-14; 20.45-49; and 24.3-14. For extra-biblical examples, see R.C. Trench, Notes on the Parables of Our Lord (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1986), 21-26 and “Rabbinic Parables,” http://virtualreligion.net/iho/parable.html (accessed online 11.13.2009).

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Matthew 13. Finally, some interpretive guidelines are deduced from the historical and literary contexts of the parables. The Kingdom Is the Key According to Roy Zuck, all of Jesus’ parables “refer in some way to the kingdom of God.”3 That should come as no surprise. After all, Jesus’ ministry--like that of His forerunner--started with the proclamation that the kingdom of God had come (Mt 3.2; 4.17). Jesus was “born King of the Jews” (Mt. 2.2)4, and after only a few years of ministry He died “King of the Jews” (Mt. 27.37)—the long anticipated kingdom apparently doomed from the outset. That was--and for many still is--a very troubling thing. As a matter of fact, one great reason modern-day Jews give for rejecting the messianic claims of Jesus of Nazareth is simply this: When Messiah comes the kingdom of God will come. The kingdom of God has obviously not come (just look around), so it is impossible for Messiah to have arrived.5 A “mystery,” . . . is some truth

Which Kingdom?

that has been hidden from mankind in ages past but is now

To understand this dilemma, we must first recognize that the kingdom of God (usually called “the kingdom of heaven” by Matthew)6 is presented by the writers of Scripture in at least two different senses: 1. God’s unrestricted, eternal reign over all creation (Ps 103.19; Dan 4.34-35; etc.)

3

Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation (Wheaton: Victor, 1991), 204.

4

All Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).

5

“To the Christian, the Jew is the stubborn fellow who in a redeemed world is still waiting for the Messiah. For the Jew the Christian is a heedless fellow who in an unredeemed world affirms that somehow or other redemption has taken place.” Martin Buber, quoted by Reinhold Niebuhr, “Martin Buber: 1878-1965,” Christianity and Crisis, July 12, 1965, 146. 6

Likely in deference to the regard he and his Jewish readers had to the unspeakable Name. However, Matthew departs from his custom and refers to the “kingdom of God” five times (6.33; 12.28; 19.24; 21.31, 43), indicating that the two terms are interchangeable.

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2. God’s localized, temporal reign over all the earth from Jerusalem (2 Sam 7.1216; Ps 2.6; Is 2.3; 9.6; Lk 1.32-33; etc.)7 When Jesus came announcing the kingdom of God was “at hand,” He most assuredly meant the kingdom in the second sense noted above. There would be no reason to announce that the kingdom in its unrestricted and eternal aspects had come, for there was never a time when the kingdom in that regard was not functioning or “at hand.” Moreover, the localized, political kingdom is what all His hearers were expecting and would have understood Him to be proclaiming. If he had meant something else, He certainly would have told them. He never did.

It is certain that Jesus’ followers believed He had come to establish the localized, temporal kingdom of God on earth. After all, their Master had taught them to pray for that phase of the kingdom, they often jockeyed with one another to gain the best position in it, and even after the resurrection they anticipated its restoration to Israel (Mt 6.10; Lk 22.24; Acts 1.6). Nor was their expectation uninformed, as is sometimes supposed. The wrongheadedness of such a supposition is seen in the fact that Jesus dubbed his newly instructed disciples (undoubtedly with a generosity most seminary students would wish from their professors) “scribe[s] instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 13.52). Why then, given Jesus’ favorable characterization, would commentators many centuries removed from the occasion charge the disciples with a carnal “prejudice in favor of erroneous opinions”?8 It seems that the disciples’ critics have never noticed that when they asked their much maligned question, “will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” they had just undergone forty days of personal training from Jesus in “things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1.3, 6). Would they have emerged from such a seminar with concepts wildly at variance with what the Master Teacher had been teaching them for a month and ten days? It is worth noting that Jesus did not rebuke or correct them, but answered their question with the needed reminder that kingdom scheduling was His 7

See Lehman Strauss, Prophetic Mysteries Revealed (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros., 1980), 18. Cf. the five “aspects” of the kingdom discussed by James M. Gray, Synthetic Bible Studies, Revised and Enlarged edition (NY: Fleming H. Revell, 1923), 196-97 for a more precise and specific delineation. 8

Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Old and New Testaments, edited by Robert F. Frew (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1949), 19:4.

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business; bringing the Good News to the entire world would be enough to keep them and their descendants busy until the end (Acts 1.7-8)! The Rejection of the King So, when Jesus began teaching about the kingdom, it was the visible, earthly reign of God that He was offering the nation Israel. As this offer was continually extended and repeatedly rejected, however (see Dr. Arnett’s article), it became apparent that if the kingdom were to be experienced on earth at this time it would have to take another form. The earthly kingdom without the King on earth was impossible, and the rejection of the King by His earthly people was impending. This is why Jesus began to teach in parables (cf. Dr. Cocar’s article). In doing so, those who “had ears to hear” could be instructed in a third, and hitherto unrevealed, aspect of the kingdom: the kingdom in its “mystery” form. As Christ Himself explained, “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 13.11). The Meaning of the Mystery A “mystery,” in NT parlance, is not an enigma or insoluble problem. Rather, it is some truth that has been hidden from mankind in ages past but is now unveiled by NT revelation. This is clearly Paul’s understanding in Eph 3.3-5, where he says, “By revelation He made known to me the mystery . . . which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.”9 When Jesus referred to the “mysteries of the kingdom” that were being revealed to His disciples, He was telling them that they were hearing for the first time—and before anyone else—some new things about the kingdom of God. Things unknown even to the OT prophets who wrote so extensively about the coming reign of God. Jesus’ beatitude makes this plain, “Blessed are your eyes . . . and your ears . . . for many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Mt 13.16.17). Nor was this blessing lost to the disciples. One of them wrote later in terms that show how all NT believers are 9

Many NT doctrines are designated “mysteries” in this sense (e.g., Rom 11.25; 1 Cor 15.51; Eph 3.6; 5.32; 6.19; Col 1.26-27; 2 Thes 2.7; 1 Tim 3.9, 16).

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blessed with a knowledge that extends beyond that obtained by the likes of David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even the holy angels (1 Pet 1.10-12)! Peter asserts that those OT scribes who wrote of “the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Pet 1.11) could not comprehend the rejection and the reign of Christ. Understandably, the two events seemed mutually exclusive. Nor did they foresee the changing form of the kingdom that would come as a response to Christ’s rejection and as a prelude to His reign. This change was, as Jesus said, a “mystery,” a hidden truth only now revealed. A striking indication that Jesus’ parables were meant to reveal such a change in the kingdom program is the verb that He used to introduce the second parable in Matthew 13. Literally rendered, verse 24 would read, “The kingdom of heaven has become like [Grk. homoiothe--aorist, passive, indicative, 3rd pers., sing.].” The other parables (except for the first, which has no introduction) are introduced with the simple adjective homoia and are properly rendered “the kingdom of heaven is like." This change off vocabulary makes sense. Once Christ has told them that the kingdom has already been made to “become like” something hitherto unexpected (because hitherto unrevealed),10 He can understandably say the kingdom, from that point on, “is like” whatever follows. Another indication that there was “something new afoot” is found in the final parable (Mt 13.51-53). After having been assured by the disciples that they understood “all these things,” Jesus compares them to a householder who brings to his family “things new [the just conveyed mysteries] and old [the still relevant OT teachings].” In this way, Jesus communicates to these “scribes” that they are now “disciples of the kingdom” and that they have been entrusted with a stewardship not previously given to any others. One final point should be made regarding the proposed “mystery form” of the kingdom, and that has to do with its chronology. Charles Ryrie, noting the previously mentioned 10

The concepts of a postponed kingdom, a change in the program, a possibility of Israel’s accepting Christ during His first advent, etc. raise questions regarding omniscience, salvation, sovereignty, etc. that are beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that the terms used herein are anthropomorphic and are not meant to imply that God was ever surprised or had to change His mind about anything. On the other hand, Christ’s offer of the kingdom was valid and Israel’s rejection of Christ was wholly hers (she could have done otherwise). Had she received Christ, the cross would have still happened, but without the murderous intrigue and guilt (cf. Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Isaac as a suggested model of what might have happened). Further, praying people should not be offended by the thought that God responds to the actions, good or bad, of man. The whole history of salvation is a record of God’s response to man.

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rendering of verse 24—“the kingdom of heaven has become like,” concluded that the kingdom of heaven was “assuming the form described in the parables at that time when Christ was personally ministering on the earth.”11 This, then, marks the beginning of the mystery form of the kingdom—it started prior to the crucifixion of Christ; but what marks its end? Again, Ryrie speaks, “The end of the time period covered by these parables is indicated by the phrase ‘end of the world’ or more literally ‘consummation of the age’ (verses 39-49). This is the Second Advent of Christ when He shall come in power and great glory.”12 “How Then Will You Understand All the Parables?”13 Assuming the validity of what has been said above, what do the mysteries of the kingdom expressed in the parables of Matthew 13 reveal about the current and coming kingdom of God? A verse-by-verse commentary on the eight parables is far beyond the scope of this article, but a brief delineation of interpretive guidelines may be helpful. As one seeks to understand these parables, the following observations are suggestive of a proper path: 1. Jesus Provided a Paradigm—In Mark’s account, when the disciples expressed their need for an interpretation of the parable of the soils, Jesus asked, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” He then immediately provided the interpretation to the first of His parables (Mk 4.1320). This suggests that the parable of the soils was set forth as a key to the other stories in the series. So Jesus, in interpreting the first parable, offers a template that can be applied to the interpretation of the others. What does that template reveal?

11

Since Jesus gives meaning to several different components of the parable (the seed, the birds, the four different soils, the scorching sun, etc.), we should not be surprised to find more than one symbolic component in the parables that follow. Nor should we be embarrassed to follow Jesus’ lead in our own interpretations.

Charles Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953),

94-95. 12

Ibid. For an alternate view that sees all of these parables referring only to the future millennial reign, see Ronald N. Glass, “The Parables of the Kingdom: A Paradigm for Consistent Dispensationalism” in Michael Bauman and David Hall, eds. Evangelical Hermeneutics (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1995), 147-89. 13

Mark 4.13.

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Since Jesus singled out for meaning certain emblems in the first parable that He knew He would use in the others (e.g., the birds who pluck seed from the wayside and the birds who gather in the mustard tree), it is reasonable to impute to those symbols the meaning previously assigned if no other meaning is given in the text. This is especially the case if, as asserted above, Jesus intended for His interpretation of the one parable to provide a key to the others.

From the previous observation, it is a small—if not as certain—step to assume that symbols for which the meaning was already well known, either from OT usage or from the Master’s other conversations with His disciples, would have been understood to have the same well known sense in these parables unless that sense was disavowed by Jesus (e.g., symbols like the leaven, the treasure, etc.)

2. Jesus Defined the Parameters—As mentioned above, the time covered by these parables extends from the days that the national leaders sealed their fate with a final rejection of Jesus’ Messiahship until the time of His Second Coming at “the end of the age” (13.24, 39). During this time period “the kingdom of heaven has become like” what Jesus described in His parables (13.24). •

This time period includes the church age (from Pentecost to the Rapture), but it is not identical to that age, for it began prior to the crucifixion and will not end until after the tribulation.

“Thus these parables do not primarily concern the nature, function, and influence of the church. Rather, they show the hitherto unrevealed form in which God’s theocratic rule would be exerted in a previously unrevealed age necessitated by Israel’s rejection of Christ.”14

3. Jesus Affirmed a Division—In Matthew’s account (see also Mk 4.33-34), Jesus spoke first to the multitude of people, sharing with them the parable of the soils (vss. 3-9),15 the parable of the tares (vss. 24-30), the parable of the mustard seed (vss. 31-32), and the parable of the leaven (vss. 33-34). After that, He “sent the multitude away” (vs. 36) and spoke to His disciples a private interpretation of the parable of the tares (vss. 36-43), the parable of the hidden treasure (vs. 44), the parable of the pearl of great price (vss. 45-46), the parable of the dragnet (vss. 47-50), and the parable of the householder (vss. 51-53). 14

J. Dwight Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ: A Study of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 214. 15

Apparently sharing the interpretation only with His disciples (vss. 10-23).

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This division of His audience may indicate a division of the parables into two groups—four spoken to all (some of whom had “ears to hear” and some who didn’t16) and four spoken to the disciples, who having heard the parables and their interpretation, became “scribe[s] instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven” (vs. 52a).

This division of the parables into two categories is further signified when Jesus speaks of the parables’ teachings as “things new and old” that the disciples would bring forth in their future mission (vs. 52b).

4. Jesus Affirmed a Unity—When He had finished sharing these parables with His disciples, Jesus asked them if they had understood “all these things.” (13.51). Only when they answered “Yes” did He consider them “instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven.” •

If one is to understand the meaning of any of these parables, he must understand “all” of the parables.

None of the parables should be considered as “stand alone” creations. Rather, they are each an important piece of a grand mosaic.

The interpretation of one parable must harmonize with all the other parables. If the interpretation of one parable contradicts the interpretation of another parable, one or the other interpretation (or both) is wrong.

5. Matthew Provided a Context—As described above, these parables were spoken in the context of Jesus’ kingdom offer to Israel. The kingdom and kingship of Jesus is the major theme of the Gospel of Matthew. That Gospel presents its readers with: • •

The Confirming Genealogy of the King (1.1-17) The Coming and Recognition of the King (2.1-3.12) o By the Magi o By the Messenger The Confirmation of the King (3.13-4.11) o Through His Baptism in Jordan’s Waters

16

A double advantage of this form of teaching among those not inclined to “hear” is that it is cryptic enough to relieve them of the accountability required for rejecting clearly revealed truth and yet memorable enough to be retained and continue its convicting work with the hope that they should later want to hear and be saved. Every time they passed a field, a sower, or a mustard plant, they would be reminded of “that rabbi’s strange story” and perhaps begin to wonder what it really meant.

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• •

• •

o Through His Battle in the Judean Wilderness The Constitution of the Kingdom (5-7) The Conquests of the King (8) o Over Disease o Over Disturbances o Over Demons The Controversies over the King (9) o Over Claiming to Forgive Sins o Over Eating with Sinners o Over Failing to Fast The Commissioning of the King’s Heralds (10) The Conflicts of the King with Israel (11-12) o They Rejected His Messenger (11.2-19) o They Rejected His Miracles (11.20-24) o They Rejected His Mercy (12.1-13) o They Rejected His Messianic Credentials (12.14-45)

It is at this point in Matthew’s presentation (and at this point in real time—as verse one says, “on the same day”) that the parables are given.

“How can the kingdom proceed if the nation to whom it was promised rejects the King?”

Perhaps in a move that was as parabolic as His words, Jesus “went out of the house” and sat in a boat to address the crowd from a position that symbolized the mutual rejection of National Israel and her Christ (13.1-2)—her rejection of Him and His consequent (though temporary) rejection of her.17 This context helps the reader to know that the parables were spoken to meet a particular historic need. That need was to answer the question that was most certainly in the disciples’ minds that very day: “How can the kingdom proceed if the nation to whom it was promised rejects the King?” Any interpretation of these parables must provide an answer to this most important question. If the interpre-

17

Other indications that Jesus had finally set aside any hope of the nation at large receiving the kingdom are seen in: (1) His condemnation of the large cities and His invitation to any individual who would still “come” and “learn of me”(11.28-30); (2) His warning to the leaders regarding their blasphemy of the Spirit (12.31-37); (3) His refusal to work any more miraculous signs for the leaders (12.38-45); and (4) His disavowal of fleshly relations but confirmation of kinship to “whoever does the will of My Father” (12.46-50).

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tation would not have met the need of the first-century hearers, it is suspect for twenty-first century readers. 6. Jesus Said There Are New Things Here—If one’s interpretation of the parables provides only moral truisms (like “good will always win out”) or things already revealed in the OT revelation (like “one day the kingdom of God will take over the whole world”), then that interpretation has missed the mark, for Jesus spoke of “mysteries.”

As a collection of “mysteries,” there are things here that could not have been discovered through mere observation

As a collection of “mysteries,” there are even things here that cannot be found in the divinely inspired revelation of the OT

Surveying one’s interpretation of the whole series of parables, the question must be asked (and answered in the affirmative), “Is there anything here that, until that very day when Jesus spoke, had been ‘kept secret from the foundation of the world’” (13.35)?

7. Jesus Said There Are Old Things Here Too—If one’s interpretation of these parables somehow does away with the kingdom promises of the OT and the literal earthly reign of Messiah, it misses the mark as well. Jesus is still destined to sit on the throne of His ancestor David and reign over the house of Jacob forever (Lk 1.32-33). •

Based as it is on an unconditional covenant of God, the kingdom on earth cannot be forever set aside because of one generation’s unbelief. The “Greater than Solomon” will reign from David’s throne.

The “things old” predicted by the prophets of Israel should still be brought forth as truth when a “scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven” comes to the table to feed his people. To dish out the new and leave the old in the storehouse is to neglect one’s stewardship and rule over a malnourished house. CONCLUSION

“No man ever spoke like this man,” said the officers who were sent to arrest Jesus (John 7.46). Indeed it was true. The One called the Logos was a Master of the spoken word. No “politician,” Jesus spoke plainly and with a sometimes painful honesty. When

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He announced the coming of His kingdom, He made it very clear that repentant hearts were required of all who would be its subjects. This was not a welcome message among people who were externally religious but internally depraved. Their resistance to the King became more and more apparent, culminating at last in a blasphemous denial of the miracle-working Spirit’s conviction. Having “insulted the Spirit of Grace” (Heb 10.29), the leaders of the nation tragically forfeited the kingdom for their entire generation. This episode in Israel’s history is a reminder of the awful responsibility borne by a nation’s leaders. Those who rule in opposition to the righteousness of God will most certainly be judged, and the nation ruled by such will inevitably suffer. But individual citizens have a responsibility of their own, and God still allows them to choose to follow Him. Despite the official opposition of Israel, the offer of the kingdom was not completely withdrawn. Instead, the kingdom would now appear in a “mystery” form not previously revealed. The parables of Matthew 13 are dedicated to a description of that “mystery” form of the kingdom. Led by the example of Jesus and contextual clues in the inspired record, contemporary interpreters have all they need to discover the truths behind “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (13.11). May this writer and the reader delve into these important stories, heeding the admonition of Jesus (13.9): “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

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The Kingdom Parables of Matthew 13: Their Context and Function Brad Arnett, Ph.D. Associate Professor of New Testament Chair of the Department of Biblical Studies INTRODUCTION Critical to the interpretation of any biblical passage is its context. The Kingdom Parables of Matthew 13 are no exception.1 While a reader cannot know for certain the historical occasion of the giving of these parables, one can observe how Matthew incorporated them into his gospel and conclude that his placement of the parables in the story line of the gospel was important to him and most likely was reflective of the historical situation. This paper will attempt to highlight the context of the parables of Matthew 13 in an effort to better understand their function in the story. The methodology employed here is narrative criticism, though not a strict application of it. Attention is given to plot development and the interactions between characters as features leading up to the giving of the parables of Matthew 13. An interesting question of Matthew 13 is that asked by Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” (Mt 13:10).2 Jesus’ answer indicates the reason, purpose, and function of the parables.3 The disciples were privy to the “mysteries of the kingdom” but the general populace was not, and he drew a strong contrast between the two groups (13:11-17). On first blush, Jesus seems harsh to the modern reader. Where is the meek and lowly Jesus? Does Jesus not want everyone to have access to the truths of the kingdom? Why would he conceal any information from anyone?

1

These are commonly called Kingdom Parables because they teach truths about the Kingdom of God. The discourse in Matthew is also known as the Parabolic Discourse. 2

Unless otherwise noted, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001) will be used in this paper. 3

See the related article by Dr. Cocar in this issue.

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Perhaps one would do well to consider the context closely. In this case, the context is primarily the material—several chapters worth—preceding this unit. Matthew, after all, is a story, and unless the reader has in mind what has been occurring up to this point in the story, he or she may very well misunderstand the message. The overarching and driving question of this study is similar to the question the disciples posed. What was the function of the parables of Matthew 13 in light of Matthew’s plot? To answer this question, one must determine the context of the occasion. The Setting of the Kingdom Parables Three features of the story leading up to the giving of the parables in Matthew 13 are important for determining the function of the parables. Moving the plot forward are three main characters; they are The themes of indeciJesus, the authorities (functioning as a single character), and the crowds (also functioning as a sion and opposition 4 single character). Other characters, such as John flow like two indethe Baptist and Jesus’ disciples, also appear and pendent streams . . . support the plot development, but Matthew gives crashing into a more attention to Jesus, the authorities, and the watershed moment in crowds in chapters eleven and twelve. chapter thirteen. The two groups—the authorities and the crowds—each have primary functions. The authorities oppose Jesus; they seek opportunities to shame Him and, in 12:14, begin to seek to destroy Him. The careful reader recognizes their increasing opposition against Jesus. The other group—the crowds—form a very important but often overlooked feature: indecision. The persistent indecision of the crowds serves as the backdrop for the events in the text. That theme of indecision which is the main feature of Matthew 11 will be treated first, and then the theme of the opposition of the authorities, which is the main feature of Matthew 12, will be explored. Finally, the paper will address the responses of Jesus to both groups throughout Matthew 11-13. The themes of indecision and opposition flow like two independent streams in chapters eleven and twelve, merging in the latter part of chapter twelve and crashing into a watershed moment in chapter thirteen. 4

The authorities include ‘scribes’ and ‘Pharisees’ (9:3, 11; 12:14, 38). Matthew seems to use ‘crowds’ to include all of the people who are witnessing these events (9:8, 33, 36; 11:7; 13:2, 34). For more on characters and plot in Gospel studies, see David Rhoads, Mark as Story, 2d ed. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1999) and Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, In the Company of Jesus: Characters in Mark’s Gospel (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 2000).

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Indecision of the Crowds Jesus encounters multiple significant questions about his identity and movement throughout chapter 11.5 Matthew shows his readers that many questions surrounded the ministry of Jesus. The chapter begins with John the Baptist asking the question, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (11:2). John’s question should be seen as an indicator of the circulating questions about Jesus. Notice the first person plural “we” in the question. John represents not only himself, but his disciples, and Israel as a whole. The people are wondering who this Jesus is. Instead of answering John with an outright, “Yes, I am the one,” Jesus answers with a series of indicators that He is indeed the one. The response calls for a decision based not on a statement but on demonstrable proofs.6 At the end of his list, Jesus adds a foreshadowing phrase, “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (11:6). Offenses and opposition are commencing in the story line. After His interchange with John the Baptist, Jesus asks the crowd a series of questions about John. They are rhetorical questions, meant to elicit a commitment instead of a mere answer. Jesus voices publicly the very questions the crowds were asking privately. The crowds were indecisive about John, too. This message to the crowds serves as an integral part and sets the topic of discussion for the rest of the chapter and punctuates the theme of indecision that extends to the giving of the parables in chapter thirteen. Chapter eleven is about the questions circulating about Jesus and his following. Jesus begins to force the crowd to make a decision about Him. In this instance, the push for a decision took the form of querying the crowds on the identity of John the Baptist. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What

5

The questioning starts well before this point in the narrative. In 8:27, His disciples ask, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” In 9:14, John’s disciples ask, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” In chapter 11 the questions seem to become more dominant in the narrative. 6

The demonstrable proof of Jesus’ Messianic status becomes heightened in chapter twelve and forms a key component to the thesis of this paper.

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then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet (Mt. 11:7-9). After Jesus questions the crowd on the identity of John the Baptist and proclaims that he was truly the Elijah figure, He gave an interesting and difficult illustration of His generation. Jesus compares the people of his day to children sitting in a public market, calling out,7 “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn” (11:17). The image is not entirely clear to modern readers, and commentators cannot agree on the referents of the image.8 Yet the main point, either way, is that Jesus and John do not satisfy their generation’s expectations (11:18-19). In context Jesus and John could be either the ones piping and singing or the ones who neither dance nor mourn. The main idea remains; “this generation” cannot be satisfied. Jesus and John do not do what the people want. They follow their own agenda and get criticized for it. Some, presumably the authorities, say that John has a demon and Jesus is a drunkard. Such dishonoring comments are circulating among the people, and Jesus addresses them here. He points out the irony that they are inconsistent in their assessments, and yet, they are consistent in their dissatisfaction and rejection of both Jesus and His forerunner. At risk here are the crowds who have not yet made such conclusions. For them, the verdict is still out on Jesus and John. By identifying and publicly denouncing the unjustified conclusions that some in “this generation” made, Jesus leads the crowds in making the right conclusions. The undecided are being moved toward a decision.

7

Here the ESV and other translations (KJV, NKJV) provide an interpretation. A more literal translation allows for the children to be calling out to each other but does not demand it: “. . . and calling out to others” (so NIV, TNIV; Greek, τοῖς ἑτέροις). The “others” could be anyone, not necessarily children. NASB has “who call out to the other children,” which is also interpretive (emphasis original, which means at least the reader can tell “children” is not the underlying word). 8

The text does not make clear the antecedent of the first person plural subject of 11:17. Is it Jesus and John who are piping the flute and singing? Or is it the children in the marketplace who are piping and singing? Furthermore, the performers’ audiences are not clear. Who does not dance to the piping? Who does not mourn at the dirge? Some commentators see the pipers and singers as Jesus and John to an unresponsive generation (e.g., Craig Blomberg, Matthew, New American Commentary [Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1992], 189-90). Others see “this generation” as the pipers and singers to an unresponsive Jesus and John (e.g., Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999], 218). This latter view seems best.

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The indecision of the crowds is highlighted in the next unit where Jesus denounced the cities of Galilee, Chorazin, and Bethsaida. Interestingly, Jesus did not condemn the cities for opposing him, but for their lack of repentance at the demonstration of his works of power (11:20-21). The rebuke gives way to a call for decision (11:25-30), which will be treated later. Indecision in light of Jesus’ miracles is a decision against repentance.9 The indecision of the crowds comes to a climactic point in 12:23 with a question. “And all the people were amazed, and said, ‘Can this be the Son of David?’” This question occurs in response to Jesus’ healing of a man who was demon-possessed, blind, and mute. The authorities do not approve of the crowds speculating such things and initiate a strong reaction. Now that the thematic backdrop to the interchanges in chapters 11-13 has been established, the authorities’ opposition to Jesus may be treated. Increasing Opposition from the Authorities If chapter eleven is about indecision, chapter twelve is certainly about opposition. Against the backdrop of the crowd’s indecision are the stark contrast with the authorities’ improper conclusions about Jesus and their drive to have him shamed and destroyed (12:2, 14). To be sure, precursors of this opposition begin early in chapter nine and build through chapters nine and ten. Jesus recognizes A comparison of Matthew 9 and Matthew 12 is fascinating, as and prepares for some of the same phraseology occurs in both chapters. For exthe building opample, Jesus is accused of blasphemy in 9:3. Later, in 12:31-32, position. Jesus warns the crowds, and especially the Pharisees, of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Jesus “knows their thoughts” in both 9:4 and 12:25. In 9:27, two blind men address Jesus as the ‘Son of David,’ and in 12:23 the crowds wonder if Jesus is the ‘Son of David.’ And in both chapters the Pharisees say, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons” (9:34) and “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons” (12:24). Both accusations follow the healing of a demon-possessed man who was mute (9:32-33; 12:22-24, the second man was also blind). These remarkable similarities tie the two chapters together and reinforce the theme of opposition that develops in chapters nine through twelve. Jesus recognizes and prepares for the building opposition in His instructions to the twelve disciples as they are about to be sent on their first mission (10:1-42). Several key 9

“Opportunity and privilege bring responsibility.” John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 467.

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verses point to His expectation of rejection and persecution. For example, Jesus says to them, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (10:16); “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (10:22); and “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (10:34). Another verse connects uniquely with chapter nine and twelve because of the reference to Beelzebul: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (10:25). Matthew 11 does not highlight the opposition theme, but the opposition reappears with a vengeance in Matthew 12 as Jesus comes under scrutiny for his Sabbath observance, or non-observance as it may be. In 12:1-8, the Pharisees challenge Jesus for allowing His disciples to pick and eat grain on the Sabbath. Jesus responds by defending His disciples with three references to the Old Testament. His first citation is from an occasion in the life of David when David and his men were hungry and ate the consecrated temple bread meant for the priests alone (1 Sm 21:1-6). Next, Jesus cites “the Law” that specifies the priests are to work on the Sabbath (e.g., Nm 28:9-10). Finally, Jesus cites the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (6:6). So, in His defense, and in defense of His disciples, Jesus referenced applicable Old Testament accounts of a king, a priest, and a prophet. His answer to the authorities illustrated His personal prerogative to abrogate the Sabbath restrictions, especially in special circumstances: “For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath” (12:8).10 Jesus next enters a synagogue where a man with a withered hand is present (12:9-21). Seeking a way to accuse Jesus, “they” query Him about healing on the Sabbath. The nearest antecedent to “they” is the Pharisees of the previous unit. Jesus responds by comparing the value of a man to a sheep, since His accusers would naturally help a sheep on the Sabbath. He points out the glaring weakness of their interpretation of the Sabbath laws. They value animals (especially their own) more than they value people. Such a valuation is improper. What happens as a result of the interchange? Jesus does good on the Sabbath and restores the man’s hand; the Pharisees go out and conspire to have a man (Jesus) destroyed. Who’s behaving lawfully? The next instance of the increasing opposition occurs in 12:22-24. Jesus heals a demon-possessed man who is blind and mute. When the Pharisees hear that the people (literally, ‘the crowds’) are wondering if Jesus is the Son of David, they charge Jesus with casting out demons by the prince of demons, Beelzebul. This is an accusation repeated from a previous instance (9:34). A major difference here is that Jesus responds. 10

“. . . the debate comes down finally to the person of Jesus.” Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1993), 334.

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Jesus’ Responses to the Increasing Opposition And the Remaining Indecision The three main character-groups in this section of Matthew’s Gospel—Jesus, the crowds, and the authorities—are moving swiftly toward a major confrontation. Jesus is performing ministries of teaching and healing and calling the people to repentance. The crowds are indecisive, delaying their response to Jesus’ call. The authorities have made their decision to reject Jesus and are seeking to influence the crowds to do likewise. For His part, Jesus has been responding to the two groups throughout chapters eleven and twelve. As the opposition increases and the indecision persists, Jesus begins to respond on a different level. Worthy of note is that Jesus’ responses throughout Matthew 11-12 follow a dual purpose. Often the response is rebuke, yet sometimes the response is one of invitation. For example, the crowds are undecided on John the Baptist, so Jesus invites them to accept that John is the expected Elijah-figure (11:14). He issues the statement, which functions as an invitation listen and learn, to become a disciple, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (11:15). The call to hear appears again in Matthew 13:9, 15, 16, and 43. The repetition indicates its importance and ties it to the previous occurrences. Following Jesus’ strong rebuke of the cities where His miracles were done (11:20-24), He offers one of the most celebrated invitations ever given, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (11:28). Matthew intersperses throughout the two chapters are the crowd’s indecision, the authorities’ opposition, and Jesus’ rebukes and invitations.11 In 12:25-37 the two mounting themes of indecision and opposition intersect. And at the intersection is where Jesus’ strongest rebuke in this section occurs. The crowds are undecided and when the authorities hear that the crowds wonder if Jesus is the Messiah (‘Son of David’), they react vehemently, attributing His work to Beezebul. Jesus issues a response, to the crowds as well as the Pharisees, that shows the incongruence of their conclusions. “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste” (12:25). Then He warns the authorities that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgiveable sin (12:31-32). The implication is that they have either committed this sin or have come extremely close to doing so.

11

John MacArthur, Matthew 8-15, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1987), 237-38.

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The warning about the unforgiveable sin is based on the principle given in 12:30: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Jesus is gathering; the Pharisees are scattering. In the context of the crowds’ indecision, this becomes very clear. Jesus is calling the crowds to decide about Him (gathering) while the authorities are seeking to influence the crowds to reject Jesus by dishonoring Him and His works (scattering). A flashback to Matthew 9:34-36 is enlightening: But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease Jesus and His and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, disciples are on a he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep mission to gather without a shepherd [scattered] (emphasis the “lost sheep of added). the house of Israel” … Jesus and His disciples are on a mission to gather the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (10:6), but the authorities are resisting their efforts and providing obstacles in the way of the crowds coming to Jesus. Jesus will not continue to allow it. He rebukes them and dishonors them publicly, calling them a “brood of vipers” and warning them of the judgment to come (12:33-37). Even after the strong rebuke, the scribes and Pharisees approach Jesus again, this time asking for a sign. In His refusal, Jesus calls them an evil and adulterous generation and says only one sign will be given to them—the sign of Jonah, which parallels and points to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Then, yet again, Jesus calls for repentance. He rallies in his support two allusions to gentiles who valued the word of God. The men of Ninevah and the queen of the South will condemn Jesus’ generation because they would not listen to the “something greater” than Jonah and Solomon. A twice-repeated refrain, “something greater than . . . is here” (12:41, 42), punctuates the section. The first refrain compares Jesus to a king (Solomon), the second Jesus to a prophet (Jonah). The unit immediately preceding the Kingdom Parables of Matthew 13 depicts a disavowal of sorts by Jesus of His mother and brothers. Matthew mentions only that they wished to speak to Him; the parallel in Mark indicates that they were attempting to help

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Him because some thought He was acting irrationally (Mk 3:21, 31-35). Jesus’ response is to ask “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” and to indicate that His disciples are His family because His family is demarcated by those who do the will of the Father (Mt 12:46-50). Such a statement serves to call the crowds to obey the Father by becoming Jesus’ disciples.12 At the conclusion of chapter twelve, the call for decision is again thrust upon them, and in chapter thirteen Jesus takes a step that makes it difficult for the authorities to resist Him and hard for the crowds to remain indecisive. That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables . . . (Mt 13:1-3). In light of the material preceding Matthew 13, the Kingdom Parables constitute the climax of Jesus’ response to the opposition and indecision He has faced thus far in the narrative. He resorts to ambiguity of teaching as a way to elicit a response from the crowds and to shield His message from those who oppose Him. The disciples’ question of 13:10 (“Why do you speak to them in parables?”) does not mean that Jesus created a new form of teaching that was uncommon in His day. Quite the contrary, many teachers used parabolic illustrations to help their listeners apprehend their message. Jesus was not the innovator of parabolic teaching. What is unique about Jesus’ use of parables in Matthew 13 is that He did not explain them.13 Parables usually are utilized by teachers to clarify their teachings. Jesus used them in such a manner previously (e.g., Mt. 5:13-16; 6:26-30; 7:24-27). The difference in Matthew 13 is the lack of the main teaching of which the parable was only an illustration. In the Kingdom Parables, He gives the parable publicly but explains it only privately:

12

Michael J. Wilkins, Matthew, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 472. 13

“Jesus was not alone in the use of parables. Jewish teachers often used them, but as a rule they place parable and interpretation side by side. But Jesus did not provide the explanation along with the parable; instead he demanded of his hearers that they discern the truth of what he was saying, and that they respond accordingly.” Barclay M. Newman and Philip C. Stine, A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew, UBS Helps for Translators; UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1992), 401.

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And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to The effect of the amthem it has not been given. For to the one who has, biguous parables is more will be given, and he will have an abundance, to force a decision but from the one who has not, even what he has about Jesus—one will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in must either become parables, because seeing they do not see, and His disciple or turn hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand (Mt. 13:11-13). away. Jesus does not cease public teaching—that would be a win for the authorities and a loss for the crowds. Nor does He continue the public teaching of truths that will continue only to satisfy the crowds’ curiosity and elicit the authorities’ ire. No one wins in that scenario either. Instead, Jesus uses the public teaching of ambiguous parables to draw out the wouldbe disciples from within the crowds.14 The effect of the ambiguous parables is to force a decision about Jesus—one must either become His disciple or turn away. Just as in 11:15, so also in 13:9. “He who has ears, let him hear” serves as an invitation to become part of the in-group of Jesus’ family, who are privy to the explanations He gives about the nature of the Kingdom of God. The crowds have to decide whether they will seek the main teaching by joining the group of disciples and hearing the explanations or whether they will remain in a state of perpetual wonder regarding what exactly Jesus meant when He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like . . . .

14

A comparison to John 6:68 is insightful. “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

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Why Jesus Taught with Parables Benjamin Cocar, D. Min., Th. D. Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the crowds; he did not speak to them without a parable. This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet: ”I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”1 (Matthew 13:34-35) While Jesus formulated many utterances as summaries of a sermon or debate, he set others before his hearers for their contemplation (Mt. 13:24, 31). Most worthy of mention are those pericopes commonly known as parables. Jesus was the Master Storyteller. His teaching provoked people to think; it did not paralyze the listeners. Parables were His most famous characteristic form of involving people creatively in the process of learning. Mark noted that Jesus “taught them many things by parables” (Mk 4:2). Archibald Hunter claims that 35 percent of Jesus’ teaching in the synoptic Gospels can be found in parabolic form. He identified certain parables which describe “the coming of the kingdom,” others which explain “the grace of the kingdom,” a third group which portrays “the men of the kingdom” and a final collection dealing with “the crisis of the kingdom.”2 A critical question asks, “Why did Jesus teach so extensively in parables?” As soon as He started teaching them with parables, the disciples asked Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?" (Mt. 13:10). Since the disciples' question, countless of students, pastors, and teachers tried to give the best possible answer to the disciples’ question. Many of the parables of Jesus are specifically called parables of the Kingdom.3 1

Biblical Studies Press. (2005; 2005). The NET Bible First Edition (Noteless); Bible. English. NET Bible (Noteless). Biblical Studies Press. 2

A. H. Hunter, Interpreting the Parables (London:SCM; Philadephia, Westminster, 1980),

44-45. 3

Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W., Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 703.

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In order to understand the purpose of Jesus’ usage of parables, the reader needs to understand what is a parable? The English word parable refers to a short narrative with two levels of meaning. The Greek and Hebrew words for “parable” are much broader. Jesus’ parables are both works of art and the weapons he used in the conflict with his opponents. They were the teaching method he chose most frequently to explain the Kingdom of God and to show the character of God and the expectations God has for people.4 In Sunday School, the teachers are explaining that “a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, or a heavenly story with an earthly meaning.” The English Dictionary defined the parable as “a short allegorical story, designed to convey some truth or moral lesson.”5 “Parable” is a transliteration of the Greek parabolē, “comparison.” It can designate a variety of figurative forms of speech (e.g., Mk 2:19-22; 3:23-25; 4:3-9, 2632; 7:15-17; 13:28). But usually a parable is a short discourse that conveys spiritual truth by making a vivid comparison. The truth to be taught is compared to something in nature or a common-life experience. A parable usually expresses a single important truth, though occasionally a subordinate feature expands its total meaning (cf. 4:3-9, 13-20; 12:1-12). A parable draws its hearers to take part in a situation, evaluate it, and apply its truth to themselves.6 The parable as a literary method can be understood as an extended simile. The comparison is expressed, and the subject and the thing compared, explained more fully, are kept separate. (A simile is simply an expressed comparison: it typically uses the words like or as). In the Old Testament, the word mashal was translated as a proverb (1 Sm 24:13; Ez 18:2-3; Prv. 1:1; 10:1); a parable (2 Sm 12:1-4; 2 Sam 14:1-11; Is 5:17). Other meanings were the following: an allegory (Ez 24:2-5; 17:2-10; 20:4921:5); and a byword, satire, taunt, word of derision (Hb 2:6; Nm 21:27-30; Dt 28:37; 1 Kgs 9:7). Also, mashal can be translated as discourse (Nm 23:7, 18; 4

Green, J. B., McKnight, S., & Marshall, I. H. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press. (1992), 591. 5

Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.. , s.v. “Parable.” 6

Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983), p.118.

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24:3, 15, 20, 21, 23); riddle (Ps 49:4; Prv. 1:6); or a saying of ethical wisdom (Jb 27:1; 29:1). Thus, the parable in the Old Testament included a much wider variety of concepts than simply stories that contained moral or spiritual truths.7 In the New Testament the word parabolee has these meanings: proverb (Lk 4:23); metaphor of figurative saying (Mk 7:14-17; Lk 5:36-38; Mk 2:21-22, Mt 9:16-17); riddle (Mk 3:23); illustration (Mk 13:28); and parable (Mt 13:33). The Greek verb means "to throw or place alongside." Thus, a parable is something placed alongside something else for the purpose of comparison.8 A parable is something placed along side something else for the purpose of comparison.

A.T. Robertson defined the parable in the broad etymological sense, as a simile and consequently finds that our Lord employed this method from the beginning of His ministry (Mt 5:13-16; 7:3-5, 17-19, 24-27) as a literary device. There is no problem with this kind of classification or usage of the parable. Jesus used the parables in a special sense when He was accused of being under Beelzebub.

Others have a narrower definition of the parable and say that Christ did not use the parabolic device at first, but introduced it later in teaching the "mysteries of the kingdom," as recorded in Matthew 13 and Mark 4. This short paper will answer two questions: why did Jesus use parables in His teaching? and, when did He start using the parables? It is not in the scope of this paper to analyze all the parables that Jesus used during His entire ministry, nor to explain the meaning of the parables of Jesus. There are many available resources for those subjects.9 This paper will focus on these two questions because the answer to both questions seems to be only one answer! When Jesus started His earthly ministry, He called people to repent “for the Kingdom of heaven was at hand,” (Mt 4:17; 7

Francis, Brown S.R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906, 1951, s.v. “Parable.” 8

Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich. An English-Greek Lexicon of the NT and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1975, s.v. “Parable.” 9

See the short bibliogrpahy at the end of this article.

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Mk 1:15). Jesus announced the Kingdom and the simple way of receiving it. Both John the Baptist and Jesus called people to repent as a way of entering the Kingdom. Jesus told Nicodemus to be born again in order to see, and/or to enter the Kingdom of God, (Jn 3). In the beginning of His ministry, the parables were not part of Jesus’ teaching. As He proclaimed the message of repentance, His words were declarative and forceful. Contrary to the interpretations of some current scholars, He did not continue in the tradition of the rabbis of the day, but had a new and innovative message. McKnight argued that Jesus took popular prayers and other sayings from those days and elevated them to His level.10 Jesus “preached” the Sermon on the Mountain, and He reversed a lot of what “was said before.” He did not add a couple of points to the Law of Moses, but He changed it after He had fulfilled it! He gave a “new command,” not a revised version of the old commandment. Jesus was teaching with power and conviction. His preaching was called “kerygma,” proclamation! Jesus proclaimed the euangelion, the good news. Jesus was the King proclaiming His Kingdom! He spoke as “One who had power,” (Lk 4:32). His enemies declared that “no one ever spoke like this man!” (Jn 7:46). He was not one of the masters of the day--He was The Master teacher! When Jesus went to Bethany, John recorded these words: “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus called all the “weary and heavyladen” to give them rest and “learn from Me.” The Master Teacher had all the tools available to make His message clear, but He did not use the parables, because He had a plan when and why to introduce the parables. Jesus preached and taught for almost two years before He introduced the parables in His teaching. During the second year of His ministry, Jesus was accused of being demon possessed (Mt. 12:24; Mk 3:22). The leaders of Israel inferred that He was working with Beelzebub and not with God’s power as He claimed. At that point, Jesus pronounced the danger of the unforgivable sin (Mt. 12:30-31). It was a very dramatic moment in the history of Israel. The nation of Israel’s leaders refused to follow Jesus, and they rejected Him from the days of His coming into the world (Mt. 2:16-23), but this moment was different. The leaders of Israel crossed a line of no-return! Jesus offered them the Kingdom for which they were waiting, but they were rejecting the King, and thus they rejected the Kingdom. The people of Israel had the opportunity to have the reality of God’s Kingdom, but they did not believe Jesus and His claims. Jesus loved the people of Israel and made it clear that His message was for the “lost sheep of the people of Is10

Scott McKnight, The Jesus Creed. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2004), 17-20.

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rael,” (Mt. 15:24). He did not want to take the bread from the children and give it to the dogs! He wanted the children of Israel to eat the Bread that came from heaven, but they left Him, (Jn 6:66). He came to His own, but they received Him not! When it was clear that Israel rejected Him and His Kingdom, Jesus turned to speak in parables “because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, no do they understand” (Mt. 13:13). After Jesus was accused of being empowered by Beelzebub, Jesus started to use the “parables.” Although it can be argued that it was a change in “style,” the context demonstrates that was more than that. It was a change the the „essence” of His treaching. The parables can be a literrary device to help someone to understand a message, but Jesus introduced the parables not to make it He was no easier for the people of Israel to understand His longer offering message, but to make it harder! It is clear that the Kingdom to Jesus did not use the parables like other that teachers were using them. He declared His generation. purpose in teaching with parables. He wanted the generation that rejected Him to be blind and deaf to His teachings. It seems clear that Jesus shifted His focus from the ”people of Israel” to His disciples, and to the future eclessia, or to a generation that ”will bring fruit.” The Kingdom that was promised to the people of Israel was postoponed. Jesus was aware that His own people rejected Him and His message. Not long after the the parables became His main style of teaching, Jesus announced the eklessia (Mt. 16:18). For the present age, the Church will carry God’s program, not the Kingdom. The Kingdom will be repesented as a spiritual reality in the lives of those who receive Jesus as Lord. The Apostle John devoted half of his Gospel describing the last week of Jesus’ life before His death and resurrection. There is a consensus among the NT commentators that Jesus’ discussions in the Gospel of John were ”private,” designatged for His disciples only. He was no longer offering the Kingdom to that generation. Even the parables of His last week, before the crucifixion, (Mt. 21-22) although they touched on the national rejection of His kingship, did not offer the nation of Israel as a whole the possiblity of returning to Jesus. Why did Jesus teach with parables during this time? Kistemaker argued that Jesus used the parables as a literary device in order to "communicate the message of salva-

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tion in a clear and simple manner."11 There is no doubt that this can be a normal sense of someone using the parables, but Jesus did not give this answer to His disciples. Jesus gave this answer to His disciples: “I am teaching with parables to conceal my teachings from those outside (Mk 4:10-12), and to reveal and illustrate My message to you, My followers.” Robert Stein has a masterful chapter on “The Parables of Jesus” in which he sets forth three reasons: (1) to conceal His teaching from those outside (cf. Mk 4:10–12; Mt. 11:25–27); (2) to illustrate and reveal His message to His followers (Mk 4:34); and (3) to disarm His listeners (12:1–11; Lk 15:1–2).12 It is true that a parable disarms the listener, but Jesus was not looking for dramatic effects to His presentation. He proclaimed the Kingdom with the authority of the King! Jesus came to His own (Jn 1:11-12), but His own received Him not. Once the Light came into the world, the world loved darkness more than the Light (Jn 3:19). Parables withdrew the light from those who loved darkness. They protected the truth which they enshrined from the mockery of the scoffer. They reveal, on the other hand, a message to seekers after the truth. Although the parables can help any communicator to convey his message much more easily, because they attract and, when fully understood, are sure to be remembered, Jesus did not use them for this reason. Parables greatly help the mind and thinking faculty; they are a great help to memory. Also, parables stir up, or excite the affections, and awaken consciences, and arrest and hold attention. Parables preserve the truth that was communicated. Jesus employed a variety of creative methods such as overstatement (Mk 5:29– 30); proverb (6:4); paradox (12:41–44); irony (Mt 16:2–3); hyperbole (23:23–24); riddle (11:12); simile (Lk 13:34); pun (Mt16:18); allusion (Jn 2:19); and metaphor (Lk 13:32). Locyer listed Finis Dake’s seven beneficial reasons for using parables: 1. To reveal truth in interesting form and create more interest (Mt 13:10-11; 16) 2. To make known new truths to interested hearers (Mt 13:11-12; 16-17)

11

Simon Kistemaker, The Parables of Jesus. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980),

xviii. 12

Stein, 35.

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3. To make known mysteries by comparison with things already known (Mt 13:11) 4. To conceal truth from disinterested hearers and rebel heart (Mt 13:11-15) 5. To add truth to those who love it and want more of it (Mt 13:12) 6. To take away from those who hate and do not want it (Mt 13:12) 7. To fulfill prophecy (Mt 13:14, 17, 35).13 Although the “parables” help the listener to more easily understand a concept or a new thing, Jesus did not introduce the The parables of parables for this reason. In fact, this author believes that Jesus may have Jesus did not use parables in His early ministry, until the had the effect dramatic moment in Matthew 13 or Mark 4. of hardening The initial five of these special parables about the Kingthe unbeliever dom (four in Matthew 13 and one in Mark 4) were ad…. dressed primarily to the general public in Israel, not to the disciples. The stated purpose of these parables was about the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." It is good to remember that ordinarily, the use of such similes and comparisons was intended to aid in the understanding of something (Lk 6:39). But the parables about the mysteries of the Kingdom were not primarily so intended. On the contrary, we are told by the Lord Himself, their purpose was to hide rather than to reveal. In reply to the disciples' question as to why He spoke to the multitudes in parables, the Lord explained that it was "Because...to them it is not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom (Mt 13:10-11). The Kingdom parables must be regarded as a divine judgment upon the nation of Israel. They refused the simple announcement of the Kingdom, and because of their refusal, God spoke in such a way that they could not understand, (Is 6:9-10). When Israel rejected Jesus and “did not want Him to rule over them,” Jesus turned to the parables to hide his message from them. Until His ascension, Jesus did not offer the Kingdom again to His generation. His generation was locked in unbelief. But, the mystery parables of the Kingdom had also a beneficent purpose (Mt 13:51-52). For the dis13

Herbert, Lockyer, All the Parables of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), 17-18.

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ciples of Jesus, the parables had the effect of revealing the mystery of the Kingdom. Each parable illustrates what the Kingdom was like and how the Kingdom can be received. Some have found Mark 4:10–12 very difficult to understand, for it seems to suggest that Jesus’ purpose in the parables was not to enlighten the unenlightened, but that the unbeliever might become hardened in his unbelief. It is possible, however, that what seems to be a clause of purpose in Mark. 4:12 is in fact a clause of consequence (also Mt. 13:13). The parables of Jesus may have the effect of hardening the unbeliever, just as Isaiah prophesied with regard to the effects of preaching the Word of God. The truth is that Jesus’ parables are unique. The parables of other teachers can to some extent be separated from the teachers themselves, but Jesus and His parables are inseparable. To fail to understand Him is to fail to understand His parables. ‘For those outside everything is in parables’ (Mk 4:11); the whole of Jesus’ ministry, not merely the parables, remains on the level of earthly stories and portents devoid of any deeper significance. Here “parables” have virtually come to mean “riddles.” It is, therefore, possible for men to decline the invitation to understanding and commitment found in the parables, and in them Isaiah’s prophecy (Is. 6:9f.) is fulfilled (cf. Jn 12:40 where the same prophecy is cited with reference to the disbelief of the Jews in the face of Jesus’ mighty works).14 It is clear that Jesus used parables as way of communicating God’s truth and that He taught with parables with a clear purpose in mind, to reveal and conceal! The Kingdom was taken away from that generation (Rom 9:10-11), until they will see coming again to rule on this earth (Rv. 19:11-16). Paul the Apostle insisted that because of Israel's hardened attitude the message of "God's salvation" has been sent directly to Gentiles where it would find a positive response. In Acts 28:28, Paul documented this point by quoting Isaiah 6:9-10. In quoting this prophecy, Paul was not just explaining Israel's stubbornness; he stressed it further by showing that in the providence of God, redemption was now being offered directly to Gentiles and they were responding. Jesus turned to the parables at the moment when the Kingdom was taken from that generation and offered to the Church.

14

Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.) (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 869.

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Bibliography of Sources Consulted Batey, A. Richard. ed. New Testament Issues. New York: Harper and Row, 1970. Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich. An English-Greek Lexicon of the NT and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1975. Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1939. Biblical Studies Press. (2005; 2005). The NET Bible First Edition (Noteless); Bible. English. NET Bible (Noteless). Biblical Studies Press. Blomberg, Craig. Interpreting the Parables. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1989. Brown, Colin. Miracles and the Critical Mind. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984. Brown Francis, S.R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906, 1951. Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Tyndale reference library (703). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers. Erickson, J. Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983. Green, J. B., McKnight, S., & Marshall, I. H. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (591). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992. Hunter, H, Archibald. Interpreting the Parables. London:SCM; Philadephia, Westminster, 1980. Kistemaker, Simon. The Parables of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980, 1989.

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Lockyer, Herbert. All the Parables of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963. McClain, J. Alva. The Greatness of the Kingdom. Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1959. McKnight, Scott. The Jesus Creed. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2004. Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.. , s.v. “Parable.” Stein, Robert. An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1981. Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983. Wenham, David. The Parables of Jesus. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1989. Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.) Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

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The Purpose of the Parable Of the Good Samaritan By Hal M. Haller, Jr., Th. M., M. Ln. Librarian Assistant Professor of Bible and Theology The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of Jesus’ best known parables, but may not be among the best understood so far as its purpose is concerned. In the popular understanding, in particular, the parable is a practical lesson about demonstrating boundless compassion for others. The parable is usually thought to exhibit an edifying example of how we are to love our neighbor sacrificially. While there is great value for the Christian in studying it for this purpose, it is not the immediate purpose of the parable in its context. In more scholarly circles, it is usually recognized that there is a theological purpose that is served by its inclusion in Jesus’ teaching. This article will seek to disclose that purpose from the parable’s relationship to its immediate context,1 its relationship with other related passages, and its relationship with some central soteriological concepts involving law and grace. Lastly, the article will consider briefly alternative explanations for the purpose of the passage and a critique offered. Development of the Parable in Context – vss. 10:25-37 The outline of the parable may be described as the setting of the parable, the telling of the parable, and the application of the parable. Each sequence is intimately related, progressively building on each prior component. In its entire development Jesus is skillfully taking a person who has challenged Him to a successfully argued and acknowledged conclusion. 1

Some scholars have broken Luke 10:25-37 into two separate pericopes (10: 25-28 and 10:29-37) that were juxtaposed by a redactor; it is not one literary unit that reflects an extended conversation with the lawyer on one particular occasion. The unity is allegedly artificial. See for instance, Rudolph Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition, rev ed., trans John Marsh (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1963, p. 178. This article assumes the unity of this section. See H. Wayne House for a defense of that unity in “The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Implications for the Euthanasia Debate” Issues in Law and Medicine 159 (Fall 1995), pp. 2-4. http://www.hwhouse.com/files/writings/articles/uploads/parable%20of%20good%20samaritan.pdf (web site: Last accessed November 18, 2009)

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The setting of the parable shows how Jesus is approached by one wishing to test Him on a theological question. Jesus, in turn, turns the conversation around so that the questioner himself is tested and found wanting. The Setting of the Parable: The Inquiry Regarding Eternal Life –vss. 10:25-28 25

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested2 Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit3 eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’4 and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”5 28And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”6 2

The Greek word, ekpeirazw, is used here. It is the word meaning “to put to the test.” It is used four times in the New Testament. The same word is used elsewhere of Satan testing God in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness or of believers testing Christ (Matt. 4:7; Luke 4:12; I Cor. 10:9). The word suggests that the lawyer was not predisposed to receive truth, but to debate it. Furthermore, its aim seems to be that of entrapment. His desire then was to put Jesus on the spot before His hearers. The purpose would, no doubt, be to discredit Him by making himself look wiser than Jesus. This rules out the sincerity of the lawyer’s motive. 3

The word, inherit, can mean something that is free or something that is merited. See Joseph Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings. Miami Spring, FL: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1992, pp. 43-110 for examples of these uses. In footnote 17 on page 64 he states, “The parallel passages, Lk. 10:25 and 18:18, also demonstrate the kleronomeo can include the idea of merit.” 4

This quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 refers to the requirement for “the absolute love of Yahweh in a total personal response.” – Joseph A. Fitzmyer. The Gospel According to Luke XXXIV. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1985, p. 878. The term for love is the Hebrew word, `ahab. “When `ahab is used of a person’s love for God in Deuteronomy, it is virtually synonymous with obedience (Deut. 11:1, 18-22; 13:4-5).” – J. Carl Laney. God. Nashville: Word, p. 192. Cf. Jn. 14:15. 5

This appeal to Leviticus 19:18 is reiterated by NT writers (Gal. 5:14; Rom. 13:9; Jas. 2:8) “where the love of neighbor is regarded as the summation of the Mosaic Law.” – Fitzmyer, p. 878. The first commandment--love for God is demonstrated by the second commandment--love for one’s neighbor (Matt 22:37-40 with I Jn. 4:20). 6

“`This do, and you shall live’ is reminiscent of Leviticus 18:5 which verse was used by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians to condemn the Judaizers.” – T.C. Smith. The Parable of the Good Samaritan. 47:4 Review and Expositor, (1950), p. 435. See Galatians 3:1112 where Paul repudiates the Judaizers’ position that we are justified by the law rather than by faith. The Jews show evidence of having regarding Lev. 18:5 to refer to a promise of eternal life: “`Do this and you will live’ . . . contains an illusion to Lev. 18:5: `You shall keep My statutes and My ordinances, which if a person do, he shall live by them’ (with the pertinent

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A lawyer, an expert in Jewish law or Torah scholar, confronts Jesus with the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus, instead of saying, "Believe on me for eternal life," as He did on numerous occasions (e.g. Jn. 3:14, 16; 6:40, 47),7 refers him to the law to supply the answer to his question. After the lawyer quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, Jesus tells him he must keep what the law requires - to love God and neighbor supremely. Jesus acknowledges that his answer is correct. The Telling of the Parable – vss. 10:29-35 The next segment involves a second question from the lawyer. He expects Jesus to further clarify what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus does not give a formal explanation, but a specific example of what He is talking about with regard to love of neighbor, the text says, “But he [the lawyer], wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Lk 10:29)

elements emphasized). But Lev 18:5 in the Greek and Hebrew versions has to do only with life in the present age; in these versions the text says nothing about eternal life, the point of the scribe’s question. In the Targum, however, Lev 18:5 is understood in an eschatological sense: `You should observe My ordinances and My laws, which if a person practices them, he shall live by them in eternal life’ (Tg. Onq. Lev 18:5; cf. Tg. Ps.-J Lev 18:5: “ . . . he shall live by them in eternal life and shall be assigned a portion with the righteous”). - Craig A. Evans. Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2001, p. 180. 7

Eternal life in Scripture may refer to a present possession as in John’s Gospel (Jn. 5:24) or a future reality (Titus 1:2). Eternal life is typically portrayed in the NT as an unmerited gift to be received (e.g. Rom. 6:23), but on occasion may be seen as a merited experience or reward to be achieved (e.g. Gal. 6:8; I Tim. 6:12). Eternal life has both quantitative and qualitative aspects. One acquires it in its essence as a free gift, but enjoys or experiences it in its fullness through obedience. “Eternal life, like physical life, is free at the beginning, but that life can be barren or abundant (cf. II Pet. 1:8; John 10:10).” – G. Michael Cocoris. Galatians: Staying Free. Santa Monica, CA: G. Michael Cocoris, p. 129. When eternal life is future, the idea of resurrected life in the millennial kingdom may be in view (Dan. 12:2; cf. Matt. 19:16 with verse 23), though some will enter in their natural bodies (Isa. 65:20; cf. Matt 25:34 with verse 46. Resurrected life in the kingdom would be guaranteed, but rewards in it would not. Only the wise would experience that (Dan. 12:3). The lawyer was thinking of something altogether different than what Scripture permits. He was thinking of the acquisition of eternal life as something totally future because he had done enough good to merit it. For him eternal life was not free at the beginning because he does not understand grace (cf. Titus 3:5; Rom. 11:6). The parable of the Good Samaritan raises an insurmountable challenge to this assumption.

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The lawyer asks Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"8 The underlying motive that produced it was the desire “to justify himself.” The word justify means to vindicate oneself or show oneself righteous. Those who wish to do good works to obtain eternal life are confronted by the question, “How good is good enough?” Those who realize their dilemma must assure themselves that what is required is doable. The question intended to restrict the meaning of the word, neighbor so as to render the obligation to love one’s neighbor more attainable for purposes of inheriting eternal life. The law had done its convicting work. The lawyer was uneasy and now wished to confirm that the task was not too hard for him. The answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” is given by Jesus in the following parable: 30

Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves,9 who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by10 on the other side. 33But a certain Samaritan, as he 8

“The question, `Who is my neighbor?’ has tacitly introduced excuses for avoiding charity, but Jesus says, in effect, that a slack priest (or lawyer) is less than a caring half-breed.” – John W. Sider. Introducing the Parables: a Hermeneutical Guide to Their Meaning. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995, p. 131. “The lawyer sought to relieve his guilt. . . . the lawyer feigned ignorance. He would be more than willing to practice the law he claimed to honor if only he could figure out who his neighbor was.” - H. Wayne House. “The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Implications for the Euthanasia Debate.” Issues in Law and Medicine 159 (Fall 1995), p. 18. http://www.hwhouse.com/files/writings/articles/uploads/parable%20of%20good%20samaritan.pdf (web site: Last accessed November 18, 2009) “When the lawyer asks the question, “Who is my neighbor?” he definitely confesses that he has not loved his neighbor because he does not even know who his neighbor is.” – T. C. Smith. “The Parable of the Good Samaritan.” Review and Expositor, 40:4 (1950), p. 436. T. W. Manson adds this thought: “The context of Lev. 19:18 shows plainly enough that `neighbor’ means fellow-Israelite.” The Sayings of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979, p. 261. See Lev. 19:11, 15, 17, 18b. At least it means that, though arguments could be marshaled that show that one who was entitled to consideration could reach beyond that (e.g. Lev. 19:34; Exod. 22:21). 9

“The road from Jerusalem to Jericho (about 17 miles) passes through country which is `desert and rocky’ (Josephus, War, iv. 474), and suited by nature for the operations of brigands. Jerome reports that raiding bands of Arabs were active on the road in his day.” – T. W. Manson. The Sayings of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979, p. 262. 10

The passing by of the dying man probably has to do with avoidance of ritual defilement as a greater obligation than possibly saving a life. “In the parable, Jesus criticizes a priest and a Levite for not being willing to risk coming into contact with a corpse. The point seems to be that they did not know whether or not the man by the side of the road was dead, and they were unwill-

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journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine;11 and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii,12 gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you. In summary a Samaritan stops to help a man who was robbed and beaten and left for dead. The severely injured man was lying by the side of the road. He could not help but be noticed. Those who could have helped him and should have helped him (a priest and a Levite) did not.13 Only the Samaritan cared enough to give him aid and see to it that he was restored to health. Yet the Samaritan seemed the least likely to help an injured Jew.14 ing to risk incurring corpse impurity simply on the chance they might have been able to help.” – E. P. Sanders. Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Trinity, 1990), pp. 41-42. See Lev. 21:11. 11

The Samaritan here renders first aid to the victim. “Wine was used to disinfect and olive oil was a healing agent. Cf. James 5;14, `Is any one of you sick . . . anoint him with oil.’” – W. Harold Mare. New Testament Background Commentary: a New Dictionary of Words, Phrases and Situations in Biblical Order. Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004, p. 100. 12

‘Two denarii” would be “two Roman silver coins worth two days’ wages; a sizeable sum in that day for the Samaritan to spend on this stranger.” – Ibid. Mare, p. 100. The amount underscores the generosity of the good Samaritan towards someone he did not even know or with whom he surely supposed with whom he had little in common. The inn that the money secured meant shelter and protection for the convalescing man. 13

Who were the priests and Levites? Both are descendents of Levi. However, the priests were descendents of a Levite named Aaron. Priests were responsible for offering the sacrifices on behalf of Israel and the Levites assisted them, performing lesser duties. Priests and Levites were official religious leaders whose formal ministry was centered in the temple in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. As a class they were wealthy. The Levite and priest were traveling “down from Jerusalem to Jericho” where large numbers of priests lived, making them an attractive target for robbers. – Brad H. Young. The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998, p. 104. As leaders they were aware of the requirements of the law in Lev. 19:18 to love one’s neighbor, but they did not bother on this occasion to do so. A certain irony may be detected here. No doubt they had just been ministering in Jerusalem in their holy office, but here they failed in holy behavior when off-duty. They continued the work of the robbers, abandoning the wounded man to die. 14

The Jews and the Samaritans historically and socially were at odds with each other. See 2 Kings 17:24ff.; Ezra 4; John 4:9; 8:48. Samaritans were not pure blooded Israelites. They were half-breeds, a combination of Assyrian and Israelite stock. Their worship was regarded as heretical. It was located at Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem. They accepted only the Pentateuch as Scripture.

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The parable identifies a neighbor as someone in need, even if he is an enemy (cf. Mt 5:43-44). A neighbor might be unknown, unfriendly, unlovely, and unrewarding, but he is still to be loved. One is to have the same regard for him as oneself. Yet, Jesus after identifying who is a neighbor, moves on to show that there should be a greater concern: that of being a neighbor. Thus Jesus places emphasis on rendering help rather than receiving it. The Application of the Parable –vss. 10:36-37 The parable is now applied by Jesus first with a question followed by an obligation to which the lawyer has in principle already agreed when he answered the question. Jesus, therefore, skillfully uses a set up technique. The parable on the surface seems not to relate at all to the lawyer. It is disarming. With his guard down the lawyer renders a verdict regarding his own behavior.15 Jesus asks, 36

So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37And he [the lawyer] said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” [and you will live]. "Who was the neighbor (or one who acted in a neighborly fashion)?" asked Jesus.16 The lawyer responds, "He who showed mercy." Jesus tells the lawyer to go and do likewise if he wished to love his neighbor as himself and thus procure eternal life by doing so. Jesus knew his heart was not inclined to do so, and, therefore, needed to confront him with his sin and his need of a Savior. Should the lawyer subsequently reflect on the parable, it would not take long to figure out that he was like the wounded man in the parable - helpless to save himself, and

15

To put it another way, the lawyer is very much like a schoolboy who is permitted to make up an examination for someone else. Then he is given the exam. When he takes it, he finds himself flunking it. Jesus’ examination of the lawyer via the parable shows the lawyer does not love his neighbor as himself nor has he been a neighbor, nor is it likely he would be inclined to begin doing so. 16

“Hence the parable ends with a twist.” One “would have expected the neighbor to be the injured man. This would then be the type of person the lawyer is to love as himself (v. 27). However, Jesus phrases the question in such a way . . . indicating that a neighbor is not just someone in need but someone who cares for someone in need. The lawyer then not only discovers who his neighbor is but that he himself is to be a neighbor. Thus there are neighbors who are benefactors (the Good Samaritan) and neighbors who are beneficiaries (the injured man).” – Andy P. Stanley. Did Jesus Teach Salvation by Works? The Role of Works in Salvation in the Synoptic Gospels. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2006, p. 212.

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that he must depend upon the neighborliness and mercy of the Despised One (Jesus) to experience salvation.17 Literary Analysis of Luke 10:25-37 Literary analysis of the parable in its context helps elucidate the development of the parable in its context. Kenneth Bailey gives an excellent literary analysis of the movement of the passage in demonstrating how the parable of the Good Samaritan relates back to the question the lawyer asked Jesus and how it identifies what key concepts are involved: Round One Lawyer-Question 1

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus-Question 2

“What about the law?”

Lawyer-Answer 2

“Love God and your neighbor.”

Jesus-Answer 1

“Do this and live.”

Round Two Lawyer-Question 1 “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus:

The parable of the Good Samaritan

Question 2

“Which of these three became a neighbor?”

Lawyer-Answer 2 “The one who showed mercy on him.” Jesus-Answer 1

“Do and keep on doing this.”18 [and you will live]

The reader will note two key words that link the two rounds together: the word (poieo), to do in 10:25, 28, 37 (twice) and plesion, neighbor) in 10:27, 29, 36. The word, do, throughout relates to how one acquires eternal life. The use of the present imperative (ποίει) in 10:28 and 37 indicates that neighborly obligations are to be performed continuously as need arises.

17

The writer is not suggesting that an allegorical interpretation is to be employed here. The main point of the parable literally applies to the lawyer to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” or the question that should have been asked, “How may I be a neighbor?” The Samaritan in the parable represents how the lawyer should behave as a neighbor. Nevertheless, the principle of grace for the undeserving and mercy for those unable to save themselves represents what Jesus is all about. He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). 18

Kenneth E. Bailey. Poet and Peasant: a Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1976, p. 74.

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Note also the connection between love (agapao) in 10:27 and the idea of compassion (splanchnizomai) in 10:33 and mercy (helios) in 10:37 which depict the central action of the parable. At the center of the story is a man who needed compassion, but, more importantly, another who was willing to give it. The Samaritan is definitely the hero when contrasted first to the robbers and then to the men who were supposed to, but did not, offer aid to an injured man. A sharp contrast is found between what the robbers did to the injured man and what the Samaritan did for the man as a result of his compassion to reverse the man’s misfortune: Does the parable of the Good SaTHE ROBBERS (1) 1. took his money maritan teach 2. beat him good works for 3. left him half dead (and will not return) salvation? THE SAMARITAN (1’) 1. spent his own money 2. cared for him. 3. left him cared for and promised to return.19 Furthermore, there is a sharp contrast between two individuals who had the opportunity to help the injured man, but did not and one who did: THE PRIEST: THE LEVITE:

“passed by on the other side” “came and looked, and passed by on the other side” THE SAMARITAN: did whatever it took to get the injured man well.

The contrast is stunning. Jews in good standing were often referred to as Priests, Levites, and the people of Israel which might include proselytes. One would have expected that Jesus would have chosen a lay person to complete the contrast, but he does not include a Jew; He includes a Samaritan20 “a half-breed 19

Bailey, p. 73.

20

Michel Gourgues. “The Priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan Revisted: a Critical Note on Luke 10:31-35” Journal of Biblical Literature 117/4 (1998), pp. 709-713. “Priests, Levites, and all the people”, “the priests and the Levites and the people of Israel”, “the priests, the Levites, and the children of Israel” the exact formulations may vary, but ancient Judaism and the OT use this tripartite division in order to give account of the composition of religious society in its diversity.” p. 710 “According to this traditional tripartite division, one would expect the narrative to bring on stage next a lay Israelite. And so it is totally unexpected to see a Samaritan—a representative of

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heretic who fulfills the law better than the pillars of Jewry.”21 It was typical for there to be a perpetual state of mutual disrespect and hostility between Jews and Samaritans. The enemies of Jesus called him a Samaritan when they wished to belittle Him (John 8:48). Jesus himself was the object of the Samaritan’s insulting inhospitality (Lk 9:53). “Eating with Samaritans was equated with eating pork (m. Seb. 8:10; b. Sanh 57a). Such people were unclean and were to be avoided.”22 To use the Samaritan as the hero of the story is like using a Jew as a hero in a story told to Palestinians or a Turk as a hero to an Armenian. The parable has many interpretive issues and practical import, but the interpreter must always return to that question the lawyer originally asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” because the parable is designed to answer that question. Stanley has noted that “this topic has rarely even been raised with respect to this parable.”23 Stephen F. Noll does call attention to this issue by saying, “The parable of the Good Samaritan . . .seems to promote a kind of works righteousness . . . Its punch lines . . . both say: `Go and do!”24 It is obvious from the parable that such works may involve heroic efforts of compassion. Does the parable of the Good Samaritan teach good works for salvation? Before that question is finally answered, it would be well to consult some related material in Luke and then from the rest of Scripture regarding the subject of law and grace. Significant Passages in Luke There are significant passages in Luke that speak to the issues raised by the lawyer. First, there is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector regarding justification, followed next by the lesson of the children regarding entrance into

one of the groups that all agreed to exclude from the category of neighbor—come on the scene and provide the answer to the question `Who is my neighbor?’ (10:29).” – p. 713. 21

Archibald Hunter, Interpreting the Parables. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960,

22

Darrell Bock, Luke. v. 2, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996, p. 1031.

p. 73.

23

Alan P. Stanley. Did Jesus Teach Salvation by Works? The Role of Works in the Synoptic Gospels. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2006, p. 214. 24

Stephen F. Noll. “The Good Samaritan and Justification by Faith,” Mission and Ministry 8 (1990), p. 36.

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the kingdom, and finally the account of the rich young ruler who asks an identical question to that of the lawyer: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – vss. 18:9-14 9

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The point of this parable is that those like the Pharisees who justify themselves are not justified before God whereas those like the tax collector who admit their sin and rely on God’s mercy are justified. Foundational to being justified is having an attitude of humility as the tax collector.25 The contrast between the lawyer and the tax collector may be noted here. The lawyer sought to justify himself whereas the tax collector looked to God without any works to boast about for justification and received it. Christ Blesses the Children – Luke 18:15-17; cf. Matt. 19:13–15; Mark 10:13–16 15

Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” The parable of the Pharisee and the publican is followed by an account of Jesus using childlikeness as a lesson regarding those who will enter the kingdom. The 25

In contrast to the scrupulously religious Pharisees, toll and tax collectors for the Romans were hated by the Jews and known for their extortion (cf. Luke 19:8), yet Jesus chooses to put a tax collector in a favorable light in this parable because he had more humility than the selfrighteous Pharisee(cf. Matt. 21:31-32).

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point is that humble childlike trust is that which enables one to enter; those who do not possess it cannot enter. Such humble and childlike trust results in justification before God (Lk 18:14), placing an individual sinner in the position of securing righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees which is necessary for entrance into the kingdom (Rom 4:5; Mt. 5:20). No sooner does Jesus speak about the kind of person who will enter the kingdom (i.e. one who has childlike humble faith), one comes along seeking entrance into it who does not possess this qualification. Like the Pharisee and unlike the children, he is absorbed in his own righteousness, wishing to justify himself (cf. Lk 18:11-12; Lk 10:29). Rich Young Ruler - Luke 18:18-27; Matt. 19:16–26; Mark 10:17–27 The soteriology of this pericope has been treated in some detail elsewhere by the writer.26 Suffice it to say that the lesson derived from that account is that if no one is as good as God, no one can be truly good and if no one can be truly good, no one can be good enough to merit eternal life so as to live with a holy God forever no matter how much one might try to keep the law or how much one might give up or how hard one tries to imitate Christ’s sinless life in discipleship. Jesus’ lesson is directed towards a self-righteous man of wealth and influence who equates wealth with righteousness and therefore, acceptance with God. But his belief still leaves him with a sense of inadequacy. The account explains why people are excluded from the kingdom and eternal life. They wish to earn it by works. To do otherwise is to attempt the impossible given our sinful condition. Only the grace of God in which God does exclusively for man what he cannot do for himself will secure salvation (Lk. 18:27). Parallels with the Rich Young Ruler The following show the parallelism between the account of the rich young ruler and the incident with the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37. 1. Both questioners test Jesus with the same question The lawyer asks, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk. 10:25)

26

Hal M. Haller. “Did the Rich Young Ruler Hear the Gospel According to Jesus?” Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society. 13:25 (Autumn 2000), pp. http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2000ii/Haller.htm.

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The Rich Young Ruler asks, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk. 18:18; cf. Mk. 10:17 and Mt. 19:16). 2. Both questioners are leaders with a reputation for moral and spiritual rectitude. Lawyer: The lawyer was an expert in the Jewish law. Others looked to him for instruction and example. Rich Young Ruler: The rich young ruler had an exalted view of his own goodness (Lk 18:21) and was wealthy, a sign taken by many in his day that he was righteous (cf. v. 24-25). 3. Jesus tests both questioners by the law. Lawyer: 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” Rich Young Ruler 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ – Mark 10:19. Matthew adds, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (19:19) It will be noted that both the lawyer and the rich young ruler are tested in accordance with the second table of the law which defines man’s responsibility to his fellow man. Such fulfills the commandment to love one’s neighbor as himself (cf. Mt 19:19). Loving one’s neighbor is designated by Jesus as the second greatest commandment (Mt 22:34-40 and Mk 12:28-34): One who has mastered the second greatest commandment has mastered the first “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14). 4. Both questioners are found wanting. Lawyer: 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 36So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him

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who fell among the thieves?” 37And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” The message here to the lawyer was that the lawyer’s understanding of neighborliness needed to be expanded and that his law keeping was defective. Jesus’ final word is, “Do likewise” (being a neighbor like the Good Samaritan) [and you will live]. The implication is that he is not doing this and hence, does not deserve eternal life. Rich Young Ruler: 22 “You still lack one thing [to inherit eternal life]. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. Both the lawyer Mark adds, “But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mk. and the rich 10:22). young ruler had

failed the test The lack of the rich young ruler is revealed in his covetousness as revealed by the law and his unwillingness by law. to follow Jesus. Coveteousness is forbidden in the law (Ex 20:17) and following involves continuous obedience in self giving and self-imposed poverty as Jesus Himself exemplified (cf. Mt. 8:20). Coveteousness is in view since the rich young ruler saw fit to withhold what God in the flesh had asked him to relinquish. He preferred wealth over the will of God. As such it was his idol (cf. Col 3:5), demonstrating that he had broken the greatest commandment: supreme love for God (Mt 22:34-40 and Mk 12:28-34). If he preferred God’s will he would have followed Jesus. Both the lawyer and the rich young ruler had failed the test by the law. The consciousness of that failure is implied in the story of the lawyer, but it is made explicit in the story of the rich young ruler. But in each case Jesus seeks to lead both to acknowledge that he lacks what is necessary to inherit eternal life. 5. Both questioners are told to continually and sacrificially obey the law. Lawyer: 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 37Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

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In both of the above verses the present tense of do in the Greek (ποίει)27 indicates that service to others must be continuous. The example set by the Good Samaritan shows it must also be sacrificial when such is called for. Rich Young Ruler: The word, follow, represents like the word, do, a process. Here the present active imperative in both instances indicates continuous action is expected. The nature of the verb also indicates a process as well. If the rich young ruler follows Jesus, he will be following the perfect law-keeper. Each is given a perpetual duty to perform that is an application of the law that may involve sacrificial service. In the case of the lawyer, he did not wish to recognize his neighborly duties. In the case of the rich young ruler, he did not want to sacrifice his wealth for the poor. The command to follow Christ is a command to learn from Him and imitate Him in sinless discipleship.28 6. Both questioners are told to do that which for them is humanly impossible. Lawyer:

27

The present active imperative indicating continuous action expected. Doing as the story suggests involves a lifestyle not just a one time heroic event. Whenever a person is enjoined to love his neighbor as himself he is to perform this continually without exception as the need arises. Whenever one sees a person in need and one has the ability to meet that need, he should do what he can on behalf of the other. 28

Discipleship commands of Jesus, except in this instance, are directed towards believers. Believers do not have to be perfect with regard to eternal salvation since perfection is provided for them in imputation and declared to be so in justification. They are expected, however, to live up to the highest standards of discipleship, but since they still have a sinful nature, it is expected that they will fail at times and they can be restored to temporal fellowship through I Jn 1:9. That the discipleship requirement was a counsel of perfection is indicated by the words in Mt 19:21 “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

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The lawyer was being asked to eliminate his deepest prejudices and act in perpetual sacrificial love towards those considered his enemies.29 On one level the parable does answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” A neighbor is anyone in need, even if it is someone towards whom we have a strong antipathy as a Samaritan might have for a Jew. Towards such an one the law enjoins continual sacrificial love. Jesus’ directives to the lawyer indicate he had not done that, and it is implied that he would not be inclined to do so even when presented with the opportunity. Though the Samaritan in the parable overcame his prejudices, the lawyer would find himself unable to do the same. Rich young ruler: The aspect of impossibility is made more explicit in the account of the rich young ruler. In Jesus’ explanation to the disciples who exclaimed with amazement, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus responded, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Lk 18:27; cf. Mt 19:26 and Mk 10:27). Matthew records Jesus as saying, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The point is that neither the lawyer nor the rich young ruler was capable of earning eternal life by something he could do. 7. The Matter of Law and Grace. The account of the rich young ruler and the lawyer both demonstrate from the teachings of Jesus that the law was never intended to give eternal life. It was given to demonstrate that man was a sinner (Rom. 3:9-19), not to save: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (v. 20). It was the law that Jesus used to show the rich young ruler and the lawyer that they were condemned by the law and could not save themselves. Whether the lesson hit home so as to drive each man to the Savior is not stated, but it is there so that any self-righteous sinner may take note and depend on One who can save him or her. 29

Heretics, informers, and renegades according to one rabbinical saying “should be pushed (into the ditch) and not pulled out." A widespread saying in Israel exempted one's enemies from one's obligation to love others: "You shall love your fellow-countryman; but you need not love your enemy." - Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus (S.H. Hooke trans., Charles Scribner's Sons 1963) (1962) (quoting b. 'A.Z. 26a (Bar.)), pp. 202-03.

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Historically there have been two ways to obtain eternal life. One is to live a life of perfection. The other is to trust the One who lived it for us and transferred his merit to us through His death on the cross and our acceptance of it.30 The first man, Adam, was given a prohibition and duties to fulfill. The prohibition was to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gn 2:16-17). The duties included multiplying and filling the earth as well as exercising dominion on God’s behalf over it. Adam was created in unconfirmed righteousness, but he was to function that way through a probationary time frame. If he ate of the forbidden fruit, he would be confirmed in sin, would experience death, and denied access to the tree of life (Gn 2:16-17; 3:19, 22-24). If he remained faithful to God’s directions, he no doubt would have been confirmed in righteousness and would have received eternal life.31 How long that period of probation would have 30

Alan P. Stanley deduces the following, “Do they [the Synoptic Gospels] not have a say on the matter? Both the Rich Young Ruler and the Jewish lawyer asked very similar questions to that of the Philippian jailer (see v. 29). Should these passages not also have a bearing on how we understand what one must do to be saved?” Ibid., p. 230 n. 60. For him the gospel requirements are essentially the same though they may appear different; one stresses works as the natural result of faith and the other stresses faith as that which gives rise to works. Unfortunately Stanley does not understand that the questions are answered in Scripture two different ways. One way to have eternal life is to be perfect (e.g. rich young ruler and the Jewish lawyer); the other is to trust the One who accounts us perfect through His substitionary atonement. In the first instance, eternal life comes by our sacrifice (which is impossible to achieve). In the second instance, it comes by faith alone in Christ alone (e.g. the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:31). Similarity of questions do not guarantee similarity or sameness of answers when the approaches of the questioners are different. Stanley takes the following stance, “Fourth even though works are necessary for salvation Jesus and the Synoptic writers do not mean sinless—or even something similar—perfection.” – p. 336. For a critique of his view the reader is referred to Joseph C. Dillow. “Did Jesus Teach Salvation by Works? A Review.” Bibliotheca Sacra 165 (October-December 2008), pp. 463-79. 31

The condition for life given in the Garden of Eden is often referred to as the Covenant of Works: “The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.” – The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes by G. I. Williamson. Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1964, p. 63. Since this covenant is anchored in the nature of God who rewards righteousness, it has transdispensational significance. The Mosaic covenant can be viewed in some sense as “a republication of the covenant of works. – See Bryan D. Estelle. “Leviticus 18:5 and Deuteronomy 30:1-14 in Biblical Theological Development: Entitlement in Heaven Foreclosed and Proffered.” The Law is Not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant. Ed. by Bryan D. Estelle, J. V. Fesko, David VanDrunen. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2009, pp. 109-146. The major differences between the covenant of works presented to Adam and that which is conveyed by the law are that the commands

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lasted is not stated. Perhaps it would end with the successful accomplishment of all the tasks Adam had been given. The sad reality is that he soon sinned before he could produce any progeny and death passed upon all men because all sinned in Adam (Rom 5:12). Eternal life could have been won by obedience, but was forfeited through disobedience. The second and last Adam, Jesus, came to create a redeemed resurrected race of men (I Cor 15: 20-28, 35-46). They would be redeemed from the curse of the fall and given blessing in the eternal state (Rv 21-22). Jesus, our sinless Substitute, died on the cross. There He became sin for us, “that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). Having provided a perfect righteousness for us, all we must do, indeed, all we can do, is simply trust Him for it as a free gift apart from the works of the law: But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Rom 3:21-22) But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness (Rom 4:5). The perfect obedience God demanded for eternal life, He provides freely through faith alone in Christ alone. If the lawyer who prompted Jesus to tell the story of the Good Samaritan were to earn eternal life through the keeping of the law, what would he have to do? First his obedience would have to be perfect. Galatians 3:10 states, 10

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” The demands of the law are outside the reach of anyone to fulfill perfectly. No one is perfect. The law requires that all things written in the book of the law must be performed, else a person is under the curse of God. Since we are all sinners (Rom 3:23) and hence law-breakers (I Jn. 3:4), we are under God’s curse. The term, curse, reminds us of the consequences of Adam’s sin in a fallen world are different and that whereas Adam’s requirements were doable, the Mosaic covenant’s requirement are not (in the sense of perfectly performing them). Entitlement to eternal life is based on Christ’s, rather than our, obedience.

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which can only be reversed in the new heavens and new earth (Gn 3:17; cf. Rv 22:3). Second, his obedience must be continual. In Galatians 3:10 the curse abides on those who do not continue in perfect obedience to do the works God prescribes. To those who would gain immortality (not being subject to death) and eternal life, continuance in doing good deeds is the absolute standard: God“will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath” (Rom 2:7-8). From the time one is first held accountable by God until the time he dies, he must be obedient without breaking a single commandment (Jas 2:10). It is obvious that the door to eternal life through law keeping is shut since no one continuously and perfectly keeps the law. But another door has been opened by Jesus who tasted death for every man (Heb 2:9). He took our sin and in exchange credits His own (i.e. God’s) righteousness to those who believe (Rom 4:5). Free from the law, O happy condition! Jesus has died, and there is remission; Cursed by the law; Ruined by the fall, Christ hath redeemed us, Once for all. Once for all, O sinner receive it; Once for all; O doubter believer it; Look to the Cross, your burden will fall, Christ hath redeemed us, Once for all. - P. P. Bliss CONCLUSION What then is the purpose of the Parable of the Good Samaritan? It is to show a self-righteous lawyer who is a sinner that he cannot be saved by keeping the

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law.32 The law requires universal continuous unbroken perfect obedience. If one wishes to earn salvation, perfection is the standard. No exceptions can be made. How else could sinful man live forever with a holy God? Man would always have the taint of sin and would ruin the very heaven in which God dwells, bringing the same curse there. A new status must be imputed. A new nature must be bestowed. A new body must be provided that does not sin. This is provided as a gift to anyone who will believe Jesus for it. Some commentators have bypassed this explanation in favor of another. It is the explanation that states that Jesus assumed that the lawyer understood that eternal life was non-meritorious and was by faith alone. Jesus then, according to this explanation, would not be correcting a false assumption—that of earning eternal life by good deeds.33 “One cannot be saved by Other commentators recognize the need for grace in the meskeeping the sage, but conflate love and faith. The lawyer needed to be told that faith without works would be ineffective in securing eternal law.” life. Therefore, he is told in essence, “Prove your faith by your works of love.” Robert H. Stein, for instance, recognizes the tension between Acts 16:31 and Luke 10:27-28. The answer of Acts 16:31 is “what most Christian expect” with a higher comfort level whereas Luke 10: 27-28 is “disconcerting for many Christians.” Then he attempts to show that the requirement of faith is so intimately linked to that of love that the two are practically indistinguishable, forming the same essential condition for eternal life.34 I. Howard Mar32

“The fulfillment of the Law is here pictured as a way of salvation—that is undeniable. The words of Jesus do not imply that man is able to travel this way. What is tragic is that we sinful human beings cannot achieve such fulfillment. Cf. Ro 3:20; 7:7-12, 18; Gal. 3:0-12, etc. The lawyer stood in need of being brought to a realization of his inability to keep the Law . . .” – William F. Arndt. Luke. St. Louis: Concordia, 1956, p. 289. The lawyer probably had a zeal for God, but as the apostle Paul would say, “not according to knowledge” and was trying to establish his own righteousness (Cf. Romans 10:1-5). 33

Many of those who advocate the New Perspective on Paul assume that the Jews believed in salvation by grace and that they did not have a problem with legalism. The Jews believed election into the covenant was by grace; works were only necessary to remain in it. This is a mixture of grace and works that Paul warned about (Rom 11:6). For a critique of the entire range of New Perspective thinking the reader is referred to By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification ed. by Gary L. W. Johnson and Guy P. Waters. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006 and The Gospel of Free Acceptance in Christ: an Assessment of the Reformation and the New Perspective on Paul by Cornelius Venema. Peoria, IL: Banner of Truth, 2006. 34

Robert H. Stein. Luke. Nashville: Broadman Press, 319.

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shall seems to dismiss Jesus’ answer is a salvation by works answer because the love God enjoins is “an inner disposition, not an outward qualification.”35 But this is only the unlawful mingling of law and grace. The lawyer was not told to be willing or desirous of helping his neighbor, but to do it! Notice, the lawyer does not ask, “What must I do to inherit eternal life as a demonstration of my faith in you?” Jesus does not say to the lawyer, “If you wish to inherit eternal life, then you must believe on Me and then prove your sincerity by your works.” Jesus simply tells him, “Do this and you will live,” presenting it as a lifestyle requirement. The lawyer shows at the outset that he is interested in earning eternal life through doing something. He believes that he can supply a work or works that are needed with or without God’s help. It is not a matter of faith, but performance. Jesus is not telling the lawyer that he is deficient in keeping the law and that he must try harder to demonstrate saving faith. Jesus told the disciples in the aftermath of the conversation with the rich young ruler, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). Jesus seems to be making the same point with the lawyer. His nature and inclinations go against what God Conviction of requires for eternal life. Therefore, he must come to the need must end of himself and trust Another to accomplish it for him. precede the preaching of While good works are certainly the Christian’s credentials, grace. it will not do to impose the morality of the law on those who are unsaved, unless they are depending on their legalism and sense no need of a Savior. This is using the law lawfully (I Tim. 1:8). No message of grace need be given to one who senses no need of grace. Once the admission of need comes about, then such a person can be told that he can be saved by grace through faith. Conviction of need must precede preaching of grace. This is why Jesus did not tell the lawyer, “He who believes in Me has eternal life” (Jn 6:47). Before we dismiss the message of grace from this passage, one should note that Jesus’ intent in coming was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10). Though we would shun past allegorical attempts in church history to explain the purpose of the parable of the Good Samaritan, we would point out that Jesus 35

I Howard Marshall. The Gospel of Luke: a Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1978, p. 442. Marshall adds, “Similarly, in 18:18-23 alms-giving and discipleship are the `qualifications’ for eternal life.” He is, of course, appealing to Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler which is addressed in this essay.

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was skillful in getting people to think. This is why He referred the lawyer to the law and this is why he used the parable to give a concrete example of the law’s application. We are not told the result, but there can be no doubt that the lawyer assisted in putting himself in an unfavorable light, thus bringing conviction to his conscience. The parable was like an unassuming innocent looking booby trap that exploded in his consciousness.36 There is no reason to overtly deny that there was one final explosion set to go off that could be used in bringing the lawyer to Christ after he saw his need. There are principles embedded within the parable that illustrate how someone who is lost can be saved. The reader will note that in the parable there is a man in desperate need and one who was willing to go to desperate lengths to meet that need. He risked and gave much to a person he never met and who was identified socially as an enemy. A paid-in-full rescue at the inn was accomplished for a man robbed of everything, and hence, had nothing to pay. Here we have a Samaritan, one who was despised who paid a great price and brought physical healing to the man who was half dead. And in Jesus we have One who was despised (cf. Isa. 53:3; Jn. 1:46; Matt 27:23-44) who paid a great price (cf. Matt 13:44-45; I Cor. 6:20; I Pet 1:18-19) and brought spiritual healing to enemies who were dead in trespasses and sins (cf. Rom. 5:10; Isa. 53:5 with I Pet 2:24). How can the lawyer inherit eternal life? By recognizing that he is incapable of saving himself by doing anything and permitting the Son of rescue him when he has nothing he can pay! One can readily visualize the lawyer at a future time upon reflection saying, “Yes, I will accept His offer though I don’t and never can deserve it.”37 Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow. 36

Haddon Robinson. “Who is My Neighbor?” Bryan Life. Winter 1984, p. 5.

37

“But where is the power in us to do and to keep doing without a break all that even the second table of the law requires, to say nothing of the first? Jesus is touching this lawyer’s conscience. His command which is so brief and simple, if it is acted on by this lawyer will soon show him all his selfish lack of love, all his inability to win life eternal by means of love, and thus make him ready to see . . . the blessedness of the grace which the Messiah Jesus brings to all who accept him by faith.” – Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing, 1946, p. 609.

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The “Feel” of Biblical Narrative Literature Tony Guthrie, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry/Preaching Doctor of Ministry Program Coordinator Chair of the Department of Pastoral Ministries A few years ago I was attending a preaching conference with the theme of Creativity in Preaching. Some of the most respected names from the field of preaching were keynote speakers and teachers. Among them was Haddon Robinson. I had long desired to meet Dr. Robinson so I eagerly attended his session on “Imagination in Preaching.” As he shared I found myself thoroughly engaged in his presentation. Although he lectured for almost an hour, there was one line that resonated in my thoughts. The line was simply, “If you don’t feel literature, then you aren’t really reading.” He was stressing the idea of actually becoming a part of the narrative as you read it. I was so intrigued by this thought that I chose not to stand in the line to meet him after his presentation. Instead, I took a stroll around the church premises and pondered that one line. Interestingly, over the years I had stressed this same idea many times to my students. Now that I had heard Robinson endorse the idea, I felt particularly vindicated. Too often, as exposi“If you don’t tors, we are so engrossed in discovering the spiritual feel literature, bottom line of a passage that we miss the true heart of it. This is particularly true of parabolic or narrative literature. then you aren’t We tend to practice what I call “guessegesis” rather then really reading.” pure exegesis. If we see a spiritual word (like “love”) or a phrase describing a sin (like “and he lay with her …”) we --Dr. Haddon eagerly grab hold of it as though it is the Holy Grail of the Robinson passage. Oftentimes these spiritual or “sinful” words and phrases are, in actuality, playing a supporting role. The true “star” of the story is completely missed because of our quest for obvious spiritual truth. This brings me back to Robinson’s notion of feeling the literature. I am now convinced, more than ever, that a significant goal of preaching biblical narrative is to help the listeners “feel the story.” By feeling it I mean they connect with it emotionally, within their senses, and in the spirits. In actuality they are lead to discover the meaning and implications for themselves once they are emotionally and spiritually connected to the story.

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I have had the privilege of serving as a Transitional Pastor for a number of years now. I have served in churches with different approaches to worship and certainly differences in listeners. I have preached in the most traditional and staid pulpits. I have preached in blended services. I have also preached in what one might consider the most radical of contemporary services. I have walked into all of these pulpits having read countless articles and chapters on “the postmodern listener.” I have been duly warned that if I do not understand certain traits of these “different” people then my preaching will likely be in vain. Please understand, I am not devaluing the information provided by scholars of postmodernity. I do believe we must take time to study cultural and social realities of our modern world. But I have wondered many times if the Lord Jesus, if He were preaching in this century, would change his approach in consideration of the post-modern audience. What I have discovered is that a little imagination (to use Robinson’s word) is really all that is needed to connect the text to any listener. Allow me to suggest two ways to accomplish this: 1. Become the proverbial “fly on the wall” What I mean by this is to change the way you currently read biblical narrative. Rather than search for what seems to be the obvious spiritual truth, envision the story in your mind as you read it. I constantly tell my students that I rarely prepare sermons in the study. I almost always prepare them in the sanctuary. While this may seem radical for some of you, let me ask what better place to see my listeners? People tend to always sit in the same place each Sunday. Therefore, I can see each one of them as I process the implications of the selected text for their lives. When I am in the sanctuary I read over the narrative countless times. I create in my mind the actual scene. I imagine I am walking with the Lord observing His actions and hearing His words. The implications often flow so quickly that I can’t jot them down fast enough. I become a part of the story. Most of us know that we can tell a story so much better, with vividness and flair, if we were actually a part of the event. I often shock my students by telling them to avoid the commentaries until after the “fly on the wall” process. If we read commentaries initially then commentators will guide our thinking. Too often they point us to the obvious spiritual words. Rarely do commentators investigate a narrative from the “fly on the wall” perspective. Commentaries are best used, in my opinion, as sources of confirmation rather than directors to truth. We want

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to turn to them for verification of our findings and to provide insights we may have missed or can’t discern from a cursory reading of the text. They will help us to see how the obvious “spiritual” words fit the narrative. So, become a fly on the wall and avoid those commentaries at first. This way you will begin to connect with the story. You will become a part of it. 2. Bring the biblical story into the 21st century Many people love college and professional football. Most of us know what it is like to attend an actual game. As we drive into the stadium parking lot we struggle with the lines of traffic and finding a parking space. As we head toward the stadium we walk with people who typically are dressed in jerseys and colors that represent their team. We pass by tailgaters cooking burgers and hot dogs. We are accosted by scalpers who want us to buy a ticket. We pass souvenir stands or individuals wanting us to purchase stuff related to the home team. As we enter the stadium we hand our tickets to tickettakers who scan them and give them back to us. Then, if we are carrying bags, we are searched to ensure we are not a terrorist. We then look for our seats and wait for the kickoff. Suppose we did all these things on a particular Saturday but no teams showed up to play. There we are with our jerseys, hot dogs, and enthusiasm; but no players actually play a game. What would we do in such a scenario? Obviously we would begin to search for answers to this injustice! We would ask people sitting near us, those we don’t even know, “What’s the deal?” We would check our tickets for date and time. We would call the ushers over and murmur to them. We would virtually “curse” the situation. Everything we have seen, experienced, and had been lead to believe said to us, “Game here today!” We would lose our trust in the entire football system. As you read the above you saw that scene in your mind. There is no way you could not have. Our minds think in pictures. You may have been at a different stadium rooting for a different team than I envisoned, but you no doubt created the scene. You even “felt” the scene. You felt the injustice. You probably remembered and sensed the smell of cooking burgers. Even while I am typing this my mouth is watering for a Wendy’s double with cheese! This reveals the power is bringing the biblical story into the 21st century. Now consider the following narrative from the Gospel of Mark:

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12

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. 15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: " 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" 18The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19When evening came, they went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!" 22"Have[d] faith in God," Jesus answered. 23"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In this passage Jesus approached a tree and a temple. Both appeared to be places of nourishment; one physical, one spiritual. He found both to be fraudulent. Everything about the tree, from a distance said, “Figs here!” Everything about the Temple and the activities surrounding it, from a distance said, “God here!” But upon close investigation, both were fraudulent. Both angered the Lord. Can you see the connection of this story to the football analogy? Can you see how telling the story of the fraudulent football game, which caused you to feel anger and injustice (and even smell cooking burgers), can be used as a creative and imaginative lead in to the story in Mark 11? The implication for the modern audience is simply this: Those who are truly Christians will not only look the part, but will exemplify the power reserved for those who live in faith. They will be powerful examples of sacrifice and prominent producers of spiritual fruit. In other words, they will not be fraudulent.

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So, here’s the takeaway. I contend that any person from any culture, whether young or old, male or female, modern or post-modern; can easily relate to this approach to biblical narrative. Why? Because they can feel it in their hearts, minds, and spirits. I trust you can see the value of this approach.

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Spring 2010

Lessons about Pastoral Care From the Parable of Luke 15 Ronald E. Cobb, D.Min Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Biblical Counseling At first glance Luke 151 would appear to contain three parables. Those who grew up in church can likely recall hearing sermons on the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15.3-7), the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15.8-10), and the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15.11-32). Yet, on closer examination of the entire chapter, we note that Jesus did not refer to three separate parables, He only spoke of one (Luke 15.3). G. Campbell Morgan eloquently makes this point in the following words: The answer of Jesus consists of one parable, not three. We generally say three parables, and there is a sense in which that is quite permissible: the man with the lost sheep, the woman and the lost silver, and the prodigal son. All such description is correct if we remember that this is one set address, continuous, consecutive, complete. It is therefore really one parable with three facets. The inclusive truth taught in the parable is that of the place of lost things in the economy of God: a lost sheep, a lost piece of silver, the lost son. He “It shows us showed in the entire parable how God acts in the presence of lost things. None of them is abandoned. All of them are valuable, and all God’s way of of them are sought; and the way of the finding of all is revealed. This finding His is the supreme value of the whole teaching. It shows us God’s way of lost things.” finding His lost things.2 Luke 15 is a picture of the heart of God and its tender compassion toward things that are lost. As Christian leaders who serve in the capacity of pastors, church staff members, missionaries, and leaders of parachurch ministries, we should have the same heart of God toward those who have lost their way. Doubtless, there will be manifold opportunities for pastoral care in the years ahead because, in the words of Jesus, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16.33b). Unlike the cynical scribes and Pharisees who chronically criticized Jesus (Luke 15.2) we, as Christian lay people and minis1

All Scripture references in this article will be from the New American Standard Bible (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1960) unless otherwise noted. 2

G. Campbell Morgan, The Parable of the Father’s Heart (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1949),

8.

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ters, must meet hurting people where they are with words of grace and hope rather than with words of judgment and condemnation. We are to demonstrate the same heart of God displayed in the parable of Luke 15. In this chapter we find at least three lessons about effective pastoral care. Lost Sheep Need Pastoral Care (Luke 15.3-7) Throughout the Bible people, including God’s people, are compared to sheep. Sheep have no natural defenses, so they are absolutely dependent on the protection offered by their shepherd. As shepherd-author Philip Keller points out, “They (sheep) have little or no means of self-defense. They are helpless, timid, feeble creatures whose only recourse is to run.”3 Sheep are not skilled at providing for themselves so they need a skilled shepherd who can lead them to food and water (Psalm 23.2). Sheep are lacking in intelligence and thus are prone to wander aimlessly away from the watch care of their shepherd. God the Father aggressively seeks after lost sheep who have wandered away from His tender care. Henri Nouwen pens the following words about the heart of God: This is the great mystery of our faith. We do not choose God, God chooses us. God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home. It might sound strange, but God wants to find me as much as, if not more than, I want to find God. I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find Him, but, instead, as the One who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding.4 We who do pastoral care represent God—we are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5.20). We may be the very face of God to those that are lost, dying, and in desperate need of pastoral care. During His earthly ministry Jesus, the Great Shepherd, grieved with compassion over the multitudes “because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9.36). Like the shepherds of old we must seek to meet the spiritual, the psychological, and even the physical needs of the hurting and wandering multitudes today.

3

Philip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), 36.

4

Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son (New York: Doubleday, 1994), 105-107.

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Those Who Experience Material Loss Need Pastoral Care (Luke 15.8-10) At first glance the story of the woman and the lost silver may not seem as compelling as the lost sheep and the lost son. After all, the others are living things, one representing the very livelihood of its owner and the other a beloved heir. Yet, as Warren Wiersbe explains, the lost silver had great significance for this dear woman: When a Jewish girl married, she began to wear a head-band of ten silver coins to signify that she was now a wife. It was the Jewish version of our modern wedding ring, and it would be considered a calamity for her to lose one of these coins. Palestinian homes were dark, so she had to light a lamp and search until she found the lost coin; and we can imagine her joy at finding it.5 We live in a time of loss. Not a day passes that we are not acutely made aware of our society’s economic woes. Jobs are lost and not easily replaced, fortunes are lost and not quickly recovered, and reputations are lost and We live in never restored. The loss of a precious possession, the loss of socioa time of economic status, or the loss of a promising career are devastating loss. and must never be minimized. It is worthy of note that when the woman recovered her lost coin, she responded the same way as the shepherd who recovered his lost sheep, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost” (compare Luke 15.9 and 15.6). As those who extend pastoral care to hurting people who are daily being impacted by life’s ups and downs we must stand ready to offer comfort, guidance, and strength to those experiencing loss and we must be prepared to rejoice with those who recover from life’s losses. In the words of the apostle Paul, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12.15). Perhaps this is part of what it means to “become all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9.22b). Those Struggling With Profound Loss Need Pastoral Care (Luke 15.11-32) How unimaginable must be the grief of one who loses a beloved child, regardless of the circumstances. That loss is further compounded when it occurs as the result of a deliberate choice by the child to abandon the relationship. Such is the circumstance of the grieving father in Luke 15.11-32. His younger son decided that he wanted his inheritance before his father’s death. This was a highly unusual request but not unheard of in the culture of Jesus’ day. Hendriksen comments: 5

Warren Wiersbe, Be Courageous (Wheaton, IL: Scripture Press Publications, 1989), 23-24.

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He probably knew that according to the law of Deuteronomy 21.17 one-third of the parental estate would be his when his father died. But he wanted that portion now. He could not wait. Now it must be granted that a father did at times make “gifts” to his children while he was still alive (Genesis 25.6), but this young man was not satisfied with a mere gift. He wanted his entire portion, and he wanted it here and now.6 Once the younger son had his inheritance in hand, he left his family for a distant country (Luke 15.13). The father was left to wonder about the fate of his son and to face the ostracism of a culture in which such an act as that perpetrated by his son was unparalleled in terms of foolishness and selfishness. Those who are pastors and Christian workers will doubtless be called upon to minister to those who have been similarly devastated by the thoughtlessly self-serving behavior of a loved one. Mike Yaconelli paints a powerful word picture of the father’s grief: The father has never recovered from the loss of his son. Hurt deeply, he obviously spends much of his day staring out into the barren, desolate landscape, mourning the loss of his son. It is a grief that makes each day colorless, a grief that quickens his eyesight and hearing. Every day he looks for his son, and every night he listens for his son.7 Since this extended parable is about the heart of God the Father, we would do well, as pastoral counselors and Christian ministers, to reveal the Father’s heart to those in dire need of pastoral care. Our heavenly Father seeks after that which is lost relentlessly, He deeply cares about the material losses of our life, and he teaches us to place the profound losses of life into His transforming hands. We teach the hurting soul to relinquish control of the circumstances of life into the safe care of a sovereign, merciful, and loving God. We can be confident that God will work in “all things” in such a way that “good” will be manifested in our lives because we belong to Him (Romans 8.28). The wise Christian will surrender his possessions, his livelihood, his reputation, his future, his family, his dreams—everything, into the loving purposes of a God who is for us (Romans 8: 31). Once the place of surrender is reached we can begin to be like the shepherd, the woman, and the father of Luke 15—we can rejoice (6, 9, and 22-24). Our rejoicing is not necessarily based on the restoration of that which was lost, our rejoicing 6

William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), 752-753.

7

Michael Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1998), 97-98.

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is grounded in the certainty that God “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4.17b). Ultimately, pastoral care, at its core is sharing about the heart of God the Father with those who have been battered about by the hard circumstances of life. Pastoral care, in a profound sense, is being the face and voice of a compassionate God to those who have all but lost hope. Pastoral care, in essence, is being “Jesus with skin on” to those desperate for a loving embrace from the heavenly Father.

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The Use of Parables in the Old Testament H. David Phillips, PhD Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew INTRODUCTION The Old Testament is not fertile ground for parables. This certainly is true in comparison to the New Testament where parables are a regular feature of the synoptic gospels. Yet one should understand that parables convey important truths in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. The word parable comes from the Greek word parabole which is related to parabollo, “to cast or place beside.”1 From the idea of casting beside came the idea of casting or placing beside for the comparison with something else.2 The idea of comparison is clear in that the word like is found in context with the word parable in the parable of the wheat and tares. Matthew 13:24 reads, “Another parable [parable] He put forth to them saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like [emphasis added] a man who sowed good seed in his field.’” In a parable, that which is not known is compared to that which is known. Thus, at the heart of a parable is comparison. The Old Testament word for parable is mashal whose root idea is like, which is similar to parabole. The closeness of the two words is seen in that the Septuagint consistently translates the Hebrew mashal with parabole. The Hebrew word, however, is more inclusive in meaning. It can mean proverb, parable, allegory, byword, taunt, and discourse.3 Interesting, it is not used in the Old Testament to introduce a parable in the restrictive sense.

1

A Greek-Hebrew Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3d ed., “parabole.” 2

Henry A. Virkler, Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), 162-63. 3

Victor P. Hamilton, “‫ָׁשל‬ ָ ‫מ‬,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

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Parable Explained A parable is an extended or continued simile.4 Sometimes there is difficulty in determining whether a particular Scripture should be considered a simile or a parable. This is not surprising since with respect to length no fine line distinguishing the two has been drawn. Indeed, C. H. Dodd in discussing figurative sayings, similitudes, and parables recognized this problem: “It cannot be pretended that the line can be drawn between these three classes of parable.”5 Sometimes, the question concerning whether a story is a parable as opposed to a simple simile is in the “eye of the beholder.” The difficulty of this question is demonstrated by the differing views of the number of the parables of Jesus; the number ranging from about thirty to about sixty. Some have a wider view of what constitutes a parable than do others. A parable is a literal story or at least is presented as such. While none of the stories can be linked to a real life event, the events of the story are easily recognizable as events that could very well have occurred. E. W. Bullinger stated as much, saying that a parable is a “story may be true or imaginary; but the events must be possible, or likely to have happened; at any rate those who hear must believe that they are possible events, though it is not necessary that the speaker should believe them.”6 The verbs in parables are in the past tense since the parable relates a past event. Parable Differentiated from a Similitude A parable should be distinguished from a similitude. A similitude is a simile in which comparison is based on a well-known truth. It is not presented in Scripture as a historical event. The verbs used are present tense since they express a characteristic of something. On the other hand, a parable is a literal event, or at least it is so presented. Archibald M. Hunter explained the difference: “The difference between a similitude and a story-parable is this: whereas the similitude bases itself on some familiar truth or process (like putting a patch on a garment or leaven into meal), the story-parable describes not what men commonly do but what one man did. ‘A sower went out to sow.’

4

Herbert Lockyer, All the Parables of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), 12, 16. 5

C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, 2d ed. (New York: Scribner, [1961]), 18.

6

E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (London: Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1898; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968), 752.

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‘A certain man made a great supper.’” Thus, similitudes should be rejected as true parables. Wider View of Parables Rejected Some commentators hold to what might be called a wider view of parables. H. L. Wilmington was one. He defined parable as “a placing beside or comparison of earthly truths with heavenly truths. It is an earthly story, often historical in nature, but not necessarily so, with a heavenly meaning.”7 This led him to discover a large number of parables in the Old Testament. Herbert Lockyer in his exhaustive treatment of the biblical parables follows this wider view after first suggesting a more restrictive view of the number of Old Testament parables.8 A brief consideration of the wider parables demonstrates that they are not true parables, at least in the sense of the parables of Christ. In all of these supposed parables, there is no literal, historical story used by a speaker to illustrate his message. For instance, the story of the marred girdle of Jeremiah 13:1-11 is sometimes identified as a parable.9 In it, God instructed Jeremiah to take his linen girdle to the Euphrates River and bury it. Later God instructed him to retrieve the girdle which, having been in contact with the earth, was degraded. The purpose was to demonstrate that the unfaithfulness of God’s people had rendered them unfit to serve God according to His purpose even as the corrupted girdle had lost its functionality. This story was not told as historical story. As given to Jeremiah, it was prospective. Therefore, it—and others like it—should be rejected as a parable. Another wider parable, given by some, is the harlot wife of Hosea (Hos 1-3).10 In the story God commanded Hosea to take a wife of harlotry. It was historical only in the sense that it was later fulfilled, but it was the telling of a historical story in a prophetic message. It was the message. In addition to not being a historical story, it was given to the prophet Hosea only. It was not used at the time as an illustration in a message to an audience. It is only related much later when Hosea wrote his book. Even then, it is 7

H. L. Wilmington, The Complete Book of Bible Lists (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers),

8

Lockyer, All the Parables of the Bible, 11-12, 27-122.

9

See, for instance, Wilmington, The Complete Book of Bible Lists, 225.

225.

10

Ibid., 226.

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not an illustration, but a report of God’s command to Hosea. This, of course, is not to discount the story in any way, but simply to point A parable is used out that it is not a parable. in much the same way as a preacher might do in illustrating a point in his sermon with a poignant story.

Some consider the story of the trees in Judges 9:7-15 to be a parable, but it is a fable.11 In the story the trees asked first for the olive tree to rule over them; then they asked the fig tree and the vine. Each in turn refused the proffered kingdom. Finally, the trees asked the bramble bush which readily agreed to be their ruler. The trees were symbolic of the people; the olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine were symbolic of Gideon and his good sons. The bramble bush represented the less than worthless Abimelech. Bullinger dismissed the story as a parable, saying that where “trees or animals [speak] or [reason], we have Fable.”12 Rightfully, the story is a fable. Purpose of a Parable

The purpose of a parable is to illustrate one point of a speech or message. A parable is used in much the same way as a preacher might do in illustrating a point in his sermon with a poignant story. As such, it illustrates one point. Details of a parable should not be pressed. Bullinger stated succinctly: “This likeness is generally only in some special point. One person may be like another in appearance, but not in character, and vice versa; so that when resemblance or likeness is affirmed it is not to be concluded that the likeness may be pressed in all points, or extended to all particulars.”13 Moreover, he added, “The resemblance is to be sought for in the scope of the context, and in the one great truth which is presented, and the one important lesson which is taught; and not in all the minute details which these happen to be associated.”14 The wisdom of not pressing the details of parables is shown by the allegorizing of the parables during the Middle Age and even until the time of Archbishop Trench.15 The result, of course, was interpretations that had little, if any, relation to their context. Augustine’s interpretation of the 11

See, for instance, Wilmington, The Complete Book of Bible Lists, 225.

12

Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, 752.

13

Ibid., 751.

14

Ibid., 752.

15

Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, 13.

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parable of the good Samaritan is a good example of allegorical interpretation. His interpretation was clearly outside the plain teaching of the parable.16 His interpretation of the details of the parable is arbitrary and contrary to the intent of the parable. For instance, Jericho means the moon, and the inn is the church.17 Moreover, some find more than one major teaching in parables.18 This should be rejected because a speaker uses an illustration to clarify one point in his message. This is not to deny that there are no minor points. Details, however, contribute to the major teachings. They are not major teachings. The major teaching of a parable can also be found in the parable’s context as well as the parable itself: that is, what the speaker says before or after the parable. In summation, a parable illustrates one point. It is or is perceived to be a historical event. It is part of a speech which is given to an audience by a speaker. According to this restrictive view, there are only five stories in the Old Testament that can be considered parables. The first Old Testament parable is the parable of the ewe lamb in 2 Samuel 12:1-4. The context of the parable is David’s failure to repent of his adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of Uriah, her husband. God sent Nathan to confront David (v. 1). Rather than directly confronting David, Nathan related a story of a rich man who, in order to entertain, a traveler took the only lamb of a poor man. This he did instead of taking an animal from his “flocks and herds” (v. 2). David was justifiably moved. Likely, David, having been a shepherd, disdained this action even more. Consequently, he demanded that the perpetrator be punished. After David was sufficiently enraged, Nathan sprang the trap. At that point David recognized that he was the rich man in the story. He had unwittingly condemned himself. To David’s credit, however, he repented (v. 13; Ps 51). David was a great sinner, but he was a greater “repenter.” The purpose of the parable was to bring David to repentance. The context implies that David could not bring himself to ask for God’s forgiveness. Through the simple story, David was brought to see his sin through the eyes of God and then to repent. If Nathan

16

Ibid., 11-12.

17

Ibid.

18

See, for instance, Craig L. Blomberg (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1990), 171 ff.

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had attempted to confront David directly, David would likely have been defensive and less likely to repent. One marvels at the genius of the parable: a recalcitrant king, resolved not to repent, was brought to repentance by such a simple story. The persuasive power of the parable was marvelous, if not miraculous. The second parable is the parable of two sons in 2 Samuel 14:1-24. The context of this parable is David’s yearning for the return of his rebellious son, Absalom. David was conflicted. Though he longed for Absalom, as king David was duty bound to judge his wayward son. With respect to this problem, Joab devised a plan. He recruited a woman to act out the part of a widow with a sad story about her two sons. In short, her two sons fought one another with one son killing the other. While she sought to save his life, her family sought to kill him. Although the story was fabricated by Joab, David bought the story and ordered that the remaining son be protected. Soon afterward, David realized that Joab had been the instigator of the event. Although David had been deceived, David was moved to bring Absalom back. The purpose of the parable was to relieve David’s inner conflict so that he could rule Israel properly. The incident caused David to confront the problem of Absalom’s absence. Joab probably had a personal reason. The character of Joab was such that he seems never to have done anything that in some way did not benefit him. The benefit may have been only that Joab was tired of the weak rule of David because of his longing for Absalom. Although the purpose is not stated in the text, it is a reasonable conclusion. The parable of the two sons does not rise to the level of the first parable of the ewe lamb. No doubt, it was convincing. Yet it was fraught with falsehood. The widow was not who she claimed to be; the story was false also. The third parable is that of the wounded prophet in 1 Kings 20:35-43. In this parable an unnamed prophet related a story to King Ahab to illustrate the king’s lack of faithfulness in disposing of Benhadad the Syrian king. First, the prophet had a man smite him to suggest that he had been in battle. Then he put ashes on his face to hide his identity from the king. When the king passed by the actor prophet, the prophet told the king a fictitious account of his being asked by another soldier–apparently of higher rank—to guard a prisoner. Moreover, if he were to fail to keep captive the prisoner, he was to

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have his life taken as punishment or pay a talent of silver. In the prophet’s account, the prisoner escaped. Upon hearing the story, King Ahab condemned the prophet to suffer the consequence of his negligence: “So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it” (v.40). When the prophet revealed himself to the king, the king recognized that he was the guard in the story and that Benhadad was the escaped captive. King Ahab had condemned himself. Recognizing this he went away sullen. The purpose of the parable was to confront King Ahab for not judging Benhadad and allowing him to return to his country after the Syrians had been defeated (1 Kgs 20:2330). The parable allowed the prophet to breach the reluctance of King Ahab to hear a prophet’s condemnation. That the prophet had to disguise himself shows this reluctance. The truth of the parable was well understood by Ahab, but it was for naught as Ahab demonstrated no repentance. In this parable the prophet related a fictitious story. Like the first two parables, it was an attempt to deceive the hearer. Unlike them, the parable did not fulfill its purpose. Ahab certainly understood the parable, but rejected it. He was personally moved, though not positively. The fourth parable is the parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-6. In this parable the prophet Isaiah told the story of a farmer who followed all of the proper procedures in order for his vineyard to produce sweet grapes. Yet the vineyard produced sour grapes. The purpose of the parable is to illustrate the faithfulness of God to direct His people spiritually to produce the sweet fruits of salvation. He did everything that could be done to this end, but to no avail; Judah was unfaithful and unproductive. The parable would have been easy for the hearers to understand. The country was agrarian. As such, the connection of good farming techniques and production was well understood. Although natural disasters might damage--even destroy--a crop, good farming methods would under normal conditions assure a good crop, that is, sweet grapes. Yet this was not true of God’s people. To Isaiah this was an enigma which was contrary to what was to be expected. The people were properly nurtured by God and should have been a righteous people; yet the opposite was true.

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This parable was doubtlessly understood by the hearers since Isaiah explained it in verses 3-6. No doubt also, it was rejected as Judah fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy of exile that was alluded to in the parable’s explanation (vv. 5-7). The fifth parable is the parable of the little city in Ecclesiastes 9:13-18. The value of wisdom is emphasized in this parable. The setting is a little city which was being threatened by an enemy king. Neither the city nor the king is identified. By the wisdom of a poor man, the city was delivered. Yet “no one had remembered” the poor man of the city because his poverty made his wisdom suspect. The conquering king, however, “found” him, and was impressed by the wisdom of the poor wise man and spared the little city. The text only indicates that the city was spared on account of his wisdom; it does not spell out his way of doing so. The parable teaches that wisdom is superior to strength (v. 16).19 CONCLUSION There are but five true Old Testament parables. Three of them are used to deceive the hearer. Even the parable of the ewe lamb that Nathan so eloquently delivered to David was deceptive. The parables of the two sons and of the wounded prophet are similar in that they are deceptive, but without the eloquence display by Nathan. These three parables do not fully measure up to the standard of Christ’s parables. Only the parable of the poor wise man and the parable of the vineyard are used as illustrations in a positive sense. Of these two, the parable of the vineyard comes closest to Jesus’ use of parables. The parable of the poor wise man is apparently a story in a written discourse and was never delivered to a live audience. This is not to say that it was lacking as a parable but only to suggest that it did not meet fully the model of Christ’s 19

Some have objected to the translation of the AV which translates “no one remembered” contending that the translation does not fit the context. In particular, verse 16 says that his wisdom was despised which would not make sense according to the translation of the AV (“no one remembered”). His wisdom would have been celebrated, not despised. Those who have objected to this translation have proposed the translation “no one might/could remember,” meaning that he did not actually deliver the city because he was despised and not called upon to do so. The Hebrew word for delivered is in the perfect state, however, which does not lend itself to being translated as a subjunctive. The subjunctive is expressed by the verb in the imperfect state. A better translation which is allowed by the perfect state is “no one had remembered.” That is, the poor man was not remembered until the time it was needed. Until that time he was despised. See H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Ecclesiastes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1952), 224.

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parables. Isaiah’s parable was probably given as part of a sermon, so it most closely follows the model of the parables of Christ.

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Parables and Pedagogy Marcia Bost, MEd Adjunct Professor of English I am always a little amused when secular researchers think they’ve discovered the concepts that the Bible has already revealed. A case in point is the recent highlighting of the value of storytelling in pedagogy, or the theory of education. Following the example of the Master teacher himself, Christians have long realized the value of stories. Since Jesus Christ used parables, Christians have never strayed far from that method of teaching. Secular education, however, spent half a century focused on the hands-on learning methods advocated by John Dewey. In the 1980’s a few educators began to write about the value of telling stories within the classroom. This article will focus on the connection of parables and stories, the value of stories within education and the possible use of stories as a means to bring Christ back into education, whether formal or informal. Relation of Parables and Stories Parables are of course brief stories, but a particular kind of story that teaches a lesson. In his article, Dr. Cocar has explored the biblical context of parables. I will add only this description: A parable is a fictitious or made up story designed to teach a lesson through comparison. When you hear the story, you can relate it to your own life. It is like an illustration for the points in a sermon. It conveys its message of truth through analogy, through comparison or contrast. . . . The power of a parable comes from the fact that you recognize that “that’s the way it is in real life.”1 A parable is thus a fictional story whose value is that it illustrates truth. Truth in Stories However, can truth be conveyed even through fictional or made up stories? The importance of the story, as Chuck Colson writes2, lies not in the factual representation of real1

Hampton Keathley IV, “Introduction to the Parables,” Bible.org website, http://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-parables (accessed Nov. 8, 2009). 2

Colson, Chuck, “Criticize by Creating: Art Within.” Pub. Sept. 25, 2002. http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/3020-criticize-by-creating (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009).

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ity but in the truth of the concepts conveyed. Also, fables have often been used to teach such truths. Marni Gillard, a teacher who became a professional storyteller, also points to this use, noting that these stories about animals “exposed human predicaments and foibles yet spoke a useful truth.”3 In addition to fables, other fictional works such as novels can teach concepts. Tim Winton, an Australian Christian writer, muses about his craft in an interview: Stories are fundamental to humans; they’re meat and potatoes. They have the capacity to shift our furniture. In the case of novels, we know we’re reading something that is not real, yet we can finish it with the conviction that it has been true. A good novel leaves the reader with a sense of unfinished business, a lingering provocation.4 Thus, concepts and even truths can be expressed through fictional stories. Judeo-Christian and Other Traditions Because the Jewish tradition has a particular link with contemporary storytelling, several Jewish storytellers have given their perspectives. One example is Pininnah Schram, storyteller and author, who describes the link between the Bible and stories: The Jews have always loved and told stories. The rabbis understood the importance of story in teaching and transmitting values and traditions. A story is a beautiful means of teaching religion, values, history, traditions, and customs: a creative method of introducing characters and places; an imaginative way to instill hope and resourceful thinking. Stories help us understand who we are and show us what legacies to transmit to future generations.5

3

Marni Gillard,Storyteller, Story Teacher: Discovering the Power of Storytelling for Teaching and Living. (York, MA: Stenhouse Publishers, 1966), 89. 4

Paul Mitchell, “Not Real but True: Tim Winston and the Spirit of Fiction,” Breakpoint Website, published 14 April 2008. http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/articles/1188-not-real-but-true (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009), 5-6. 5

Peninnah Schram. “Collections from the People of the Story.” In The National Storytelling Association. Tales as Tools: The Power of Story in the Classroom. (Jonesborough, TN: The National Storytelling Press, 1994), 176-178.

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Thus, Jews, as well as Christians, have always appreciated the effectiveness of storytelling. In addition to our ultimate model in the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians have another motivation for using stories in teaching: creating out of our position as children of the Creator. C.S. Lewis writes about this insight which he attributes to his friend R. J. Tolkien: The appeal of the fairy story lies in the fact that man there most fully exercises his function as a ‘subcreator’: not as they love to say now, making a ‘comment upon life’ but making, so far as possible, a subordinate world of his own. Since, in Tolkien’s view, this is one of its functions, delight naturally arises whenever it is successfully performed. For Jung, fairy tale liberates Archetypes which dwell in the collective unconscious, and when we read a good fairy tale we are obeying the old precept ‘Know thyself.’6 However, the use of storytelling is not confined to the JudeoChristian tradition, but is widespread among many cultures of the world. The transcultural dimension of stories is highlighted by Norma J. Livo and Sandra A. Rietz, traditional storytellers, who in their in-depth volume on storytelling make this comment:

“Story is a mystery that has the power to reach within each of us…”

“Story” is a mystery that has the power to reach within each of us, to command emotion, to compel involvement, and to transport us into timelessness. “Story” is a structural abstraction perhaps built into human memory, a way of thinking, a primary organizer of information and ideas, the soul of a culture, and the mythic and metaphoric consciousness of a people.7 They further claim that storytelling began soon after the acquisition of oral language8 and give examples of storytelling from cultures as diverse as Ireland, Russia, and the Skagit peoples from Seattle, Washington. 6

C.S. Lewis. “On Three Ways of Writing for Children” in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories. Walter Hooper, ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World Inc., 1966), 27. 7

Livo, N.J. & Rietz. S.A. Storytelling: Process and Practice. (Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited,

1986), 2. 8

For biblical creationists, of course, that would mean from the beginning of the human race, though that is not what the cited authors meant.

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Other secular educators also recognize the universality of stories and storytelling. For example, Sarah Malone, a school counselor, comments: Storytelling has been an important communication tool from time immemorial, its power laying partly in this history. It is, in the Jungian sense, archetypal—so intrinsic to the human condition that it resides, to quote a Spanish expression, in the bone marrow (en la medulla).9 Thus, the storytellers and educators both testify to the universal status of stories and storytelling. The Value of Using Stories in Education Chuck Colson also points out the value of stories and their close relation to parables, noting, “moral propositions are absorbed much more easily through images and the medium of storytelling than through dry, theological treatises.” He reminds us that stories “both express and shape our beliefs and values.” Colson also describes how Jesus made an effective use of stories: He could have simply said, "Take care of people who are hurt and victimized." Instead, He spun the tale of the Good Samaritan. He could have just said, "God forgives your sins, so forgive others." Instead, He told the parable of the unmerciful servant. Why? Because a story gets at aspects of truth that are beyond the power of didactic teaching.10 The effectiveness of stories in the form of fables (a second cousin to parables) is also acknowledged by secular educators. Gillard comments that she was drawn to by fables as a child. “Many fables reminded me of myself in some way, and the caution they offered was more palatable than the advice offered directly by parents and teachers. To this day, a story-based sermon is more likely to linger with me than a lecture.”11 She 9

Sarah Malone. “Therapeutic Storytelling in the School Setting.” In The National Storytelling Association. Tales as Tools: The Power of Story in the Classroom. (Jonesborough, TN: The National Storytelling Press, 1994), 149. 10

Colson, Chuck, “Criticize by Creating: Art within.” Pub. Sept. 25, 2002. http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/3020-criticize-by-creating (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009). 11

Gillard, 90.

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also states that even personal tales can contain a fable, a moral that can be discovered.12 Thus, stories whether they are categorized as parables, fables, or novels, convey concepts in ways that other genres cannot. Furthermore, stories are the unacknowledged center of education, according to some educators. Vivian Gussin Paley, an award winning author and kindergarten teacher, stated in an interview: This [the incorporation of concepts] is what education is all about, is it not, and where do we get it from? Story. It is story that enables us to see things on many levels. It is the original scientific thinking. Cause and effect. Many approaches. Many prisms through which you view a single event.13 Paley also points out that learning through stories takes place at all educational levels, even in college.

Oral storytelling should be “the heart of the curriculum.”

Other educators have come to realize the educational benefits of stories and storytelling in the classroom. Betty D. Roe, et. al., gives the educational reasons for using stories in K-12 classrooms, including the need to develop all five language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking. Sharon Dailey in the introduction to Tales as Tools states that the storyteller also teaches in many communities. She adds, “That role is rooted in the almost instinctive understanding that real learning takes place when both intellect and emotions are brought into play. We remember those things we care deeply about, and we understand those things we can see clearly.”14 In addition to the teacher acting as a storyteller, Mark Wagler recommends making oral storytelling “the heart of the curriculum.” Teaching with narrative processes allows us to place images before ideas, hear the fragments of personal stories that are as pervasive as air, harmonize disparate subjects in integrated learning, accept children’s experience as the key to 12

Ibid, 91-92.

13

Marge Cunningham, “The Moral of the Story.” In The National Storytelling Association. Tales as Tools: The Power of Story in the Classroom. (Jonesborough, TN: The National Storytelling Press, 1994),12. 14

Sharon Dailey, “Introduction,” In The National Storytelling Association. Tales as Tools: The Power of Story in the Classroom. (Jonesborough, TN: The National Storytelling Press, 1994),2.

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learning instead of a distraction from the concepts they are supposed to learn, and use narrative not only to study ‘literature’ but also to explore every category of experience.15 Setting aside the conventional objective-driven lesson plan, Kieran Egan, a professor of education, even recommends using the concept of storytelling as an organizing principle for lesson planning. “A major point of this book is that teaching is centrally concerned with efficiently organizing and communicating meaning, and so we will sensibly use a planning model derived from one of the world’s most powerful and pervasive ways of doing this.”16 The planning model that he recommends is asking the question, “What’s the story here?” So, stories and storytelling can have a major impact in the learning that takes place within our classrooms. Storytelling As a Way To Reach Non-Christians Outside of the classroom stories and storytelling may even be the only way to reach non-Christians today. Colson tells the tale of an encounter with a famous movie producer. As he talks with this man, neither his personal testimony nor the authority of the Bible breaks through the man’s defenses. Only when he points to the modern dilemma of conscience in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors does Colson get the man’s attention.17 Thus, a story is the means of gaining a hearing for the gospel. Colson concludes, “Modern America used to resemble Jerusalem, but it is becoming increasingly like Athens. It is our task—in the post Christian 1990s—to utilize contemporary culture as a tool to introduce the message of salvation.”18 The post Christian trends Colson spotted in the 1990s have only become more pronounced, making stories even more of a necessary tool to reach those outside the community of faith.

15

Mark Wagler. “Jailbreak! Storytelling in Room 103.” In The National Storytelling Association, Tales as Tools: The Power of Story in the Classroom. (Jonesborough, TN: The National Storytelling Press, 1994), 22. 16

Kieran Egan, Teaching as Story Telling: an Alternative Approach to Teaching and Curriculum in the Elementary School(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986), 38. 17

Colson, Chuck. “A Tale of Two Cities: Apologetics for a Post-Christian World.” Breakpoint Web site. Published August 7, 1997. http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/4678-a-tale-of-two-cities accessed Oct. 7, 2009 18

Ibid.

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Part of the storytelling in this culture is of course film. Two BreakPoint authors write about a vision of Christians in Hollywood. Gina Dalfonzo shares this comment: Storytelling is the way human beings learn. It is the way we define our values. It gives us heroes and noble dreams. Entertainment is the way we stretch ourselves beyond the limits of our work a day world to experience the depth of our human nature. Our entertainment should lead us to laugh hard and to cry with empathy and to feel exhilaration and wonder.19 Alex Wainer also suggests that movies, television and other media can be “cinematic parables” that can “take us out of ourselves for a while and bring us back with a glimpse of something true, with a smile, or a tear, or both.”20 Not all movies will become a parable, however, as noted by reviewers Gardner and Kerr. The movie Pretty Baby, which they reviewed, certainly did not have that value.21 Indeed, Christians should proceed with caution when trying to use stories. As Winton comments, A novel isn’t a very good rhetorical tool. It poses better questions than answers. The novels with the most polemic, the most bald-face attempts to persuade, are those the reader turns away from most quickly, so instinctively. You really have to bend a story out of shape to fulfill an ideological mission. The shape becomes inhuman, inauthentic. Art contains argument, but in the end art cannot usually be contained by argument.22

19

Dalfonzo, Gina “A Vision for Christians in Hollywood.” August 11, 2008http://www.breakpoint.org/tp-home/blog-archives/7446-a-vision-for-christians-in-hollywood (Accessed Oct 7, 2009). 20

Wainer, Alex. “Are you not Entertained? What it takes to Deliver to Audiences.” June 1, 2007. http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/articles/1441-are-you-not-entertained (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009). 21

Gardner, Freda and Hugh T. Kerr. “Notes from ‘Pretty Baby’ – a Film Critique. Theology Today 35, no 3, (October 1978) Critics Corner. http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/oct1978/v35-3-criticscorner4.htm p. 333 (Accessed Sept. 10, 2009). 22

Mitchell, 3.

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C. S. Lewis notes: “On that side (as an Author) I wrote fairy tales because Fairy Tales seemed the ideal form for the stuff I had to say.”23 He goes on to say that recasting the Christian truths “into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations” could enable Christians in the middle of the twentieth century to regain the real potency of those truths.24 Lewis states that he always started with an image, instead of a doctrine or moral. He cautions that the idea that really matters becomes lost or blunted as the story gets underway. I must now add that there is a perpetual danger of this happening in all stories. To be stories at all they must be a series of events: but it must be understood that this series—the plot, as we call it—is only really a net whereby to catch something else. The real theme may be, and perhaps usually is, something that has no sequence in it, something other than a process and much more like a state or quality.25 He states, “The story itself should force its moral upon you. You find out what the moral is by writing the story.”26 Christian writers who wish to reach the disbelieving world must therefore be careful not to sermonize, but to let the story itself reveal its concepts to the reader. CONCLUSION In summary, stories (whether categorized as parables, fables, novels or films) can convey concepts difficult to explain by other methods. Widely used in different cultures and times, stories are thought by some to be effective because they make use of the way our brains are wired. Their long acceptance makes them an effective tool for reaching across boundaries. Inside and outside the classroom, stories can be powerful tools for teaching, tools that can break down the barriers erected by postmodern disbelief. Christians are uniquely poised to tell stories since the Bible itself tells many sacred stories of God’s pursuit of man. This may be the moment for Christians to tell their stories in lively and convincing ways. 23

C. S. Lewis, “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s to Be Said,” On Stories and Other Essays on Literature. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), 47. 24

Ibid.

25

Ibid, 17.

26

Ibid, 145.

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The Surety of the Resurrection of Christ And Those Who Are in Him By Steven L. Cox, Ph.D. Research Professor of Greek and New Testament Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary Cordova, TN

The glory and Divinity of Jesus Christ is demonstrated through the resurrection and its ramifications upon believers. John MacArthur affirmed, “The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter.”1 Due to the nature of this article, a consideration of the meaning and use of egeirō and anistēmi/anastasis is essential, from the Septuagint and the New Testament, with a focus of the use of these words in the Pauline corpus. The first section will be a word study of inflected forms of egeirō and anistēmi/anastasis. Inflected forms of egeirō occur in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; however, cognates of both verbal forms do occur in subsequent passages of 1 Corinthians 15. The second section will discuss the role of the doctrine of resurrection of Christ in the kerygma. Christ’s resurrection is the central part of apostolic preaching. The third section will discuss the resurrection appearances that Paul listed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Though 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 is the focus of this article, the accounts of resurrection appearances not listed in this text will also be discussed. The fourth and final section will list references pertaining to the resurrection by non-canonical sources such as Josephus, Tacitus, Seutonius, Pliny, and Lucian. A conclusion will follow the body of this article. Word Studies of egeirō and anistēmi/anastasis The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is “is referred to explicitly in seventeen books of the New Testament and is implicit in most of the remaining ten. Nearly all of the letters within the Pauline corpus refer to it (the exceptions are 2 Thess, Titus, Philem).”2 Inflected forms of the verb anistēmi (“raise up”) occur only five times in 1

John MacArthur, 1 Corinthians (Chicago: Chicago, 1984), 398.

2

G. F. Hawthorne, R. P. Martin, and D. G. Reid, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993), s.v., “Resurrection,” by L. J. Kreitzer.

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the New Testament, with reference to the resurrection, both of Christ (1 Thess 4:14; Rom 15:12) and of the believer (1 Thess 4:16; Eph 5:14). Thayer defined anistēmi in two sections. The first is “a raising up or rising” as from a seat; whereas, the second is “a rising from the dead.”3 Paul used inflected forms of anastasis four times in 1 Corinthians 15 (1 Cor 15:12, 13, 21, 42) and no occurrence of this word appeared in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Paul also used inflected forms of the verb egeirō (I raise up) eight times in this same chapter (1 Cor 15:4, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 52) with one occurrence in our text of study. The inflected verbal form egēgertai, in 1 Corinthians 15:4, is a perfect passive indicative third singular form from egeirō.4 L. Coenen suggested, that egeirō, especially in the pass[ive] is used predominantly for what happened at Easter, i.e. the wakening of the Crucified to life, while anistēmi and anastasis refer more specifically to the recall to life of people during the earthly ministry of Jesus and to the eschatological and universal resurrection.”5 This verb has two general uses with contextual variations according to each of the two general uses. The first use is that with the active voice in which egeirō is translated “wake, rouse.”6 Within specific uses of egeirō in the first classification a variety of uses may be found: “[the waking] of sleeping persons” (Mt 8:25; Acts 12:7); “raise, help to rise of a pers[on] sitting down or lying down" (Acts 3:7; Mk 1:31; 9:27); “lift up [as used in Josephus], . . . Bell. [Jewish Wars] 5.471 speaks in the pass[ing] of the dust that ‘is raised;’” “raise up, erect, restore of buildings [as in] Dio Chrys[ostom] 11[12], 18;” in a figurative sense “raise up, bring into being” ([LXX] Jgs 2:16, 18; Mt 3:9; Lk 3:8); and in

3

Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977), 41-42. 4

The verb egeirō (“raise,” “cause to rise”) appears thirty-eight times in the New Testament with reference to the resurrection (Rom 4:24, 25; 6:4, 9; 7:4; 8:11 (twice), 34; 10:9; 13:11; 1 Cor 6:14; 15:4, 12, 13, 14, 15 (twice), 16 (twice), 17, 20, 29, 32, 35, 42, 43 (twice), 52; 2 Cor 1:9; 4:14 (twice); 5:15; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; 5:14; Col 2:12; 1 Thess 1:10; 2 Tim 2:8. 5

Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), s.v., “Resurrection,” by L Coenen. 6

Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, third edition, revised and edited by Frederick Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), s.v., egeirō. Please note that all materials from footnote 6 through footnote 9 in quotation marks refer to comes from this same source.

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the imperative mood “get up!, come!” (Mt 9:5f; Mk 2:9, 11; 3:3; 10:49; Lk 5:23f; 6:8; Jn 5:8; Rv 11:1).7 The second use is that with the passive voice in which egeirō is translated “wake up, awaken fr[om] sleep.”8 Within specific occurrences of egeirō in the first classification a variety of uses may be found: "awaken fr[om] sleep (that is, thoughtless indolence) Rom 13:11 (compare with Epictetus 2. 20.15, . . . fr[om] the sleep of carelessness);” “rise, get up of those who have awakened” (Mt 2:13f, 20f; 8:26; Lk 11:8); “who were sitting down” (Mt 9:19; Lk 13:25; Jn 11:29;” “of the sick” (Mt 8:15; 9:7); "of those called back to life" (2 Kgs 4:31) Mt 9:25; Lk 7:14; Jn 13:4); “of one who has fallen” (Acts 9:8); “be raised, rise” (Is 26:19; compare 2 Kgs 4:31), examples “of one who has died" (Lk 16:30, “but esp[ecially] of Christ “being raised from the dead]” (Mk 6:14; Lk 9:7; Jn 2:22; 21:14; Rom 6:4, 9; 8:34; 1 Cor 15:12, 20; 2 Tm 2:8); “of nations rising in arms” (Jer 6:22); and “rising or appearance of prophets” (Mt 1:11; Lk16; Jn 7:52); “appearance or rising of false prophets” (Mt 24:11, 24; Mk 13:22); “appearance or rising of accusers in court" (Mt 12:42; Lk 11:31); or “get up! let us be going” (Mt 26:46; Mk 14:42; Jn 14:31).9 The Resurrection in the Primitive Kerygma MacArthur recognized the centrality of the resurrection of Christ in His teachings: He [Jesus] taught His disciples that “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mk 8:31; cf. 9:9, 31). He said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies” (Jn 11:25).10 The focus on the resurrection of Christ continued in the apostolic preaching and teachings. The book of Acts records four sermons which contain the same basic kerygmatic outline. The death and resurrection of Christ are the centerpieces of this great message. Birger Gerhardsson noted, “Crucifixion was the same as annihilation: the criminal was not only tortured and liquidated, he was also crushed socially, in maximum disgrace.”11 7

Ibid.

8

Ibid.

9

Ibid.

10

MacArthur, 398.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry The first example of this message is found in Acts 2:22-38 with the sketch of Peter’s sermon: a. b. c. d. e.

Jesus lived on earth and did good deeds--historical (Acts 2:22) He was crucified--historical (Acts 2:23-24) God raised him from the dead--historical (Acts 2:29) He fulfilled the Scriptures--historical (Acts 2:34-35) People must repent and believe in Him for salvation--historical/spiritual (Acts 2:36-38) f. Converts will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit-historical/spiritual (Acts 2:38). “For physical death MacArthur noted, “At Pentecost Peter quoted from is one of the evils Psalm 16 and then commented that David, the author countered and overof the Psalm, ‘looked ahead and spoke of the come by Christ’s resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither resurrection.” abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay’ --Millard J. (Acts 2:25–31).”12 Erickson Acts 4:1-20 is an account of Peter’s defense which was marked by a fresh in-filling with the Holy Spirit. This was a fulfillment of Jesus’ words: don’t plan your defense ahead of time (Lk 21:14-15). The main defense was the lame man now is standing and he is healthy. Note that Peter used the same outline as in Acts 2:22-38. Likewise in Acts 10:34-43 Peter preached to Cornelius, a God-fearer, and his household. The opening words show a tremendous breakthrough for Peter in that God does not show partiality with regard to Jew or Gentile. Acts 10:34-43 contains the same kerygmatic outline. The kerygmatic outline in Acts is not limited to Peter, for Paul used this same outline in Acts 13:16-52. Acts 13:16-52 defined Paul’s method of missiology and sermon outline. He preached this kerygmatic message to the Jews in the local synagogue first, then to Gentiles.

11

Birger Gerhardsson, "Evidence for Christ’s Resurrection According to Paul: 1 Cor 15:1-11,” Neotestamentica et Philonica (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2003), 77. 12

MacArthur, 402.

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Millard J. Erickson contended: “For physical death is one of the evils countered and overcome by Christ’s resurrection. He was himself delivered from physical death. This verse [1 Cor 15:21], then, is proof that physical death came from humans’ sin; it was not part of God’s original intention for the human race.”13 The evangelistic preaching in Acts demonstrated the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Sure, many people lived a life that was viewed as moral and good and were crucified; however, no one was sinfree as Jesus was/is. Physical death has been defeated through the resurrection of Christ. It is obvious that humans still die; however, death’s finality has been removed. Erickson contended, “Paul attributes to sin the power that physical death posses in the absence of resurrection.”14 The resurrection fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures and is the essence of repentance and faith and the gift of the Holy Spirit. George Eldon Ladd correctly observed, “The tradition [based on historical fact] about the resurrection of Jesus must be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth (Rom 10:8-9), and issues in salvation. Such confession is possible only through the Holy Spirit (I Cor 12:3).”15 The Resurrection of Christ - Our Prototype

Jesus’ resurrection is unique, for it was the defeat of death, not a temporal return to life like the raising of Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:41-44). Jesus predicted several times that He would rise from the dead. (See egeirō in Mt 16:21; 17:9, 23; 20:19; 26:32; 27:63-66; Mk 14:28; Lk 9:22; and anistēmi in Mk 8:31; 9:9, 31; 10:34; Lk 18:33; 24:7, 44-47). David E. Garland has listed several elements that make Christ’s death unique: 1. the manner of his death, which is so foolish and scandalous to the world; 2. the purpose of his death as an atonement that expiates human sins and extricates them from the tentacles of sin and death; 3. the universal consequences of his death for all who will trust, not just for a particular city, nation, or group; 4. the conformity of his death to God’s purposes revealed in the Scriptures; and 5. his being raised by God to life after death.16 13

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (2 ed.; Baker: Grand Rapids, 1983; repr. 1998), 1176.

nd

14

Ibid., 630.

15

George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1974; repr., 1986), 389. 16

David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 685. With regard to the second point, this writer prefers the word “propitia-

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Some scholars have questioned the corroboration between Paul’s early list of resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 and the Gospel narratives.17 This seems to imply at least that the various Christian communities were unaware of what the others were teaching with regard to the resurrection of Christ. One must remember, The very fact that the Corinthian Christians themselves, and all other Christians everywhere, had received the gospel and believed in Jesus Christ and had been miraculously changed, was in itself a strong evidence of the power of the gospel, which power is in the resurrection of Christ.18 This section will consider the charge that there is little, if any, correlation between the pre-canonical accounts of the resurrection, the Pauline six-fold catalogue of resurrection appearances, and the Gospel accounts of this great event. Likewise, this section will offer general comments regarding various details of Jesus’ resurrection appearances listed in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8.

“Nor is the resurrection of Jesus an isolated event…” --Erickson

The four canonical Gospels mention the empty tomb within their resurrection narratives (Mt 28:6; Mk 16:6; Lk 24:2; Jn 20:4–7). L. J. Kreitzer argued, “Paul does explicitly mention the burial of Jesus (1 Cor 15:4; cf. Rom 6:4), he nowhere mentions the empty tomb in connection with the resurrection.”19 The empty tomb is implied in 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (See also Mt. 27:64; Lk 24:46.) Based on the fact that Christ died in behalf of our sins, Millard Erickson maintained:

tiom” where Jesus not only “extricates human sins and extricates them,” as Garland stated, but He also took upon Himself and suffered wrath from the Father. Note that Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2, and 4:10 where inflected forms of hilasmos occur and are translated by the ESV, HCS, KJV, NASB, NASB (1995), NKJV as “propitiation”; whereas, the NIV translates these inflected forms and cognates as “atoning sacrifice.” This writer vies anything other than “propitiation” as a watered-down translation. 17

John E. Alsup, The Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories of the Gospel Tradition: A History-ofTradition Analysis with Text-Synopsis (Calwer Theologische Monographien 5; Stuttgart, Germany: Calwer Verlag, 1975), 57. 18

MacArthur, 399.

19

S.v., “Resurrection,” by L. J. Kreitzer.

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Nor is the resurrection of Jesus an isolated event; it is the beginning of the general resurrection of all believers (1 Cor 15:20 in conjunction with Rom 1:3-4). Furthermore, the fact of coming judgment pertains to everyone. We will all be evaluated on the basis of our personal attitude toward and response to the gospel.20

Note that Garland held that the phrase “‘According to the Scriptures’ may apply only to the resurrection (see Ps 16:9b-10; 56:13; 116:8) rather than to the resurrection on the third day.”21 Jan Lambrecht correctly noted, “Resurrection, however, is not as immediately affected by the burial as is death.”22 By the mention of burial between “Christ died” and “He was raised,” the empty tomb of the Gospels is surely implied. Robert H. Stein held that the omission is due to Paul’s apologetic concerns: “When it came to the resurrection appearances, the apostle could argue on equal terms with the other disciples. He, too, had seen the Lord! He could not, however, say the same about the empty tomb.”23 David Fergusson correctly observed that 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “indicates that the resurrection is conceived of as an event in the personal destiny of Jesus which made possible his subsequent appearances to Jesus.”24 Several scholars maintain “the fact that verses 3-8 contains a formula which Paul has taken over from the church traditions/[kerygma] is proved not only by his own explicit statement, but also by an analysis.”25 The Pauline six-fold catalogue of Christ’s resurrection appearance in 1 Corin20

Erickson, Christian Theology, 1073.

21

Garland, 1 Corinthians, 687.

22

Jan Lambrecht, “Line of Thought in 1 Cor 15, 1-11,” Gregorianum 74.4 (1991): 663.

23

Robert H. Stein, “Was the Tomb Really Empty," Themelios 5 (1979): 12.

24

David Fergusson, “Interpreting the Resurrection,” Scottish Journal of Theology 38.3 (1985):

292. 25

Hans Conzelman, 1 Corinthians, Hermenia, translated by James W. Dunkly (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975), 251. See also C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1968), 337; Craig Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, in The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 295-96; Gerald L. Borchert, “The Resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15,” Review and Expositor 80 Summer (1983): 401; F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, in The New Century Bible Commentary (ed. Matthew Black; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; London: Marshall, Morgan, and Scott Publishing, Ltd., 1971), 138; John Calvin, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, in Calvin’s Commentaries (eds. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, trans. by John W. Fraser; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), 313; Garland, 1 Corinthians, 683-94; Birger Gerhardsson, “Evidence for Christ’s Resurrection According to Paul: 1 Cor 15:1-11,” in Neotestamentica et Philonica Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2003), 80; Frederic Louis Godet Commentary on First Corinthians (Grand Raids: Kregal, 1977), 758; Gary R. Habermas, “Knowing That the Resurrection Occurred: A Response to Stephen Davis,” Faith and Philosophy 1 Spring (1985):

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thians 15:3-8 is not all-inclusive. Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:14–16) and He appeared to two disciples on the Emmaus road (Lk 24:25-31). Critics such as Joseph Klausner have errantly argued that the concept of the resurrection of Christ was not really a historical phenomenon, but an invention of an questionable people like Peter and Mary Magdalene (not mentioned in 1 Cor 15).26 a. “He appeared to Cephas (Peter)” (1 Cor 15:5a). The timing of this appearance is not told in Scripture; however, it was sometime after the appearance to Mary Magdalene and the two disciples mentioned above (Peter and an unnamed disciple). Not only is this event clearly paralleled in Luke 24:34, but along with the early pre-Pauline report, John Kloppenburg identified the Lucan account as another early, pre-Gospel creedal comment.27 Paul Illingworth and Howard Hatton identified ophthē as: “He appeared is literally ‘he was seen,’ a verb form often used in Greek when speaking of supernatural appearances. In some languages it is possible to render this verb as ‘let himself be seen’ or ‘he showed himself to.’”28 More specifically, Garland identified “the usage of the

296; Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (ed. James Luther Mays; Louisville: John Knox, 1997), 255; Richard C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Pauk’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1937), 630; and Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek Text, in The New International Greek Testament Commentary, edited by I. Howard Marshall and Donald A. Hagner (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans and Carlise: The Paternoster Press, 2000), 1186-87. 26

Joseph Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times, and Teachings (trans. Herbert Danby: London: George Allen and Unwin, 1925), 356-59. Critical objections to the resurrection include a variety of theories. The first theory is “Jesus did not die on the cross. The argument runs that Jesus, overcome by pain and physical exhaustion, fainted and was mistakenly taken down as dead. In the coolness of the tomb He revived, and later the women found it empty. They concluded that He was alive and wonderful stories began to circulate. But such an explanation bristles with difficulties. The skilled Roman executioners were not likely to have allowed burial before Jesus was really dead. And how did He get out of the tomb? How could this weak, wounded person stimulate the disciples into the vigorous life of the early chapters of Acts? What became of Jesus? Where did He live and how and where did He finally die? Questions multiply and answers do not appear.” The second “is to be found in hallucinations. The disciples were in earnest and really believed that Jesus had risen, but it was all illusion; there was nothing real to correspond to their ‘visions.’ At first sight plausible, all such theories ignore what is known about hallucinations. These happen to people more or less expecting them, but the disciples (especially Thomas) never imagined seeing Jesus again. Hallucinations tend to continue once started, but the appearances were mostly on the first day and they ceased abruptly after forty days. Hallucinations are personal, but Paul said that more than five hundred people saw the risen Jesus at one time. The resurrection appearances simply do not conform to the best knowledge about hallucinations.” 27

John Kloppenborg, “An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula in 1 Cor 15:3b-5 in Light of Some Recent Literature,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 40 (1978): 358. 28

Paul Ellingsworth and Howard A. Hatton, A Translator’s Handbook on Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, in the United Bible Society Handbook Series; Helps for Translators (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 332.

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verb in the LXX, in which it became a technical term for the appearance of God or God’s messengers (cf. Gn12:7; 26:24; 35:1, 9; Ex 3:14-16).”29 According to Gerhardsson: The expression [ophthē] reflects the belief, not that the dead body of Jesus had been resuscitated and that certain witnesses caught sight of him in a normal earthly way, but that Jesus appeared himself from the celestial world. . . . The focus of the text is not on the seeing of the witnesses but on the appearances of the resurrected Jesus.”30 MacArthur assumed the reason Jesus appeared to Peter first “possibly was because of Peter’s great remorse over having denied his Lord, and because his role as a leader among the apostles and in the primitive church until the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).”31 Though it can be argued that the “to Peter” was pastoral in nature, Lenski argued for a greater purpose, “The other apostles, with the exception of John (Jn 20:8), still doubted (Lk 24:22-24): but when Peter reported that he had seen the Lord, they joyfully believed.”32 b. “He . . . [appeared] to the twelve” (15:5b). The use of “the twelve” was a reference to the eleven disciples even before Matthias replaced Judas. This concept correlates to four accounts of Jesus’ appearances (Mt 28:16-20/Mk 16:7; Jn 20:24-29; Acts 1:6-11). Ellingsworth and Hatton observed, “To the twelve: in some languages, or for some groups of readers, it may be necessary to make it appear that the twelve were the original apostles.”33 Anthony C. Thiselton, however, argued that “The Twelve” was inclusive of Matthias since Judas hung himself prior to the resurrection.34 Calvin, in essence settled the issue by recalling the mission of the twelve, “But when we realize that it was by Christ’s own ordering that twelve of them were set apart, even though one of them would be struck off the list, it does not strike us as strange that the term was re-

29

Garland, 1 Corinthians, 687.

30

Gerhardsson, “Evidence for Christ’s Resurrection According to Paul: 1 Cor 15:1-11,” 84.

31

MacArthur, 403.

32

Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians, 634. See Godet, Commentary on First Corinthians, 765. 33

Ellingsworth and Hatton, A Translator’s Handbook, 332. See Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 140.

34

Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, in The New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 1204.

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tained.”35 MacArthur concluded: “Those men whom the Lord used to establish His church on earth all saw Him in His resurrected body (Acts 1:22). They were capable, honest, and reliable witnesses to the most important event of history.”36 c. “After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time” (15:6). Though no direct correlation with this particular number occurs in the Gospels, Matthew relates Jesus’ appearance on a mountain in Galilee (28:16-20), and Mark predicts such an event (16:7). Ellingsworth and Hatton held that the word adelphoi (brethren) “usually in 1 Corinthians . . . means ‘fellow Christians,’ but in this verse ‘his followers’ (TEV) would be more correct.”37 MacArthur confirmed, “Scripture gives no indication of who those people were, or where Jesus appeared to them, but they were surely well known in the early church, and, like the twelve, would often have been questioned about seeing the risen Savior.”38 The adverb ephapax confirms that this resurrection appearance to the five hundred was simultaneous. Lenski concluded, “That Peter, although he is at first mentioned alone, was among the Twelve, and we must also conclude that the Twelve were among the 500.”39 The significance of this is that Jesus not only appeared to some five hundred witnesses, but He also appeared to some witnesses more than one time. Paul made specific reference to the fact that many of these five hundred witnesses were still alive when he wrote 1 Corinthians: “most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep” (15:6b). d. “Then He appeared to James” (1 Cor 15:7a). Though two of the apostles have the name James, the son of Zebedee (Mk 3:17) and the son of Alphaeus (Mk 3:18), it appears that this James was the half-brother of Christ. Garland noted, “Paul presumed that the readers know who James is, and this casual mention also testifies to his importance.”40 James had been a skeptic concerning Jesus’ deity (Mk 3:20-21, 31-35; Jn 7:15) but following his conversion he became a leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 1:14; 12:17; 15:13-21; 21:18; Gal 1:18-19; 2:9, 12). This reference has no correlation in the

35

Calvin, The First Epistle of Paul The Apostle to the Corinthians, 314.

36

MacArthur, 403.

37

Ellingsworth and Hatton, A Translator’s Handbook, 332.

38

MacArthur, 404.

39

40

Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s First and Second Epistles to the Corinthians, 638. Garland, 1 Corinthians, 690.

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canonical Gospels or Acts; however, “the group in Acts 1:6-9 alludes may have included James.”41 e. “Then He appeared . . . to all the apostles” (1 Cor 15:7b). A natural inclination would be limit “all the apostles” to the eleven apostles, a technical reference with regard to those who were the disciples who traveled with Jesus during His three-year ministry. This interpretation would be redundant based on the reference to “the twelve” above. Ellingsworth and Hatton differ from this position in that with the phrase “All of the apostles:” All is expressed here in the Greek, though not in verse 5. The order of the Greek words may also suggest that all is emphasized, perhaps indicating a group larger `than the twelve. The following verses strongly suggest that although Paul became an apostle later, he was not included in the group mentioned here.42 Thiselton observed: “The word order in tois apostolois pasin suggests that the emphasis falls on the apostles, not on all. . . . It denotes “the apostolic body as a whole.”43 Borchert concurred in that: “Apostle is undoubtedly a word of mission, but is the report merely a theological construct? Apparently to Paul, the apostles are a different group than the Twelve and may include James.”44 The use of apostle here is “wider than the Twelve but not unlimited in scope—more limited perhaps than the group of 500 mentioned in verse 6.”45 The appearance of the resurrected Christ to Cephas, to the “twelve,” five hundred brethren, James, and the apostles confirms the pre-Pauline tradition of this great doctrine. Thiselton defined the purpose of the phrase [tois apostolois pasin]: [It was] to pave the way for v. 8: the entire apostolate are bound up together in witnessing to Christ’s saving work and resurrection: with his reference to his own calling in v. 8, this will complete the list and establish this common foundational

41

Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1207 and Gerhardsson, “Evidence for Christ’s Resurrection According to Paul: 1 Cor 15:1-11,” 86. 42

Ellingsworth and Hatton, A Translator’s Handbook, 333.

43

Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1208. The bold print was that of the author.

44

Borchert, “The Resurrection,” 405.

45

Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 343.

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apostolic witness to the reality of the resurrection as one of the cardinal elements of the gospel (15:3).46 f. “He appeared to me [Paul] also” (1 Cor 15:8). The appearances to Paul, as well as James, confirmed that these appearances did not presuppose faith in Jesus or even a positive attitude toward Him. Frank Stagg concluded that Paul "based his whole Christian faith and life upon the claim that Christ appeared to him."47 MacArthur summarized Paul’s position with regard to the other apostles prior to his conversion: …The correlation of the resurrection appearance in the Gospels and Acts is significant.

Paul was not among the original apostles, all of whom had been disciples of Jesus during His earthly ministry. He was not among the five hundred other believers who had seen the resurrected Christ. Rather, he had for many years been an unbeliever and a chief persecutor of the church.48

The apparent reason Paul listed the above witnesses is to prepare the way for his personal witness of the resurrected Christ.49 Garland correctly noted, “As the last one [Christ appeared to], he represents the closing of a series ‘so that from the time of this ‘last’ there can be on similar or equivalent events.’”50 Christ’s resurrection appearance to Paul on the Damascus Road has three parallel stories in Acts (9:1-8; 22:6-11; 26:12-18). George Eldon Ladd observed, “Paul himself insists that what happened at Damascus was an appearance to him of the risen, glorified Jesus, which he classifies with the appearance of Jesus during the forty days.”51 Note the emphatic kamoi, (to me). The appearance to Paul is probably the strongest evidence since Paul is not dependent on a creedal statement, but it is from his personal witness or testimony: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor 15:10).

46

Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1208.

47

Frank Stagg, New Testament Theology (Nashville: Broadman, 1962), 310.

48

MacArthur, 404-405.

49

Blomberg, 1 Corinthians, 303 and Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, 334.

50

Garland, 1 Corinthians, 690. See P. R. Jones, “1 Corinthians 15:8: Paul the Last Apostle,” Tyndale Bulletin 36.1 (May, 1985): 16. 51

Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, 367.

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Based on the comparison of the Pauline list of six post-resurrection appearances with those in the Gospels and Acts, the following observations may be made with regard to the resurrection appearances of Christ: we have three clearly positive correlations (to Peter, the twelve, and to Paul), one probable account (to all the apostles), one possible account (to the 500), and one without confirmation (to James). Although this is by no means a direct match, the partial correlation is difficult to miss. 52 Because these reports come from different sources, literary styles, geographical locations, and were written by different authors, the correlation of resurrection appearance in the Gospels and Acts is significant. Unfortunately, form critics tend to ignore the biblical eyewitnesses of the resurrection, based on the erroneous concept that the resurrection was an invention of the church rather than a historical fact. It is clear that Jesus’ earliest followers were convinced that they had seen the risen Jesus. Furthermore, Hays asserted the testimony of this large number of witnesses confirms “that Paul did not think of the resurrection of Jesus as some sort of ineffable truth beyond history; rather, it was an event that had occurred in the immediate past, an event for which historical eyewitnesses testimony was readily available.”53 Secular First Century A.D. References To the Resurrection of Christ Though various sources refer to the resurrection of Jesus (i.e., patristic writings and obscure references from less than credible sources), select sources from antiquity were consulted. Both Jewish and Roman sources provide some clues as to how the resurrection of Jesus was documented or alluded to by historians of the first and second centuries A.D. Keep in mind that this writer does not place these resources on equal grounds with the Scriptures; however, these sources do support the early church belief in the "superstitious beliefs of Christians" (resurrection of Christ), no matter what the authors of these sources believed about Christ. These sources are listed according to the dating of the authors/sources.

52

Steven L. Cox and Kendell H. Easley, eds., The Holman Christian Standard Harmony of the Gospels (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2007), s.v., “The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus,” by Gary Habermas. 53

Hays, First Corinthians, 257.

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a. Josephus (A.D. 37-100?) Based on the statement ho Christos houtos ēn, “this one was the Christ”,54 it appears that Josephus had converted to Christianity; however, this is probably an interpolation. Whether or not Josephus wrote this passage, Josephus (or an interpolator) did cite four elements of the kerygmatic outline listed in section two of this paper: Jesus lived on earth and did good deeds, the crucifixion, He fulfilled the Scriptures, and the resurrection occurred on the third day: And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.55 With the dating of Josephus’ Antiquities sometime in the seventh decade of the first century A.D. this passage is an important reference to what Christians believed in the second half of the first century. This passage reflects not only these four points, but also that people of this era viewed these points as true/historical. b. Tacitus (A.D. 56-117) Tacitus, was a Roman orator, lawyer, and senator, who is considered as one of antiquity’s greatest historians. His major works, the Annals56 and the Histories57, took for their subject the history of the Roman Empire’s first century emperors, from the era of the death of Augustus in A.D. 14 to Domitian’s death in A.D. 96. Though he was not a Christian, he did make reference to Christ; however, the spelling of His name was the Latinized Christus for the Greek Christos.

54

Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, The Loeb Classical Library, vol., 8 (trans. Ralph Marcus: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1980), 18.3.3. 55

Ibid.

56

Tacitus, The Annals of Tacitus in LCL, 3 volumes, translated by John Jackson (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994). 57

________, The Histories. LCL, 2 volumes, translated by Clifford H. Moore and John Jackson (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992).

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Tacitus' reference to Christ, (Christus), briefly mentioned the death of Christ in the context of describing first century Christians. In essence Tacitus at least referred to two points of the kerygma: the death of Christ and the faith and allegiance of those who followed His teachings. According to Tacitus: But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted the culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself [Rome]. . . . 58 Though the "superstition" was not named, it is probably a reference to the resurrection of Christ. Note that this reference to Christ was from the writings of a person who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, it is obvious that many people held to the reality of the Christ event, ranging culturally and geographically from Judea to Rome. c. Seutonius (A.D. 75-160) In The Lives of the Caesars, Nero, Suetonius made inference pertaining to Christ by stating, "Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."59 As with the reference by Tacitus above, Seutonious' statement "mischievous superstition" was not named, but it is probably a reference to the resurrection of Christ. d. Pliny the Younger (A.D. 61-112) Pliny confirmed that true Christians refused to revile "the name of Christ: none of which things, I understand, any genuine Christian can be induced to do."60 The question was 58

Tacitus, The Annals, volume 5, 15.44.

59

Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars, Claudius, LCL, volume 2, translation by J. C. Rolfe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, and London: William Heinemann, Ltd.), 6.16.2. 60

Pliny, "Letters and Panegyricus, LCL, volume2, translated by Betty Radice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, 1975), 10.96.5.

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not answered as to why Christians refused to deny Christ. Pliny's only response was, "I am convinced that their stubbornness and unshakeable obstinacy ought not go unpunished."61 Pliny described the worship of Christians: "They had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honour of Christ as if to a god."62 Though Pliny did not mention the resurrection of Christ; however, one must consider that Pliny did affirm that Christians refused to renounce Christ because they viewed Him as "a god." The question remained unanswered by Pliny as to why Christians would worship a "crucified man of no stature" and why Christians would stubbornly die rather than renounce this "commoner." e. Lucian (Approximately AD 125-180) Though Lucian's work, Alexander the False Prophet, did not mention Christ, it did demonstrate Roman malice against Christianity, which Lucian identified as misguided. In his work The Passing of Peregrinus, Lucian 's description of Christians was less than flattering: "The poor wretches have convinced themselves, first and foremost, that they are going to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence of which they despise death and even willingly give themselves into custody, most of them."63 Though Lucian referred to Christ, his reference was not a confession, but disdain of the Christians who still worship the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world. . . (and whose) first lawgiver (Christ) persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws."64 Though Lucian did not refer to the resurrection, he did acknowledge the impact that this great event had on the people of the time.

61

Ibid., 10.96.3.

62

Ibid., 10.96.7.

63

Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus, LCL, volume 5, translated by A. M. Harmon (London: William Heinemann, Ltd.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972 rpt.), 15. 64

Ibid, pp. 13, 15.

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Though none of these writers were writing from the perspective of personally believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Josephus was the only writer to speak of the resurrection, though Pliny, Seutonius, and Tacitus referred to Christianity as a "superstition" which is clearly a reference to the resurrection. Furthermore, these secular writers spoke of uncompromising Christians who chose to die rather than renounce Christ. First Clement 42.3 stated, "Having therefore received commands, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with faith confirmed by the word of God, they went forth in the assurance of the Holy Spirit preaching the good news that the Kingdom of God is coming.65 Polycarp displayed courage in the time of persecution based on the knowledge of the resurrection: I bless thee, that Thou hast granted me this day and hour, that I may share, among the number of the martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, for the Resurrection to everlasting life, both of soul and body in the immortality of the Holy Spirit. And may I, to-day, be received among them before Thee, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as Thou, the God who lies not and is truth, hast prepared beforehand, and shown forth, and “It is nonsense to fulfilled.66 confuse the faith of the New Testament with anything short of the resurrection in its fullest sense.” --Stagg

CONCLUSION

People in general state various reasons to deny the resurrection. Some people deny the resurrection saying that it is beyond human experience and could not possibly happen. In the New Testament this was a popular doctrine of the Sadducees, who held to annihilationism.

During a Ph.D. colloquium at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in November 1988, the topic of the resurrection of Christ was debated by both faculty and graduate students. The influence of Rudolf Bultmann on some professors and students was obvious. The climate of the day was to quote theologians rather than to cite Scripture. Bultmann denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he held to a spiritual resurrection, which is the classical view of so-called “Christian Gnosticism” of the last half of

65

Apostolic Fathers, 1 Clement, LCL, vol. 1, translated by Kirsopp Lake (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1985), 42.3. 66

The Martyrdom of Polycarp, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 2, LCL, translated by Kirsopp Lake (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1992), 14.2.

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the AD first century through the second century.67 As the bell rang and people began to leave, a professor, stated: "There is no necessity of believing in the resurrection of Christ! Where does the Bible say that one must believe in the resurrection of Christ in order to be saved?" I awkwardly cited Romans 10:9: "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (NAS). Without the resurrection salvation could not have been provided, and without belief in the resurrection salvation cannot be received. MacArthur concurred, "It is not possible, therefore, to be a Christian and not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ."68 Some people contemplate that the resurrection may or may not have occurred. Evidence from New Testament manuscripts, from the writings of the apostolic fathers, from the works of ancient secular authors, from the ancient creeds and hymns found in the New Testament, have been examined. All this evidence leads to the firm conclusion that the New Testament is reliable and contains the authentic testimony of witnesses and what the New Testament writers wrote. Stagg concluded, "It is nonsense to confuse the faith of the New Testament with anything short of resurrection in its fullest sense."69 Some people say that the bodily resurrection of Jesus probably occurred, but that it is a meaningless puzzle for today. Wayne Grudem clarified the significance of the resurrection: Christ’s resurrection was not simply a coming back from the dead, as had been experienced by others before, such as Lazarus (Jn 11:1–44), for then Jesus would have been subject to weakness and aging and eventually would have died again just as all other human beings die. Rather, when he rose from the dead Jesus was the “first fruits” (1 Cor 15:20, 23) of a new kind of human life, a life in which his body was made perfect, no longer subject to weakness, aging, or death, but able to live eternally.70

67

Bultmann does not openly state his position of denying a bodily resurrection of Christ; however, when one reads his commentary on the Gospel of John he openly refers to his form critical position that views this Gospel as the invention of the early church, including the bodily resurrection of Christ. See Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1971), 681-99. 68

MacArthur, 398.

69

Stagg, 316.

70

Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic theology: An introduction to biblical doctrine (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity and Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 608.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Sure, people may choose to deny this conclusion, but to do so is to go against all the available evidence. MacArthur concluded, "Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation."71

71

MacArthur, 398.

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