Gospel parables, an Orthodox commentary

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Final thoughts on the gospel parables


From June 1993 through December 1995, we examined 27 of our Lord Jesus Christ's parables in Parish Life newsletter. As we have seen, the Lord frequently used parables to explain the truths of his teaching. The Lord began to use parables only after the final selection of His apostles, and even the parables often amazed even them, who would ask His further explanation. The Gospel parables comprise approximately one- third of the Savior's recorded words.

We find moral value in all of the Savior's parables, and some are remarkable too as literature, such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. No day passes without our recalling images from Gospel parables. Often we call a compassionate man "a good Samaritan." We often cite such concepts as a "a far country" and "prodigal son." We acknowledge the importance of not hiding a "lamp under a bushel," and we grasp the necessary multiplication of "talents" given by God and not putting off our affairs until the "eleventh hour."

This frequent recollection, however, does not mean that we have absorbed all their lessons. We must again and again turn to them to manage our spiritual lives. Despite 2000 years since their appearance, each is current and topical as part of the Good Tidings, the Gospel. The parables are filled with the mysteries "of the Kingdom of God" (Mark 4:11) that has drawn nigh, that the Sole Physician of men's souls and bodies has come, Who heals the lepers, Who takes from us the burden of the ancient curse, Who finds the lost sheep, Who opens the entry to the heavenly fatherland, Who invites the outcast and homeless to His Divine wedding banquet, Who generously recompenses those who have not earned full wages, and Who fills the hearts of the earthborn with great joy.

The "acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:19) has begun. He, Whose glory and magnificence are manifest in each of His priceless words, has come to us. To God be glory!


The Father Victor Potapov,
Protopresbyter Cathedral of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
4001 17th Street NW, Washington DC 20011-5302

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