Connecting to the Larger Story
In addition to teaching in the synagogues and performing miracles of healing and signs, Jesus also taught his disciples privately and crowds along the way. His teachings often focused on how the people were called to live fully into the kingdom of God and what that kingdom is like.
Important to Note
1) The religious leaders were upset that Jesus so often associated with tax collectors, sinners, and other people they looked down upon. In their minds, a true teacher and follower of God would not hang around with such a bad crowd but would instead shun them for the more upstanding members of society. On this occasion, Jesus told three stories called parables to illustrate why he explain why he did what he did and to convict these religious leaders of their own misguided notions. In each of these stories, someone finds something or someone who was lost and rejoices. The point that Jesus made with these stories is that God sent him to find those who have lost their way. Where the religious leaders see a scandal of one of their own associating so closely with sinners, God rejoices at those who repent and now have hope because of Jesus.
2) It is in conflicts like this one with the religious leaders that Jesus found himself at odds with the powers that were. The leaders recognized in the stories that he told that they are being named as the jealous older brother who does not celebrate the younger brother's return. Many of them were infuriated by his remarks, and some were worried about how the common people may revolt under his leadership. In time, they began to look for ways to stop him. It should be noted that not all of the Pharisees and religious leaders were opposed to Jesus. For instance, in John 3, we hear of the Pharisee Nicodemus who came to learn more from Jesus and continued to follow him.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) How do stories help us see things we otherwise might not see?
2) How do Jesus' teachings challenge us?