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Problems With Parables


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The synoptic gospels' presentation of Jesus' teaching in parables is hard to explain on the assumption that the presentation is historically accurate.

 

I don't list all the problems. Just three.

 

1. Jesus intentionally speaks in a way that isn't understood, even by his disciples. They come to him privately and ask why he teaches in parables. He says, it's given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but not to the multitudes. They only get parables, "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (Luke 8:10).

WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

2. The READER, though, is naturally drawn to identify with the disciples, as part of the privileged, in-group that gets to learn the mysteries not explained to the masses.

 

The whole presentation makes more sense as a rhetorical pitch to the audience of the gospel than it does as an account of events that actually happened and of actual conversations.

 

3. Then there's the problem, why are the Jews blamed for not accepting Jesus as messiah when he intentionally teaches in an incomprehensible way? That problem has been raised many times before. (The reader, though, is to blame if s/he rejects the message, since the reader's knowledge is elevated to the level of the disciples'.)

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WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

 

Yes!  Doesn't this also happen today??  Some of the stories would have made more sense to the original audiences.  The Lost Son, probably the most famous story, would have been riveting and outrageous because of how many social conventions are turned upside.  The parable of the sower, on the other hand, is intentionally ambiguous and weird, and deals with this question precisely.  Some people are able to hear and understand the Word of God, and some are not.  'Those who have ears,' etc.

 

 

 

2. The READER, though, is naturally drawn to identify with the disciples, as part of the privileged, in-group that gets to learn the mysteries not explained to the masses.

 

The whole presentation makes more sense as a rhetorical pitch to the audience of the gospel than it does as an account of events that actually happened and of actual conversations.

 

Absolutely!  The more I have read up on Rome occupied first century Judea, the more confusing the parables seem; the more they appear to be addressing very specific cultural and political questions which may or may not tie into deeper spiritual realities (varies by the parable of course!).

 

 

 

3. Then there's the problem, why are the Jews blamed for not accepting Jesus as messiah when he intentionally teaches in an incomprehensible way? That problem has been raised many times before. (The reader, though, is to blame if s/he rejects the message, since the reader's knowledge is elevated to the level of the disciples'.) 

 

The same reason that God hardened Pharaoh's heart?  I'd say this is an important problem with Christianity and goes beyond just the Jews to anyone who rejects Christ as their personal savior.  The notion that Pilate was hemming and hawing over whether or not to execute Jesus, looking for some loophole to rescue him from the bloodthirsty crowd of Jews... it is a ridiculous caricature that simply does not hold up to what we know of Roman bureaucracy.  It is far more likely that Pilate signed the order for his execution without looking up from his morning paper. 

 

The 'blaming the Jews' was really more about giving Christianity more credibility to Gentiles.  Public support for any form of Jewish zealotry was at an all-time low shortly before and after the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. The impact of this event on the formulation of Christianity simply cannot be overstated!  Without the Apostle Paul; Christianity would have died out like every other obscure Jewish personality cult.  The 'Gentilization,' which unfortunately includes slandering the Jewish people, is what gets Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome.  Which is really too bad, because lots of Jews have died for this reason.

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As I understand it, the purpose of telling things in parables was to make complex ideas simpler, so that common people would understand. The Jesus character reverses this. He tells parables so people will not understand, except for a few who know secret code. 

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The synoptic gospels' presentation of Jesus' teaching in parables is hard to explain on the assumption that the presentation is historically accurate.

 

I don't list all the problems. Just three.

 

1. Jesus intentionally speaks in a way that isn't understood, even by his disciples. They come to him privately and ask why he teaches in parables. He says, it's given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but not to the multitudes. They only get parables, "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (Luke 8:10).

WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

2. The READER, though, is naturally drawn to identify with the disciples, as part of the privileged, in-group that gets to learn the mysteries not explained to the masses.

 

The whole presentation makes more sense as a rhetorical pitch to the audience of the gospel than it does as an account of events that actually happened and of actual conversations.

 

3. Then there's the problem, why are the Jews blamed for not accepting Jesus as messiah when he intentionally teaches in an incomprehensible way? That problem has been raised many times before. (The reader, though, is to blame if s/he rejects the message, since the reader's knowledge is elevated to the level of the disciples'.)

 

 

It's based on Homer's Odyssey.  With the Odyssey the reader is in on the secret of who Homer really is.  The more people Homer fools the more fun it is for the reader.  The Gospel of Mark used the same gag.  Luke and Matthew copied from Mark.  So we have these mass produced books where the reader is in on all the secrets of Jesus while Jesus fools everybody.

 

The Gospel of John is an entirely different animal with Jesus giving long speeches about his nature and so on.

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THANK YOU for bringing this topic up, and for the further clarifications from the others who have written.  This has always confused me.  Parables with layers of meanings mixed with metaphors is not a clear way of conveying a life and death message.

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WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

Yes! Doesn't this also happen today?? Some of the stories would have made more sense to the original audiences. The Lost Son, probably the most famous story, would have been riveting and outrageous because of how many social conventions are turned upside. The parable of the sower, on the other hand, is intentionally ambiguous and weird, and deals with this question precisely. Some people are able to hear and understand the Word of God, and some are not. 'Those who have ears,' etc.

2. The READER, though, is naturally drawn to identify with the disciples, as part of the privileged, in-group that gets to learn the mysteries not explained to the masses.

 

The whole presentation makes more sense as a rhetorical pitch to the audience of the gospel than it does as an account of events that actually happened and of actual conversations.

Absolutely! The more I have read up on Rome occupied first century Judea, the more confusing the parables seem; the more they appear to be addressing very specific cultural and political questions which may or may not tie into deeper spiritual realities (varies by the parable of course!).

3. Then there's the problem, why are the Jews blamed for not accepting Jesus as messiah when he intentionally teaches in an incomprehensible way? That problem has been raised many times before. (The reader, though, is to blame if s/he rejects the message, since the reader's knowledge is elevated to the level of the disciples'.)

The same reason that God hardened Pharaoh's heart? I'd say this is an important problem with Christianity and goes beyond just the Jews to anyone who rejects Christ as their personal savior. The notion that Pilate was hemming and hawing over whether or not to execute Jesus, looking for some loophole to rescue him from the bloodthirsty crowd of Jews... it is a ridiculous caricature that simply does not hold up to what we know of Roman bureaucracy. It is far more likely that Pilate signed the order for his execution without looking up from his morning paper.

 

The 'blaming the Jews' was really more about giving Christianity more credibility to Gentiles. Public support for any form of Jewish zealotry was at an all-time low shortly before and after the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. The impact of this event on the formulation of Christianity simply cannot be overstated! Without the Apostle Paul; Christianity would have died out like every other obscure Jewish personality cult. The 'Gentilization,' which unfortunately includes slandering the Jewish people, is what gets Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome. Which is really too bad, because lots of Jews have died for this reason.

I was always suspicious of paul even as a christian. He was a huge persecutor. The best way to destroy something is from within. Or he saw the potential for profit. He contradicts jesus in many ways. Jesus' core teaching could be summed up with "love thy neighbour and god." Jesus opposed organized religion. Paul went around and set up a network of churches. I always saw paul the same way as I see televangelists today.

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The Omniscient Narrator is a powerful literary device for works of fiction... 

 

It's a lot like "reality TV" when the host shows up at someones door. The contestants are shown inside their house acting very surprised when they open the front door to reveal the host. I guess they never noticed the production crew in the house with cameras, microphones, etc. Evidently most of the audience never notices this little technical detail and goes right along never thinking all of this is staged. 

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The Omniscient Narrator is a powerful literary device for works of fiction...

 

It's a lot like "reality TV" when the host shows up at someones door. The contestants are shown inside their house acting very surprised when they open the front door to reveal the host. I guess they never noticed the production crew in the house with cameras, microphones, etc. Evidently most of the audience never notices this little technical detail and goes right along never thinking all of this is staged.

This is so true. There are MANY instances in the bible of private conversations occuring in the bible or events where Jesus was the only one present(his wilderness temptation). The only way it could be recorded is if the author was a witness. All this gives more evidence to the idea of much of the bible being a work of fiction.

 

If Moses wrote the pentateuch, who wrote the part about his death and burial?

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The synoptic gospels' presentation of Jesus' teaching in parables is hard to explain on the assumption that the presentation is historically accurate.

 

I don't list all the problems. Just three.

 

1. Jesus intentionally speaks in a way that isn't understood, even by his disciples. They come to him privately and ask why he teaches in parables. He says, it's given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but not to the multitudes. They only get parables, "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (Luke 8:10).

WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

 

It's an attempt to manufacture a prophecy fulfillment.

 

 

Mark 4:11-12

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

 

 

Isa 6:8-11

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

 

The problem is that the messenger was Isaiah not Jesus.

Once the captivity and exile was accomplished, as God planned, there would be no need to confuse the people.

Having Jesus doing this is completely out of context, but it looks impressive on the surface.

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Parables are another thing I count against god for not making things clear so that we understand. If John 3:16 was, in fact, true, and if there really was free will and if god truly wanted all men to come to him, then there would be no need to talk in a hidden language. The average Christian makes the gospel message appear to be so simple because they want it to be so, but Jesus did not make it clear. I am a simple man and I could easily come up with a simple way to talk to people and get them to accept my salvation without all the crap that makes things unclear.

 

I suspect that part of the reason that there are parables is because many "high ranking" religious leaders and people who consider themselves very "spiritual", need it to be confusing so that they can claim to have special revelation from god and that because they understand the things that others cant, they then appear to be more spiritual than others. I believe a simple message makes it too easy for everyone to either accept or dismiss. With the cloud of mystical stories and things not easily understood, people think that they have to do more to get it, or if they don't understand, then they have to rely on others to explain it to them. It all plays into the ploy to get people to buy into the cult and line the pockets of the leaders.

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The synoptic gospels' presentation of Jesus' teaching in parables is hard to explain on the assumption that the presentation is historically accurate.

 

I don't list all the problems. Just three.

 

1. Jesus intentionally speaks in a way that isn't understood, even by his disciples. They come to him privately and ask why he teaches in parables. He says, it's given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but not to the multitudes. They only get parables, "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (Luke 8:10).

WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

 

It's an attempt to manufacture a prophecy fulfillment.

 

 

Mark 4:11-12

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

 

 

Isa 6:8-11

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

 

The problem is that the messenger was Isaiah not Jesus.

Once the captivity and exile was accomplished, as God planned, there would be no need to confuse the people.

Having Jesus doing this is completely out of context, but it looks impressive on the surface.

 

 

I agree that it seems to be an attempt to fulfill prophecy.

In Matthew 13:10-15, Jesus says so:

 

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceiveFor this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

 

Outside of grasping at prophecy fulfillment, it really doesn't make sense that the supposed Messiah, who came for the lost sheep of Israel, would purposely speak with confusion as the goal.  What exactly was the point of him preaching if he was just trying to confuse people, and it was already determined that the audience couldn't hear or see anyway?  

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Yes, all the above are among reasons why I think the passages are aimed at a later audience and are not records of actual sermons or conversations.

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Also, this is an unjust and evil thing to say:

 

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath"

ngbbs529fe35937b6e.jpg

 

Jesus was an asshole for saying that.  It isn't "spiritual", it' the unjust ramblings of a cult leader.

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All powerful all knowing all loving god chose to beam himself down on earth and decided to speak in parables, thereby ensuring that some people won't quite get the message.

 

Modern day humans have developed internet protocols and continue to perfect the accurate transmission of data via various systems worldwide, so that one human can just say "Hi, I hope you have a good day!" from Minnesota to Romania.  Simple, accurate, reliable transmission of data.

 

And we all know the standard apologist line of defense for this:  "He chose that way so that people can have the free will to choose him or not!"  Bullshit.  Pure 100% grade bullshit.

 

We rightly demand of any human politician (or really anyone) to be honest in their dealings affecting us.  Why should we hold god to a lower standard?  He's the king of kings, and if he wants his subjects to truly freely make the choice to worship him or not, then the kindest way he would do it is not for him to be deliberately obtuse with parables.

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All powerful all knowing all loving god chose to beam himself down on earth and decided to speak in parables, thereby ensuring that some people won't quite get the message.

 

Modern day humans have developed internet protocols and continue to perfect the accurate transmission of data via various systems worldwide, so that one human can just say "Hi, I hope you have a good day!" from Minnesota to Romania.  Simple, accurate, reliable transmission of data.

 

And we all know the standard apologist line of defense for this:  "He chose that way so that people can have the free will to choose him or not!"  Bullshit.  Pure 100% grade bullshit.

 

We rightly demand of any human politician (or really anyone) to be honest in their dealings affecting us.  Why should we hold god to a lower standard?  He's the king of kings, and if he wants his subjects to truly freely make the choice to worship him or not, then the kindest way he would do it is not for him to be deliberately obtuse with parables.

And knowing how communication mechanisms would differ in future centuries, why pick the first century to beam himself down and say stuff to little groups in a corner?

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The parable referred to in the OP in Luke doesn't make sense. The disciples don't understand the parable so they ask jesus what it means. Jesus says the parable is worded  so that the multitudes won't understand, but the disciples will understand in order  to know the mysteries of the kingdom. But in fact, according to the account in Luke, neither the multitudes nor the disciples understand. So what is the point? Furthermore,  I remember that it says in the NT that god does not wish anyone to perish, but all to be saved. So the NT is inconsistent on yet another point. If god didn't want the multitudes to understand, but only the disciples, does that mean that Jesus died only for the 12 disciples, and not for anybody else? bill

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Another more practical reason for Jesus to be secretive is that lots of his parables were veiled ways of speaking out against Rome and/or the Jewish elite. He probably realized he was going to be executed at some point, and didn't want to go out prematurely before he had made the full preaching circuit with his message.

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Also, this is an unjust and evil thing to say:

 

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath"

ngbbs529fe35937b6e.jpg

 

Jesus was an asshole for saying that. It isn't "spiritual", it' the unjust ramblings of a cult leader.

I disagree here. He is saying this is a bad thing. In the story of the talents, if you imagine the land owner who says this not as God, but for an actual land owner, it makes more sense. The guy who buries the money was speaking the truth - I know you are a harsh master who reaps what he doesn't sow. He is 'opting out' of the system by refusing to play their games, and he is to be admired, IMO. That is a much more 'social justice' take than the usual interpretation of this story, but I think it's much closer to what Jesus, or the gospel writers, meant.
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Also, this is an unjust and evil thing to say:

 

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath"

I disagree here. He is saying this is a bad thing. In the story of the talents, if you imagine the land owner who says this not as God, but for an actual land owner, it makes more sense. The guy who buries the money was speaking the truth - I know you are a harsh master who reaps what he doesn't sow. He is 'opting out' of the system by refusing to play their games, and he is to be admired, IMO. That is a much more 'social justice' take than the usual interpretation of this story, but I think it's much closer to what Jesus, or the gospel writers, meant.

 

 

I'm not sure what you mean.  I don't see any evidence in the text that would suggest that the character, Jesus, thought what he was saying was a bad thing.  The diciples asked him why he taught in parables, and he explained:

 

"...Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables..."  
 
If he is against this inequity, then why use it as the reason why he does things a certain way?
 
I'm not the only one who has ever struggled to see the goodness in this statement.  Usually, the typical christian interpretation of this difficult saying is to suggest that this is about spiritual things only.  Because otherwise, it seems Jesus is endorsing the concept of 'the rich get richer and the poor get poorer'.  But, even if it only pertains to a person's spiritual growth, it is still evil. Even in that context only, it still means that people who have no god-given ability to understand spiritual truths will lose what they have and burn in hell (or be eternally separated from god, whatever your flavour of choice). 
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The difference of interpretation you guys have just proves that jesus was unclear, and since he's omniscient, that was on purpose. 

 

God's a dick.

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Short answer: sometimes a landowner is just a land owner. There are two variations of this story and in one of them, he is a foreign king instead. (That might be Matthew, a book that is highly concerned with kingship in general) The roman occupation of Judea made lots of people very poor, and Jesus, born into a modest peasant family, would be highly aware of wealth disparity. This is a theme in the Old Testament as well, so Jesus/whoever is also drawing from a prophetic tradition.

 

I am a skeptic, but there are still some nuggets of truth buried in all the bullshit.

 

There are different gospel writers with different agendas, so not every parable is given for the same reason. The OP pointed out that lots of these stories are intended for the people reading them more than the people Jesus was speaking to.

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There are several instances where the character Jesus repeats the statement (For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath).  The parable of the talents is one of them but it wasn't the one I was referring to.  Regardless, if you take the text to mean what it says, it means the same thing in each instance.  Sorry to disagree, but I don't see where Jesus is siding with the servant who merely hid the talent. Here is the account in Luke (19:11-27):

 

And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

 

 I am struggling to see how Jesus was saying the man who hid the talent was doing what was right.  It would seem the story is suggesting that working dilligently for the master is what is required of a faithful servant.  

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My problem here is that Jesus' idea of god does not seem like someone who reaps what he doesn't sow. There is all kinds of subtext about Rome, proxy rulers like Herod, the corrupt temple system, Messianic expectations, etc. I could be wrong; there are Bible scholars on both sides here. But I don't see Jesus teaching his followers to work so diligently for a corrupt system. That money didn't come out of nowhere - it was tax money extorted from the peasant class who was getting shafted by both the Romans and the puppet kings ruling on their behalf. The faithful subjects aren't investing in a mutual fund - they're raising taxes and getting a piece for themselves. So his response to this would be much more subversive, and more about dropping out of society and starting a new thing, ie, the kingdom of God. Especially in Luke, where he is shown to be a champion for underdogs - tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, etc.

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The synoptic gospels' presentation of Jesus' teaching in parables is hard to explain on the assumption that the presentation is historically accurate.

 

I don't list all the problems. Just three.

 

1. Jesus intentionally speaks in a way that isn't understood, even by his disciples. They come to him privately and ask why he teaches in parables. He says, it's given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but not to the multitudes. They only get parables, "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (Luke 8:10).

WHY, then, do people come in multitudes and hang around so long listening to incomprehensible stuff? Because they might score a healing? Their motivation seems unclear.

 

 

It's an attempt to manufacture a prophecy fulfillment.

 

 

Mark 4:11-12

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

 

 

Isa 6:8-11

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

 

The problem is that the messenger was Isaiah not Jesus.

Once the captivity and exile was accomplished, as God planned, there would be no need to confuse the people.

Having Jesus doing this is completely out of context, but it looks impressive on the surface.

 

 

I agree that it seems to be an attempt to fulfill prophecy.

In Matthew 13:10-15, Jesus says so:

 

And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceiveFor this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

 

Outside of grasping at prophecy fulfillment, it really doesn't make sense that the supposed Messiah, who came for the lost sheep of Israel, would purposely speak with confusion as the goal.  What exactly was the point of him preaching if he was just trying to confuse people, and it was already determined that the audience couldn't hear or see anyway?  

 

Luke 4 is another example where the gospel writer claims Jesus fulfilled Isaiah, through a partial quote of the Old Testament text.

 

Luke 4:17-21

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

 

 

Isa 61:1-4

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

 

Isaiah was the "me", not Jesus.

It's just another Old Testament passage ripped out of context to make Jesus look special.

 

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Note that Isaiah 61:1 has the buzzwords "pneuma," "kurios," AND "christos" all in the same sentence. The NT writers basically built the Jesus figure around those LXX buzzwords. 

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