This portion of Scripture in Luke’s Gospel contains some of the most well-known parables of Jesus. For example, in Luke 10:25-37, we have the priceless Parable of the Good Samaritan. In this wonderfully-crafted story, Jesus powerfully teaches that our neighbor is anyone in need that we are in a position to help.
The hero of the story is a Samaritan who would be hated by the typical Jew listening to the teaching of Jesus. The Lord revealed a lot of courage by making a Samaritan the hero of His story. It would be the equivalent of making a Jew the hero of a story that was told to Palestinian Arabs in today’s world. It was shocking details such as this which made Jesus’ stories so memorable and convicting. Jesus had a way of exposing people’s blind spots and prejudices.
In our reading today, we also have two Parables on prayer which teach the need for faithfulness and persistence in prayer: the Parable of the Friend who comes at Midnight (Luke 11:5-13) and the Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8). We shouldn’t be surprised that Luke is the only one who includes these two Parables on prayer in his Gospel. One of the main themes of his Book is prayer. John the Baptist’s birth is said to be in response to his father’s prayer (Luke 1:13) and Luke is the only one of the Gospel writers who mentions that Jesus was praying at His baptism (Luke 3:21). He also has Jesus praying at key points in His earthly ministry.
Other great parables in Luke include the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) in which Jesus taught against the destructive desires of materialism. We also have the timeless Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, in which Jesus reveals the great fatherly heart of God. This parable should really be called the Parable of two lost sons. Even though the oldest son was physically near his father, his heart was a million miles away from his dad. Jesus teaches an important truth here to the church goer. Even though we may appear on the surface to be a faithful follower of the LORD, our hearts can be very far from Him. We may not be filled with a devoted love for the LORD or for those who our heavenly Father cares for very much.
Jesus’ parables always took stories from everyday life and gave them a surprising twist to bring conviction and expose areas that were not surrendered to God. May we seek to understand these Parables in their full truth so that we would not be guilty of taming the Lion of Judah, Jesus, into our image. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John