Parables: Teaching What Christ Taught

n02064_parables

Please note: This product is a digital file. You will need to download the file to your computer and print it from your printer.

Age Group

Youth

Brief Description

Intersection includes complete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Parables: Teaching What Christ Taught”

Jesus used details familiar to his audience to tell simple stories that conveyed difficult concepts. This is not to imply, however, that the main points of parables are easy to understand. As defined in Matthew 13:34-35, “parable” is equated with “things hidden.” Jesus’ parables are not simply illustrations, but riddles that both conceal and reveal. Parables reveal particular truths while also maintaining some mystery about God (Hare, 146-148). This unit uses the apple as a metaphor to help teenagers discover the different levels of meaning in Jesus’ parables, and introduces a three-fold model for studying parables.

In Session One, we study parables where Jesus explained that discovering God was like finding a treasure; those who find it are willing to give up everything in order to gain it (Mt 13:44-46, 53-58). Jesus does not fully explain the kingdom of God or dictate an exact response. Instead, he presents a portrait of an attitude—a life of complete dedication, motivated by grateful delight at the wonder of knowing where to find something of great value.

Session Two’s focus on the parable of the seed growing secretly (Mk 4:26-29) illustrates a paradox we all face. Although the farmer prepares the soil and sows the seed, the final outcome is beyond his control. Nature (sun, soil, water, etc.) does most of the work. Likewise, while we are responsible in part for our own growth, God does the majority of the work. The image in this parable is one of partnership—farmer and soil working together. According to Jesus, God will reign in like fashion, working with believers.

In Session Three, the parable of the builders (Mt 7:24-27) contrasts those who actually act upon Jesus’ teachings and those who hear, but do not heed his words. As we construct our lives, what we build often does not rest on a suitable foundation. In times of stress and crisis, when the rains come down and the floods come up, everything we have built can fall. Jesus’ teachings provide the sure foundation that enables us to stand strong in the midst of life’s storms.

Finally, Session Four involves a sinner who was more capable of genuine, loving actions than one perceived as a saint (Lk 7:36-50). What is most amazing about this Scripture passage is not that Jesus welcomed a sinner, but that he welcomed Simon the Pharisee as well. Even though Simon both rejected the woman Jesus loved and failed to acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, Jesus was still willing to associate with the Pharisee. Whether viewed by society as sinner or saint, everyone can find refuge in Christ.

by Grace Burton-Edwards

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

The purchaser of this file has permission to print one copy of this Teaching Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold, copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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