The dragnet

Jesus was the master at using parables that related to the lives of people. Many of his parables reflected things that he had no doubt seen while he had up in Galilee. Ponder for a moment about his early life as a child and a teen. How many times did he see the common practice of his mother preparing leavened bread where she took a piece of fermented dough saved from a prior baking and using it as a leavening agent? (Matthew 13:33) How many hundreds of times did he watch as the fishermen let their nets down into the clear blue waters of the Sea of Galilee? (Matthew 13:47) How many times had he been playing or watching other children playing in the marketplace? (Matthew 11:16) Jesus saw an experienced many commonplace things of ancient life that made their way into his parables, such as the sowing of seeds, the marriage feasts, as well as the grain fields ripening in the sun.—Matthew 13:3-8; 25:1-12; Mark 4:26-29.

APOLOGETICSTherefore, we are hardly surprised to find the everyday life circumstances and situations of Jesus Christ sprinkled throughout Jesus’ many parables. Hence, if we are going to appreciate more fully his skill in using this teaching method, it will be necessary to examine what his words meant to the Jewish people who listened to him. Let us take a moment to consider two examples.

The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat

Matthew 13:1, 2, 24-30 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 On that day Jesus left the house and was sitting by the sea. And such large crowds gathered to him that he went aboard a boat and sat down, and all the crowd was standing on the beach. 24 Another parable he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens was likened to[155] a man who sowed fine seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed darnel[156] among the wheat, and went away. 26 But when the wheat[157] sprouted and bore grain, then the darnel became evident also. 27 So the slaves of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? From where[158] then does it have darnel?’ 28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ So the slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, for fear that while gathering the darnel, you uproot the wheat with them 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest season, I will tell the reapers: First collect the darnel and bind them in bundles to burn them up; then gather the wheat into my storehouse.’”

REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURESWe begin with The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat in the above text. We find Jesus telling us about “a man who sowed fine seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed darnel [weeds] among the wheat, and went away.” Why did Jesus choose this distinct hostile act? Well, we must remember that this parable was told to the people near the Sea of Galilee, and the main occupation of the Galileans was obviously agriculture. There is scarcely anything more harmful to a farmer than to have an enemy come in the night and secretly oversow harmful weeds into his field! If we look at the laws of the government at that time, we find that such attacks happened. So, here again, we find a parable being drawn from a real-life situation that his listeners would be able to understand and appreciate the nuances that would make Jesus’ point more clear.

Luke 10:30-37 Update American standard Version (UASV)

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and laid blows upon and departed, leaving him half dead31 Now by coincidence a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And on the next day, he took out two denarii[1] and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONSNext, we have the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus began by saying: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and laid blows upon and departed, leaving him half dead.” (Luke 10:30) It is meaningful that Jesus used the road that went “from Jerusalem to Jericho,” which contained the right details to make his point. When he was telling this parable he was in Judea, not far from Jerusalem. There, it is very like that his listeners were familiar with this seventeen-mile road in his parable. That road was “a dangerous place, and robbers often lay in wait for unprotected travelers.”[2] This was especially true of anyone traveling alone. It twisted through lonely terrain, providing many places for robbers to lay in wait.

ROAD FROM JERUSALEM TO JERICHO

CONVERSATION EVANGELISMWe have something else unique about Jesus’ reference to the road that went “down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” First, the account is historically accurate by using the description of going “down.” “This is a stark and desolate seventeen-mile road, dropping from over 2,500 feet above sea level in Jerusalem to approximately 800 feet below sea level at Jericho. (Josephus, J.W. 4.8.3 §474.)[3]   According to the account, first it was a priest and then it was a Levite who was also traveling that road, although neither of them stopped to help the victim. (Luke 10:31-32) The priests served at the temple in Jerusalem, and they were assisted by the Levites. When they were not working at the temple, many priests and Levites lived in Jericho, for Jericho was only 17 miles [27.4 km] from Jerusalem. Therefore, we see that they undoubtedly had many opportunities to travel that road. An important insight is that Jesus chose to tell the account from the perspective that the priest and the Levite were going along the road “from Jerusalem to Jericho,” not ‘from Jericho to Jerusalem.’ In other words, the priest and the Levite were going home (having time to stop and render aid and something more), not going to serve in the temple. You see, Jesus knew that, if the priest and the Levite were going to the Temple, people could argue that they thought the man was dead and they would have been unclean by touching a dead body, making them temporarily unfit to serve in the temple. (Leviticus 21:1; Numbers 19:11, 16) Again, Jesus’ parables reflected things that were well-known to his listeners?

Characters

  • The man going down to Jericho
  • The Robbers
  • The Priest
  • The Levite
  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Innkeeper
  • The lawyer

The three main characters are the priest, the Levite, and the good Samaritan. Think about it, does it really matter who the man is? Jesus told the story of one man, who is a victim without making known the man by race, occupation, or reason for traveling. What about the robbers and the innkeeper? They only serve the function of getting us to that main point. They are like the extra in a movie. Their only role is to move the movie along.

Looking to the End

As is true with any kind of story, the end of the story carries the weight of importance. This is no different with parables. The ending is where the answers lie. Look at the end of the story one more time; take note of Jesus’ question to the lawyer. Jesus removed the attention from the term “neighbor.” Essentially the lawyer had asked, ‘who is the one that I should show my neighborly love to?’ Notice his attention is on the one receiving the kindness. However, Jesus asked, “which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” Notice that Jesus’ focus was not on the recipient of the love, but the one who showed the love, the Samaritan.

Who Carries the Conversation

We may have noticed that there is no conversation between the man going down to Jericho and anyone else. There is no conversation between the robbers and the man, the priest and the man, the Levite and the man, the Samaritan and the man. The only direct conversation is between the Samaritan and the innkeeper. The focus of the conversation is between the Samaritan and the innkeeper, which highlights the Samaritan’s motive and heart attitude.

Who Gets the Most Press

Generally, whoever gets the most coverage in a story is the primary character, followed by the secondary person that must exist to facilitate the story and its main point. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, there is little doubt that the Samaritan gets the most coverage throughout the parable, as he gets six verses, while everyone else received one verse. However, the man who went down to Jericho receives just as much coverage, with seven verses actually. Yet, his role is secondary to the active role of the Samaritan.

THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOKThus, our two primary characters are the Samaritan and the man. It might be added that this “man” who went down to Jericho and fell victim to robbers, was a Jew, as the context of the story shows. The lawyer asking the question is also a Jew, likely with many other Jewish listeners. The priest and Levite in the parable were Jewish religious leaders, who ‘when they saw him [their own Jewish countryman lying there dying from a robbery] they passed by on the other side.’ However, we have a Samaritan willing to help a Jewish victim. Thus, the primary point involves both characters (they who received the most press). Remember Jesus focus was on the person showing the love, not the victim needing a loving act of kindness. A true neighbor [the Samaritan] takes the initiative to show love to others [the man going down to Jericho] regardless of their ethnic background.

[1] Denarius: (dēnarion; Roman, silver) The denarius was equivalent to a day’s wages for a common laborer (12 hours). It was sixty-four quadrantes. It had an image of Caesar on one side. It was the “head tax” coin demanded by the Roman government from their subjects.–Matt. 20:2, 9; Mark 14:5; Lu 10:35; 20:24; John 6:7; Rev. 6:6.

[2] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 415.

[3] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 415.

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Biblical Studies

HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of GodHOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God

A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are …

THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & ContentTHE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

…the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and how that meaning can then apply to us. Marshall gives you what you need for deeper and richer Bible study. Dr. Lee M. Fields writes, “‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees …

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded] 

The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has …

THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded]THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded] 

Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of …

INTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical HermeneuticsINTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly …

HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to HermeneuticsHOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to Hermeneutics

…Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as to ignore them will result in all manner of erroneous assumptions. Beville presents …

THE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern PeopleTHE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern People

Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzz word. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded …

DEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in RevelationDEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in Revelation

church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy ChurchesA Case-Study in Revelationbegins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the …

DYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted SuicideDYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

…liberties in a multi-cultural society that is becoming increasingly secular. This work provides an ethical framework in which euthanasia and assisted suicide can be evaluated. These issues are on the radar indicating a collision course with Christian values. It is time for Christians to be …

JOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK: Experience the Ministry of Jesus in a Spiritually Captivating WayJOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK

Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark‘s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use …

ANGELS & DEMONS: The Bible AnswersANGELS & DEMONS The Bible Answers

What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control …

Bible Doctrines

WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …

IDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast RevealedIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …

UNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …

The SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …

WHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …

Miracles? - Do They Still Happen Today?: God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith HealingMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing 

Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …

HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …

Christian Fiction

THE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm's LengthTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …

THE SECRET HIDEAWAYTHE SECRET HIDEAWAY ON BRIDGETON HILL

Rachael Garrison knows all the shrewd ways to successfully close multi-million-dollar real estate deals with her father’s famous New York real estate enterprise. But beyond her savvy to rake in huge deals is her premonition that an impending global takeover of the world’s financial wealth is on the horizon by evil leaders of The Great Ten Nations. From New York City to the Irish Hills of Michigan, and into the streets of Detroit her life takes on enormous purpose as

THE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed WrathTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …

SEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to  …

The Shadow Flames of Uluru: Book ONE in the CHAOS DOWN UNDER 

When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …

WRITE PLACE, RIGHT TIME: The Pre-Apocalyptic Misadventure of a Freelance Journalist 

“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.

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