Series 9 – Parables of Jesus – Lesson 8 – Stories about money

This study of the parables of Jesus in Luke 16 will use the principles outlined for interpreting parables as stories, as defined in Lesson 3.  For other information on the interpretation of parables, see also the Introduction in Lesson 1.

LISTEN:

Read Luke 16 several times, focusing on all the parables about money.

Jesus used stories to make radical points about living out faith to challenge listeners who might not have liked the instruction if it had been more direct. So consider what might be the radical message in this group of parables.

UNDERSTAND:

Samuel Lamerson reminds us in his article, “Teaching the Parables to a Post-Modern Society”:

“The ‘earthy details’ were one aspect that helped make the parables of Jesus so strong. It was the fact that these parables were drawn from every day life, yet contained shocking and even scandalous conclusions which made them communicate in a way which straight propositions could not. It is only by recognizing the importance of the details (not for doctrine but for storytelling) that one gets the full ‘reversal of expectation’ which is so critical to the power of the stories.”

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager is not an easy story to decipher. Reread verses 1-9 multiple times, perhaps over several days. Notice what IS clear in the story.  Pay attention to what seems to not fit or to contradict the rest of the chapter.  Notice the ironies.  Consider the message to the listeners.  Who were they?  What was the “reversal of expectation” that made this story powerful?
Why do you think that Jesus grouped these parables together into one section?
What similar elements are there between the first story of the Shrewd Manager and the final story of the Rich Man and Lazarus?

ACT:

coinsAllow these stories to connect to your life, and the lives of those around you.  What story emerges?
How does the use of money influence us and our decisions?
How does it influence the church community you are a part of?
What most challenges you from these stories?
Index for Parable Series in English or español.
Images from http://www.sxc.hu/

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