The stories Jesus told were meant to unsettle his listeners. C. H. Dodd defines a parable as 'a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought.'
As you read the parable of the unforgiving servant what struck you? Surprised you? What was vivid or strange? How does the story challenge or widen or deepen your faith?
We live in a very different context from Jesus. Stories about shepherds and farming are distant, almost mythic. Can you imagine a contemporary setting for the story Jesus told (for example, 'the Kingdom of God is like riding a Trimet bus ... or going to Pioneer Courthouse Square ...').
Feel free to post a response to the parable or to the sermon. I'd be glad to know how the stories Jesus told have teased your mind 'into active thought.'
Peace to you,
Matthew 18: 23-35
For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.”And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sisterfrom your heart.’