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Subject: ‘Parables’

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The wicked servant – a parable

Posted in Bible, Parables, Religion on Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Forgiveness is a recurrent theme in the parables of Jesus, and His desire to return to the subject reveals a contempt for mean-spirited and ungenerous attitudes among people of all classes. Peter asks Jesus about the limits of forgiveness, and this parable is His answer. Simply told, a king finds that among his debtors one servant owes 10,000 talents. The servant cannot repay the loans, is threatened with disposal of his goods, his wife, his family and his own person , and in desperation begs his lord for mercy.

wicked servant, picture, image, illustration

The king and the wicked servant

The plea moves the king, who forgives him the debt out of compassion. So far, so good – but of course that meanness will out, and the servant does not disappoint. He comes across a fellow retainer who owes him a mere 100 denarii, which he demands with threats, and having no success has him thrown into prison. The other household servants bring news of this to their king, whose combined disappointment and rage with the original defaulter compel him to revoke his forgiveness. He hands him over to “his tormentors” until the debt is repaid, which sounds profoundly unpleasant, and all for the want of showing mercy to his fellow servant after it was so generously shown to him.

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The Good Samaritan

Posted in Bible, Parables, Religion on Monday, 24 January 2011

Good Samaritan, picture, image, illustration

The Good Samaritan

The parable of the good Samaritan is probably the most famous of all the parables told by Jesus. It concerns the simple story of a Jew who is brutally attacked by robbers and left for dead at the roadside. Various travellers pass by , including a Levite and a Priest, and each chooses to ignore the wretched man and crosses to the other side. A Samaritan, a traditional enemy and much despised by the Jews, sees the naked victim of this violent assault in his terrible distress. After bandaging his wounds and using oil as balm, the Samaritan provides him with a room in a nearby inn, and pays the innkeeper in advance for taking care of the wounded Jew. He even adds that if the cost is greater than the sum he leaves, he will pay the extra when he is next in the area. This affecting tale of unnatural carelessness and unlikely kindness is a parable told to illustrate the value of loving our neighbour as we love ourselves. It is also seen as symbolic of the loving care shown to mankind by Jesus. Even now it remains an archetypal story of charity and compassion.

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