Message: “The Two Lost Sons & the Compassionate Father” from Ethan Seifried

Dan Crain - July 25, 2021

The Merciful Samaritan

The Moral of the Story

For so long the parable of the merciful Samaritan has been interpreted as a call to action to go help people who are half dead lying in a ditch. But Jesus' intent to his Jewish audience and to us today is that we learn to receive before we give. We are the half-dead in the ditch, and we must examine what has placed us there. Jesus is first the merciful Samaritan, and it's only after recognizing that we can go and do likewise.

From Series: "The Moral of the Story"

Jesus’ parables are some of the most influential and well known stories in the world. Even if people don’t know the whole parables, their impact on our common vocabulary is undeniable. Think of expressions like “prodigal” or “good Samaritan.” The reason for this lasting impact is that stories are inherently interesting. Lectures are ok, if they hold your attention. Conversations are meaningful, if they’re with the right person. But stories, stories grip us, they move us, and the most powerful of them change us forever. Besides personal experience, stories are the easiest and most effective way of learning. It’s no wonder then that Jesus used parables to describe the character of God and explain the kingdom of God so frequently; they make up 35% of his teaching. He uses parables not just to convey concepts and truths, but to change the world. To transform not just our thinking but our actions also. Many of the parables end with the statement “Let the person who has ears to hear hear,” which is a call to act on the intent of the parable, not just learn abstract truths. And so, my hope for us throughout this series is to let the parables do what Jesus intended for them to do: to make you uncomfortable, to teach you--but not in the sense of superficial ideas, to help you see differently than you ever have, to accept and embody the powerful reversals of God’s character, and to enact God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

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