As Y'shua traveled to Jerusalem for the last time, He told a series of parables. These parables are tightly structured and, taken together, tell of His mission and the end of the age. The outline is linked below.
Introduction And Eschatology
As Y'shua traveled to Jerusalem for the last time, He told a series of parables which lay out his mission and what will happen at the end of the age. The parables form a chiasm. This file is a general introduction and the first part of the chiasm, whch is "Follow Me". The outline is taken from the book, "Poet and Peasant" by Kenneth Bailey.
The Good Samaritan
In the travel narrative, Y'shua is twice asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" In both cases the answer begins with, "Follow Moses." In this case, there is a follow on question, "Who is my neighbor?" In setting up the parable, Y'shua sets up the robbery victim as a generic human being. He is unconscious and so has no accent. He is naked and is not wearing distinctive clothing. In setting up the hero of the story as a Samaritan, He makes the parable applicable to all people, not just the Jews.
The Rich Young Ruler
Continuing the answer to the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Y'shua speaks with a young man of substantial means. His answer begins with instruction to follow Moses. When the young man says that he already does that, Y'shua sees through to the real impediment; the young man is too bound up with wealth and the world.
The Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer, or as some call it, the model prayer sets up the parables of the friend at midnight and the unjust judge. In this, it is a straight-forward compilation of the content of prayer. The prayer also highlights a difference between Hebrew thought and contemporary Christian thought on the purpose of prayer.
The Friend at Midnight
In this first parable about prayer, a man goes to a neighbor in the middle of the night to borrow bread to entertain an unexpected guest. The point of the parable is that, just as a friend would not refuse such a request, God would also bestir Himself to help those who need it.
The Unjust Judge
Continuing the theme of prayer, Y'shua tells of a corrupt judge who is persuaded to give a widow justice because of her chutzpah. The points are that God is not unjust but that He appreciates boldness in prayer.
Signs of the Kingdom
Being accused of casting out demons by Beelzebul was a watershed in Y'shua's ministry. Before that He spoke plainly; afterwards in parables. He used the occasion to teach on the divided nature of Satan's kingdom and on the dangers of division within the Kingdom of God.
Signs of His Coming
Teaching His disciples about His future return, Y'shua warns that there will be many false messiahs. He tells them not to be fooled. His actual return will not be subtle and everyone on earth will learn of it directly from Heaven.
Woe to You Pharisees
In Luke 11, Y'shua is invited to dine at a Pharisee's house. The series of conversations that follow are about the contrast between what is visible and what is hidden. On the surface everything is righteous and correct; underneath there is greed and corruption.
Treasure in Heaven
In Luke 12 there are two themes running through the commentary. The first is 'inside and outside.' There the contrast is between how things seem on the surface and how they are in reality. The second theme is 'possessions.' There the rebuke is that the Pharisees' focus is on wealth, status and possessions where it should be on the Kingdom.
While the Master is Away
In Luke 12 there are two parables about an absent master. In the first, he is at a wedding feast and is coming home late and presumably happy. In the second he is away for a much longer period and has set a manager over his household. In both cases finding his house in order and his servants alert results in blessing. In the second parable if he finds the manager has misbehaved, things get much darker.
The Dishonest Manager
The parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16 is difficult because Y'shua praises the behavior of a man who cheats his employer so that he will look good in the community and not have to do menial labor once he is fired. The key seems to be that the manager is a shrewd judge of the master's character and commits himself to that understanding without reservation.
Lazarus and the Rich Man
In Luke 16, the conflict between Y'shua and the Pharisees over money continues. His perspective is that one cannot serve both mammon and God simultaneously. Their perspective is that they are exemplars of service to God and that they should be wealthy. His ensuing comments on divorce and the parable of Lazarus and the rich man demonstrate that they are not nearly so righteous as they assume.
The Call of the Kingdom
In Luke 13 and 14 Y'shua tells parables about God's reaching out, first to Israel and then to the nations. In the parable of the banquet those who were invited refuse to show up, telling transparent lies as excuses. This causes the master to send his servants first to the poor and then to the nations to fill his hall with guests.
Three Lost Things
In Luke 15, Y'shua tells three parables about the determination of one who has lost something valuable to find it. The parables intensify from one sheep in a hundred to one coin in ten and finally to one son. The point of the parables is that just as people will work hard to recover what is lost, so too will the Father sacrifice greatly to recover what He has lost.
The Kingdom is Like...
In this final session Y'shua frees a woman whom Satan had bound for 18 years and heals a man of dropsy - both on the Sabbath. He then explains that the Kingdom social order will not be the same as the earthly order. Prominent people in Israel should not assume that they will also be honored in the kingdom.