S4E12: The Parable of the Vineyard Laborers
In this episode we discuss the parable of the vineyard laborers from Matthew 20:1-16. Following the story of the rich young ruler and the disciples’ inheritance of the twelve thrones in the age to come (19:16-30), this parable highlights the “payment of wages” (20:8) and God’s generosity toward Israel’s marginal (i.e. the disciples). Thus, both sections conclude with the apocalyptic, two-age saying, “the first [in this age] will be last [in the age to come]” (19:30; 20:16).
- The historical, apocalyptic context of the parable (5:42)
- The well-known elements of the parable – Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14-15, Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 12:10 (8:54)
- The payment of wages and heightened apocalyptic expectation – Luke 19 (10:01)
- The first, last, and the parallels in context – Matthew 20:16, 27 (22:57)
- Modern approaches to the parable (28:35)
S4E11: The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
In this episode we discuss the parable of the unforgiving servant from Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus speaks forcefully of divine mercy and forgiveness within the traditional Jewish apocalyptic expectations concerning the “settling of accounts” (v. 23). When this eschatological framework is marginalized or ignored, the gravity and impact of Jesus’ teaching concerning forgiveness is lost.
- The apocalyptic context of the parable: the day of judgment – Luke 7:40-42; Matthew 18:1, 7, 8, 9, 14 (5:12)
- Many of the details of this parable are not particularly allegorical (12:10)
- Understanding the debt – Luke 11:4; Luke 7:41-50 (20:39)
- Forgiveness in Judaism – Leviticus 19:18; Sirach 28:2; b.
S4E10: The Parable of Defilement
In this episode we discuss the parable of defilement in Matthew 15 and Mark 7. The parable is set in context to Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees concerning the hypocrisy of their traditions. The explanation of this parable, particularly in Mark’s gospel, has been widely used to support the idea that Jesus abrogated the Torah’s dietary instructions. By examining the context and the various translations of Mark 7:19, it becomes clear that Jesus is actually upholding Jewish dietary laws and is simply emphasizing “the weightier matters of the law,” so to speak.
- This parable is often used to show that Jesus was redefining Jewish ideas (4:04)
- Context of the parable: understanding ritual purity – Manual of Discipline 5:13-14; Galatians 1 (8:52)
- An indictment of hypocrisy – Matthew 15:-3-9; Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 23:16-22 (19:30)
- Mark’s missing verse and the parable’s explanation – Mark 7:15-17; Matthew 15:16-20 (26:33)
- The phrase added by translators changes the parable’s meaning – Mark 7:19 (30:00)
- Apocalyptic convictions – Matthew 15:13 (39:19)
S4E9: The Parable of the Strong Man
In this episode we discuss the parable of the strong man from Matthew 12. After healing a demon-possessed man, Jesus responds to the accusation of the Pharisees that he drove out the demon by the power of Satan. The parable of the strong man is part of a larger argument that the Pharisees’ accusation is both illogical (vv. 25-29) and immoral (vv. 31-32), which is the basis of their eschatological judgment (vv. 36-37). The parable simply argues that Jesus’ power over demons proves that he is indeed “the Son of David” (v. 23), and he will thus plunder Satan’s house at the end of the age.… Read more
S4E8: The Parable of the Children in the Marketplace
In this episode, we discuss the parable of the children in the marketplace from Matthew 11 and Luke 7. This short parable follows a complicated discussion about the imprisonment of John the Baptist, but is often read outside of that context and through the lens of realized eschatology. Rather than reimagining the commonly held Jewish apocalyptic eschatology of the time, the parable was simply an indictment concerning the false accusations of the religious leaders that John was demonized and Jesus was a glutton. On the day of judgment, the wisdom of their lives will ultimately be vindicated.
- Who are the children and the playmates in the parable?
S4E7: The Parable of the Wineskins
In this episode we discuss the parable of the wineskins (and the patched garment) from Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5. Contrary to the popular interpretation of a radical redefinition and subversion of Jewish apocalyptic eschatology, this parable communicates the simple principle of dysfunctionality or maladaptation. You cannot force Jesus’ disciples to fast while the Messiah is with them. It does not work. But when he is “taken away” (cf. Isa 53:8 LXX), they will fast. Through this parable, Jesus (and the Gospel authors) sought to establish the discipline of fasting in the early church.
- Fasting and Jewish apocalypticism – Matthew 9:14-15; Isaiah 53:7-8 LXX (4:03)
- The common supersessionist approach – Origen, Blomberg, and Wright (10:09)
- The purpose of the parable: dysfunctionality and maladaptation – Joshua 9:12-13 (24:18)
- Other parables that simply teach a principle – Luke 10:27, 29; Luke 12:15; Luke 11:8 (29:48)
- How should we understand this parable if there is no radical redefinition of Jewish eschatology?
Q&A #10 with Bill, John, and Josh
Bill, John, and Josh tackle your questions in this tenth Q&A episode. Among many topics, we answer your questions about the parable of the mustard seed and leaven, replacement theology, understanding the role and purpose of Israel, and we make some observations about tithing and Greek words in the New Testament.
- Could the parable of the mustard seed be about the growth of the word of the gospel? (2:13)
- Is Jesus introducing replacement theology and de-emphasizing the importance of Jerusalem in John 4? (11:06)
- Is there some persuasive counterargument we can make for understanding Israel on pragmatic grounds without having to resort to simply asserting “we should understand Israel properly because the Bible says so”?
S4E6: The Parable of the Two Houses
In this episode we discuss the parable of the two houses and the words of Jesus immediately leading up to it in Matthew 7:15-27. Much of the imagery is drawn from the Tanakh and 2nd Temple literature, and the ideas would have been commonly understood within the Jewish apocalyptic narrative. Jesus criticizes and corrects the leadership of Israel for their hypocrisy and pretense, calling his disciples to radical obedience to his words and a singular focus on the age to come.
- Beware of false prophets – Matthew 7:15-20; Isaiah 56:10-11; Jeremiah 23:1-2; Ezekiel 34; Shabbat 31b; Yoma 9b (9:04)
- Good trees and bad trees / fruit – Matthew 7:16-20, cf.
S4E5: Metaphors in the Sermon on the Mount
In this episode, we discuss the metaphors found in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). After first rehearsing the importance of seeing the teachings of Jesus in their historical context, we look at the familiar metaphors of salt, light, the eye as the lamp of the body, and the narrow gate. These metaphors were common tools used to communicate a familiar prophetic message to the people of Israel in context to their covenantal calling.
- Hermeneutics and history (3:59)
- Matthew 5:13 and “the salt of the earth” – Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24; Jubilees 21:11; Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5; 2 Kings 2:19; Ezekiel 16:4; Colossians 4:5; Luke 14:34-35; Luke 21:24 (9:09)
- Matthew 5:14-16, the “light of the world”, and the “city on the hill” – Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 62:1-2; 2 Baruch 77:13; Isaiah 2:2-4 (19:07)
- Matthew 5:19-24 and the “eye is the lamp of the body” – Deuteronomy 15:9 (32:00)
- Matthew 7:13-14 and the “narrow gate” – 4 Ezra 7:6-14 (37:47)
S4E4: The Parables of the Net, the Hidden Treasure, and the Pearl
In this episode we discuss the parables of the net, the hidden treasure, and the pearl from Matthew 13. These three parables maintain the same Jewish apocalyptic eschatological context highlighted in the explanation of the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:36-43). The parable of the net reinforces the context of an eschatological judgment, with the righteous inheriting eternal life and the wicked, eternal destruction; while the parables of the pearl and treasure portray the wisdom of the person who gives everything to inherit eternal life on the last day.
- General observations about these particular parables – Matthew 13:44-50 (5:02)
- The parable of the net – Matthew 13:47-50; Jeremiah 16; Ezekiel 20, 29 (6:53)
- Some scholars ignore the parable of the net (9:28)
- Parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl – Matthew 13:44-46 (16:19)
- Treasure in Jewish tradition and apocalyptic literature – 2 Baruch 23:7-24:2; 4 Ezra 8:50-54 (28:41)
- “Inheritance” in the letters of the New Testament – 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (33:07)
- A radical call to singularly focus on the age to come – Luke 14:33; Matthew 19; 1 Peter 1:13 (36:03)