Jesus often said that God is merciful. But he also said, in a statement that can send chills up the spine, “If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:15, NRSV). Do we have to forgive everyone? Apparently so—yet no one does it perfectly. We don’t do anything perfectly. So how can we ever hope for the Father to forgive us?
Book review: Interpreting
the Parables by Craig L. Blomberg. 1990. Downers Grove, Illinois:
InterVarsity Press. 334 pages. (A new edition was published in 2012, but this review is based on the original edition)
Scholars have often proclaimed that each of Jesus’ parables
makes only one main point. Classic analyses by Adolf Jülicher, C.H. Dodd,
Joachim Jeremias and Robert Stein decry the overly allegorical approaches of
medieval commentators, who saw spiritual significance in every detail.
Matthew 13 is the largest collection of parables that are
specifically said to be about the kingdom of God. But Matthew has five
additional parables describing the kingdom of God, and Mark has another. A
brief analysis of these parables will show that Jesus did not describe the
kingdom as an ideal age after his return. Rather, he described the kingdom as
an age leading up to the final judgment.
We need to make sure that our description of the kingdom is
compatible with the description Jesus gave. Jesus often preached about the
kingdom of God—but what did he say about it? Did he describe peace and
prosperity, health and wealth, law and order? Did he get into details of
No, we do not need to know those things. The most important
thing we need to know about the kingdom is how we get there in the first
place—and when Jesus described the kingdom, that is what he talked about.
In Matthew 20 is
the parable of the
workers in the vineyard. Some men worked all day long in the heat of the
day. Some worked
only half a day, and some worked only one hour, but they all got paid
the same amount, a
day’s wage. Some got exactly what they agreed to, but others got more.
men who worked all day long said, "That’s not fair. We worked all day
it’s not fair to pay us the same as those who worked less" (see verse