Jesus told some weird stories. Yes, the ones about searching for the lost in Luke 15 are wonderful and warm and we really like the one about the Good Samaritan. But, admit it, a lot of Jesus’ parables are strange. A dishonest businessman is praised for cheating his boss. God is compared to a thief who breaks into your house in the middle of the night and robs you blind. This is the Kingdom of Heaven? We’re told by our Lord to pray like the old lady pounding on the door of the mean judge who has no regard for anybody but himself. The Kingdom of God is compared to a shady real estate deal.
Sometimes I think these parables are told by our Lord in order to move us — story by story — from the safe and secure world of church and Scripture and programs and formulas. Where we think we’ve got it all figured out. Jesus moves us from this world we know so well into a place where things are strange and don’t always turn out as expected. And he does it for a reason. The stories force us to re-evaluate the way we see the world and the people in it.
Think about it.
The Kingdom of God dawns on you while you’re lying in the ditch, moments from death, and your very last hope for rescue is the guy from church who just passed by on the other side. But, wait! Now you see it! Your true salvation, your genuine hope for rescue, actually comes from a lousy foreigner whom you despise!
His stories remind us that we don’t totally get Jesus like we think we do. On the other hand, the parables show us that the Kingdom of God is a wild and wonderful adventure when Jesus totally gets us.