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Are there any links between the parables Jesus told and the Miracles he performed?
Jesus and his teachings pose one of the most discussed and debated topics in history. Christians, atheists and the Jews all have a version of what they believe is the truth about him. The atheists do not want to believe in the bible stories owing to lack of history about the man. Leaning on the Christianity version, Jesus was the son of God born of Virgin Mary. He is responsible for the growth of Christianity through his teachings and the miracles that he performed. After his birth and growth, Jesus indulged in a journey of teaching people about God and Christianity (Meier, 2016). He wanted people to have faith in God so that they could be saved from their sins. Therefore, he needed people who could help him, and as a result, he chose the twelve disciples. Most of the Jesus’ teachings were through parables as it was a way of illustrating insightful teachings and truths about Christianity (Zanzig, 1999). He would do miracles on his journey as he preached. There is a link connecting the parables and the miracles Jesus performed despite the fact that they were different subjects.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was not only a miracle by itself but also an inspiring event. However, many activities had happened between his birth and death. He had been in three years of ministry preaching and teaching to anybody who could listen. He taught through the use of parables and miracles (Meier, 2016). Parables are metaphors or stories talking about something but with a different meaning or comparison. They are similes taken from nature or simple life. They are brilliant enough to interest the audience but leave enough doubt in their minds to provoke them to think more about their meaning, which is always a religious or a moral lesson.
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Miracles, on the other hand, are unusual activities that were aimed at reminding the Israelites about the power of their creator. Often, the Israelites forgot about the power of their God, and when Jesus came to them saying that he was the son of God, they rejected him. His miracles convinced them to change their opinion and recognise him as the son of God. Nonetheless, the wonders were not aimed at showing his power but as a way of strengthening their faith in God. They were focused on reminding them of His existence; this is because the miracles only happened to the people who had faith (Blomberg, 1986). In his teachings, he made love and faith the core of his teachings in the parables he taught and the miracles he performed.
The parables and the miracles were performed separately. Nonetheless, one can establish a connection or a link between them. For example, there is a link between the parable of the mustard seed and the miracle of feeding the five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish. The parable of the mustard seed is about the kingdom of heaven. He says it is like a mustard seed. The seed is the smallest but produces the biggest of trees. The tree is greater than all the herbs and has big branches. These branches give the birds of the air a shadow to hide under and a sanctuary (Snodgrass, 2008). Though this was a small grain, in the beginning, it grows to become something useful to the society. One should not underestimate it because of its size. It can also represent faith whereby, though belittled, and it can do wonders for those people that possess it.
The miracle of feeding five thousand men is another example of something small doing a greater good. Jesus was in a solitary place praying when the crowd heard of his whereabouts. The followed him from different towns, and when he arrived, he saw a big group of people waiting for him. He felt pity for them and healed the sick. But they did not leave as they were mesmerised by his miracles and teachings. When the night came, the disciples wanted to send them away so that they could find some food as it was getting late. However, Jesus ordered the disciples to give them something to eat instead of sending them away. They argued that they did not have enough to feed such a big crowd as they only had five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus took the food they had, gave thanks and broke the bread. He ordered the disciples to give it to the crowd of five thousand people who ate to their satisfaction. The disciples collected twelve baskets of leftovers. This number did not include women and children.
The link between the parable and the miracle is the fact that something small can grow to benefit many people or parties. The mustard seed, though the tiniest, rises to become one of the biggest trees that spread to provide shadows and sanctuary to birds and other animals. People might underestimate it because of its size, but it secretly keeps growing. The same can be said of the five loaves and the two fish that, though little, would feed a crowd of people. The disciples did not see the value of the little food they had as compared to the people in front of them. They deemed it insufficient to feed them hence chose to send the people away. Nonetheless, Jesus prayed over it and the people fed to their satisfaction. The fact that the food had been underestimated for its size is a connection between the little mustard that grows to the biggest herbs. What these two stories teach is that one should not undervalue anything no matter how little it is. Faith and patience, when applied in the correct manner and place, can be helpful for the entire society just like the mustard seed shadowing the birds from the sun and the loaves of bread feeding a crowd of thousands of men.
The parable of the prodigal son is also linked to the miracle of healing the bleeding woman. Jesus equated the kingdom of God with two sons where one had demanded his share of the inheritance. The father honoured his demand and divided his wealth between the two sons. The last born took his share and travelled to a distant country where he squandered it all in wild activities. After some time, he exhausted his wealth and had nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep. He, therefore, leased himself to a wealthy farmer who gave him a job of feeding his pigs. He did not have anything to eat and usually depended on the food that was meant for the pigs for survival. It was during these times that he remembered the riches belonging to his father and that his father’s employees had a place to sleep and would eat their fill. He decided to go back home and ask his father for forgiveness and beg him to take him as one of his employees. He felt that he had sinned enough to be called his son. However, when he got home, his father was overjoyed and treated him as his son even though the son wanted to be treated as a servant owing to his iniquities (Snodgrass, 2008). A big ceremony was held, and they celebrated for the father had considered him dead, but he had come back.
The miracle where Jesus healed a sick woman who had bled for twelve years is told in the book of Luke. Jesus and his disciples were walking the streets preaching, and a big crowd followed them. There was a woman in the streets that had been bleeding for the last two years, and when she heard that Jesus was coming, she positioned herself in a way that she could touch him. The woman had heard of Jesus’ miracles and believed that he could cure her. When she did not find a way of meeting him, she struggled through the crowd and touched his clothing, and she was healed (Meier, 2016). Now Jesus felt his strength and power leaving him and asked whoever had touched him to come forward (Cadenhead, 2008). The woman came forward scared and trembled but cured. Jesus told her to walk away and proclaim the word of God as her faith had healed her.
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Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is for the people who were willing. God would accept them and their faith in Christianity would be their way to His father. When the prodigal son returned, he was welcomed by his father as he had come back to him. Also, when the sick woman came to Jesus and touched his clothing, she was healed. Then link between these two activities is the fact that the two parties had a problem and it was their faith and determination that helped them to solve this problem. According to Cadenhead (2008), the woman can be likened to an individual who came to Christ for salvation, the same as the prodigal son.
The miracle of the fish and the disciples is linked to the parable of the leaven or yeast. Jesus said that the kingdom of God was like a woman who had hidden yeast in baking flour. After a few days, the flour was mixed with water to make dough. Owing to the yeast, it would form a large loaf of bread. What he meant here is that the kingdom of God keeps growing when one accepts salvation and leaves their old ways (Blomberg, 2014). The miracle of the fish and the disciples is whereby the disciples had spent the night fishing in the deep seas and had caught nothing by the time the sun was rising. They had given up hope and were about to fold their nets when Jesus appeared to them and told them to sail to the shores of the sea and cast their nets. They argued that they had spent their night throwing their nights on the low shores and had caught no fish. Nevertheless, when they cast their nets as Jesus had instructed, they caught lots of fish such that their nets were almost breaking.
The connection between these two stories is that they represent the Kingdom of God. When the fishermen cast their nets according to the instructions of Jesus, they caught fish. The Kingdom expands when people live by the rules and guidelines and obey the commandments of Christianity. The leaven in the parable represents salvation hence the growth of the kingdom.
In conclusion, there is a link connecting the parables and the miracles Jesus performed despite the fact that they were different subjects. Parables are metaphors or stories talking about something but with a different meaning or comparison. They are similes taken from nature or simple life and are used to give religious or moral lessons. Miracles are extraordinary activities that were aimed at reminding the Israelites about the power of their creator. The link between the parables and miracles is illustrated by the fact that they complement each other. The parable of the mustard seed is linked to the miracle of feeding the five thousand men by the fact that it represents the value of faith. It is undervalued but can do more significant and beneficial things. The parable of the prodigal son relates with the healing of the bleeding woman in that they illustrate that the kingdom of God is for those who are willing and God will always welcome them. The parable of the leaven and the miracle of capturing fish is the representation of the value of faith and salvation. When one strengths their faith by following the teachings of God, they grow in salvation, and the kingdom of God develops as a result. Christianity is about faith, love and obedience and these are illustrated throughout the parables and miracles performed by Jesus.
- Blomberg, C.L. 1986. The miracles as parables. Gospel Perspective. The miracles of Jesus.6, pp. 327-359.
- Blomberg, C.L. 2014. The historical reliability of the Gospels. Inter-Varsity Press.
- Cadenhead, J.M. 2008. The significance of Jesus’ healing miracles. A study of their role in the synoptic gospels and their importance to early Christianity.
- Meier, J.P. 2016. A marginal Jew: rethinking the historical jesus, volume v: probing the authenticity of the parables. Yale University Press.
- Snodgrass, K. 2008. Stories with intent: a comprehensive guide to the parables of Jesus. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
- Zanzig T. 1999. Jesus of history, Christ of faith. St Mary’s Press.