Barry Newman's Blog

October 16, 2012

The Parables of Jesus (part VII) – The Parable of the Sower (part II)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The Parable of the Sower — barrynewman @ 9:55 pm

The Setting

The literary setting for Matthew is one where in spite of Jesus healing a man with a shrivelled hand, where the Pharisees plot how to kill him, where his driving a demon from a man blind and mute is interpreted by the Pharisees as Jesus being in league with Beelzebub, where he warns his opponents about blaspheming against the Spirit and calls them a brood of vipers, where he is challenged by the Pharisees and scribes to perform a sign, where he refers to his generation as a wicked generation and where while still talking to a crowd he identifies his mother and his brothers as those who do the will of his Father in heaven. The physical setting is one where on the same day as he has spoken about his mother and his brothers, he leaves “the house” and after sitting by the lake, because of the large crowds that had gathered, he speaks to them while sitting in a boat. He told them many things in parables.

The literary setting for Mark is one where a large crowd came to where Jesus had withdrawn with his disciples to the lake.  The twelve were selected by him. The scribes claim he is possessed by Beelzebub.  Jesus warns them about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He speaks of those who do God’s will as being his brother, sister and mother. The physical setting is similar to that depicted by Matthew.

For Luke the literary setting is one where a centurion has displayed his confidence in Jesus to heal his servant, a widow’s son has been raised from the dead, John the immerser has sent disciples to Jesus and Jesus speaks of how both he and John are spoken against but from different points of view, a sinner woman anoints Jesus at the house of Pharisee and Jesus pronounces that her sins are forgiven. It is after this that Luke records that Jesus travelled widely proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, that he was accompanied by a number of women who helped to support him and his disciples.  He then describes how a large crowd was gathering with people coming from many towns and that then he told them the parable.

All Gospels record that there were large crowds, that he taught them and the teaching is recorded as beginning with the parable.  Broadly speaking, before the reference to the parable, Matthew and Mark refer to the opposition that Jesus was encountering beforehand, while Luke records the faith being demonstrated in him by some.

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