In this revised second edition of Stories Jesus Still Tells
, John Claypool brings fresh insight to a selection of parables, allowing us to hear Jesus' calm, persuasive voice still speaking to us through stories like the great banquet, the rich fool, and the final judgment. By providing us with a clearer understanding of the context of these stories in Jesus' immediate culture, Claypool demonstrates how accessible the parables were to his listeners, told in familiar terms that everyone who heard them could grasp. He writes:
“This is how Jesus worked the miracle of reconciliation again and again. People would come to him in all degrees of panic, fear, and anger. Yet, instead of confronting them head-on and driving them deeper into their defensiveness, he would, like Nathan, defuse their anxiety by saying, ‘Let me tell you a story. . . .' Then, drawn in by the narrative and with their defenses down, the listeners would see the story as a mirror, and its light would make their personal darkness visible. In this way, parables became events of revelation.”
And so it is with us, Claypool believes. When we open the deep places in our being to the parables—these stories Jesus still tells—then in a moment of surprise and insight, we who listen recognize ourselves in the characters and the decisions they face. The stories are no longer about them, but about us, and the opportunity for illumination and transformation in our own lives.