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2. Parables about the Mercy of God and about repentance.

We learned many of the Gospel parables in childhood and can remember them well, regardless of however many years have passed. This is because they read as vivid and bright stories. The Lord Jesus Christ shaped certain religious truths as parabolic stories, just so they would be easy to remember and hold in memory. Mention the name of a parable, and it will bring up a colorful image of the Gospel in the mind. Of course, though we can call the parable to mind, we often go no further than this, for there are many things in Christianity that we understand, but few that we do. A Christian needs to make an effort of the will in order to sense the vital significance of the truth, and desire to follow it. It is only then that this truth will shine with a new and warm light.

After a relatively long break, and a few months before His sufferings on the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ told us His new parables. Conventionally, they make up the second group of parables. In these parables the Lord revealed Godís infinite mercy in the salvation of sinners, and also gave a series of graphic instructions on how we must love each another, following God. We will start the review of this second group of parables, discussing the three which depict Godís mercy on those who repent; these are the parables of the lost sheep, the lost son, and the tax collector and the Pharisee. These parables must be studied in their connection to the great drama initiated by the original sin that results in disease, suffering and death.

Sin has defiled and distorted many aspects of human life since time immemorial. Numerous Old Testament offerings and ritual washings of the body gave people hope for the forgiveness of their sins. However, this very hope was based upon the expectation of the Advent of a Saviour who would release people of their sins and return them the lost beatitude of communion with God (Is. ch. 53). The parable about <see next chapter>

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