A parable is a story used to teach a lesson. A parable often appears to be a simple story, but when a reader delves deeper into the parable, hidden lessons can teach profound and important truths. Parables can be effective teaching tools for children and adults.
The Prodigal Son
The parable of the prodigal son is found in the Book of Luke, the 15th chapter. It is the longest parable in the Bible. In this parable, a father has two sons; the older son is obedient to the father's wishes and stays at home to work with the family. The younger son is disobedient and decides to take his inheritance and travel away from home. While this son is away from home, his inheritance is squandered, and he eventually ends up destitute, desperate and humiliated.
He realises his mistakes and decides to return home to make amends with his father. When he returns home, his father rejoices in his return and throws a lavish party to celebrate. The older son is filled with anger, bitterness and resentment at the father's forgiveness of the younger son.
The younger son learns lessons about himself and receives a great gift of forgiveness and reconciliation from the father. The older son's anger and bitterness estrange him from the family, and he is not able to experience the blessings of extending love and forgiveness to others.
This parable can be likened to a Christian straying from God at various points over a lifetime. The blessing comes with knowing that God will always accept a strayed Christian back with open arms, rejoicing and complete forgiveness.
The parable of the fishing net is found in the Book of Matthew, the 13th chapter. In this parable, a fishing net is being dragged through the water, trapping every fish that happens to be in its path. Fishermen drag the full fishing net back up to the boat. Just as the fishermen do not pick and choose what they catch in the net as it goes through the water, a church should not pick and choose who decides to come to God. God's kingdom is available and freely offered to anyone who will believe and have faith and be "caught," such as the fish in the fishing net.