02: Discipling Through Metaphor
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Hands of Jesus Holding PearlSeven miles had never appeared as long as they did that day. Just a few days before, the two friends had expected that their journey home would be joyful and full of good memories. But instead of recounting tales of fellowship and feasts, they were downcast and sad. Unexpected tragedy had replaced all celebration. Now their futures, once full of hope, had become overshadowed with uncertainty and doubt.

As they walk together that fateful day, they are joined by a Stranger who notes their tearful eyes and sad expressions. After inquiring about the reason for their sadness, giving them an opportunity to express their inward thoughts, Jesus takes all of the very things that have troubled them and through the Scriptures begins to show how they are reasons for celebration and not sadness.

The biblical writer Luke continues with the story of how, after they sat down to eat, “their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” Luke 24:31

It’s what these two amazed disciples said next that forms the basis of this week’s lesson. “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

Our topic this week, Discipling through Metaphor, reminds us that when using metaphors/parables such as The Sower, The Pearl, The Wedding Garment and many others, Jesus was always aiming for the heart of his listeners and turning their attention to the Scriptures.

“Jesus sought an avenue to every heart. By using a variety of illustrations, He not only presented truth in its different phases, but appealed to the different hearers. Their interest was aroused by figures drawn from the surroundings of their daily life. None who listened to the Saviour could feel that they were neglected or forgotten. The humblest, the most sinful, heard in His teaching a voice that spoke to them in sympathy and tenderness.” Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p 21

Imagine the spellbound audience as Jesus recounts the story of the Good Samaritan. Picture the father’s deep love and affection as Jesus tells of the returning Prodigal Son. Hear the call to accountability as He tells the story of those that received 5, 2 and 1 talents. Grasp the warning of His message about the results of building a spiritual house on sand instead of solid rock.

The Scriptures driven home by the power of the Holy Ghost have penetrated the hardest of hearts and calmed the deepest fears. Prompted by divine influences that stir the deepest emotions, the greatest impact for change occurs. And there is no greater result of change than the conversion of the soul—being born again.

Many of us are going through life weighed down with the cares of this world. Tears of sadness and expressions of hurt are on many faces. Life has not worked out as planned and the bright dreams of yesterday have been swallowed up by the clouds of today. On our journey home a breakthrough is needed. Many are crying out for someone to walk with them along the way so that they too can have the testimony of those two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

This task has been given to you and me to do the works of Christ; to reach the hearts of women and men, boys and girls. Jesus has even assured our success by promising the unthinkable, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12

Whether by story/ metaphor/ parable recounted from the Bible or drawn from everyday life, the aim should be the same—reaching the hearts of our fellow men. I pray that we all are in tune with heaven so that through us hearts will be stirred and lives will be changed. Let it also be said by those who come in contact with us, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:

  • What does “reaching the heart” mean to you?
  • What, if any, is the difference between reaching the heart vs. reaching the intellect?
  • Isn’t it true that as long as we tell others the “truth” we should not be overly concerned with how it’s conveyed? After all, isn’t it the Holy Spirit’s job to give impact to whatever we say, however we say it?
  • Explain your answer, yes or no.
  • List three or more reasons Jesus used parables for much of His teaching.
  • List six or more lessons about effective ministry we can learn from the answers to the above questions. (Include some do’s and don’ts).

We close this week with the prophetic words of Isaiah that were fulfilled by Jesus and will be the testimony of His disciples:

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.  The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.” Isaiah 50:4, 5

Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!

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