“The Last Parable”

The NIV Study Bible has a list of all the parables that Jesus taught during His earthly ministry. Matthew lists 23, Mark 9 and Luke 28. The same parable is duplicated by all three writers 7 times. Other scholars may list a different total due to the difficulty of deciding which teaching is truly a parable. Most of Jesus’ parables are short (The lost coin-Lk 15) (The mustard seed-Mk 4) and self-explanatory. However, some are fairly long and He explained them later to His apostles in detail. The parable of the sower is an example of that (Mk 4).

In the title of this article I called the teaching of Jesus in Revelation 3 a parable. It occurred after his resurrection in a letter to the Laodicean church in an attempt to spur them to repentance. A true theologian might argue that this verse is more of an analogy than a parable. In either case, there are great truths for the Laodiceans and for us. Jesus said, “Here am I! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” What a poignant plea from one who could demand entrance because He had suffered so much for mankind.

We understand that Jesus does not stand and knock at the literal door of our house. Rather the door probably refers to our heart and mind. His voice is the gospel that He spoke to the inspired writers of the New Testament. He is urging the Laodiceans and us to listen and accept His teachings.

The beautiful reciprocity of the meal might mean how we must open our minds and hearts while He explains His will for us. We respond by praising Him and praying to Him. As we “eat” we would no doubt feel the same as the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:30-33).

I believe He still asks and knocks on the “door” of all people every day not wishing that anyone perish (1 Pe 3:9). If one’s mind and heart are ready, He will enter and live within them (Jo 14:23) (Rom 6:3-6). We will live in Him also (Rom 8:1). What a wonderful example of spiritual symbiosis.

—Jim Bailey