In this study from the Regent's Study Guide Series, Michael Ball describes how the shocking, disturbing and even subversive the parables of Jesus must have seemed to those who first heard them. He recounts how the plots of the parables involve mugging, murder, family quarrels and sudden death. They feature foreigners, tax collectors, crooks, and lazy, dishonest and discontented employees. The author suggests that the parables are designed to get under the guard of our minds and make us see new truths from new perspectives, pointing to the reality of God and his kingdom.
The Radical Stories of Jesus offers a helpful review of recent scholarship on the parables, setting them against their Old Testament background and exploring their place in the ministry of Jesus and in the Gospel narratives. Ball also proposes a method of interpretation for Christians today, being especially concerned to help those who will preach on the parables. Drawing on an abundance of illustrations from novels, poems and sermons, the authors aim is that the authentic voice of Jesus may be heard as clearly as possible in our present world.