[Originally published April 22, 2008.]
Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
One of the disciples asked, “What of the man who builds his house inside the house built on the rock? Surely his house will be even less damaged by water and wind. Is this what we should do?”
And Jesus said, “No, don’t do that.”
At that time a man said unto Jesus, “Jesus! I do not understand the nature of the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them went astray. He left the 99 and looked for the one until he found it. When it was found, he said to the sheep, ‘That you went astray is a clear sign that you misunderstand my instructions. You are nothing to me.’ And then the shepherd turned the lost sheep into a pillar of salt, because the shepherd is God in this parable, and that’s the sort of thing He does when people fail to understand His Word.”
“Wait, what?” said the man,
And the man became a pillar of salt.
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ Then the one inside answers, ‘OK, just gimme a minute,’ and he goes to one of his friends, and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of a friend of mine on a journey has come to the friend who’s my friend, and that friend has nothing to set before his friend.’”
One of the disciples said, “Wait, doesn’t the original person’s friend need three loaves of bread because a friend of his friend who’s on a journey has come to the friend of the original person’s friend, and that friend has nothing to set before his first friend? Or is that what you just said?”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Jesus. “The point is that God can get you free bread.”
“But what do you think about this?” asked Jesus. “A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. Which of the two was obeying his father?”
“The first!” cried some of the disciples.
“The second!” cried the rest of the disciples.
And Jesus said, “Wait, I messed this one up. Did I mention that when the first son went to work in the vineyard he killed somebody? Because that’s important. So, yeah, which of the two was obeying his father?”
“Uh … the first?” said some of the disciples.
“The second! The second!” cried the rest of the disciples.
And Jesus said, “Oh, cripes, also the father only has one arm. And he is riding a horse the whole time. Was that clear?”
One of the disciples said, “Are you sure that’s not ‘The Parable of the One-Armed Father Who Rode on a Horse’?”
And Jesus said, “Maybe you’re right. OK, let’s change the question: Which of the two sons was the tallest?”
The disciples were silent.
Jesus shook his head in dismay. “Have I taught you nothing?”