Mark 3:23

So Jesus called them to him, and answered them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan?


when backed into a corner
it is always good to have
a storyteller on your side
for mute facts and figures
are ripe props for ventriloquists

a prayer has it easy
a quickie to St. Jude will do
after all god’s in charge
bring attention to a need
and leave it in good hands

but a storyteller o a storyteller
I wouldn’t want to be one
has to dive into their wilderness
of more stories than prayers
to find which fits the crime

is it a riddle this time
a shaggy dog tale
an ancient myth recast
what vehicle could possibly carry
my heart within your heart


Parables come with explanations and without. There is a tendency for them to be presented as though a lawyer were using them during a trial.

It is important to not simply take them as tales or morality plays, but as organizing principles.

The accusation has been made in the public arena: Jesus can deal with demons because he is a confidant of the chief demon.

This is not a matter that can be volleyed back and forth among surrogates but needs a face-to-face encounter. So those who are accused need to find a debate forum where this can be dealt with. Jesus calls people, including his accusers, together to make his case.

Ched Myers says, “Parables were understood in Jewish tradition as metaphorical stories with thinly veiled political meanings (see Numbers 24; Ezekiel 17)”. Piece by piece Jesus will begin constructing a political response to a political accusation.

“You have been heard to say that I cast out demons because I have demonic power. This cannot hold together without explaining how it is that a Screwtape by any name can do a good that would undermine its basic mission to foul life up. So, in your own words, how does a Satan destroy a Satan?”

Here you might begin to hear a variety of responses. To each one a persistent reply can be made: “The question is, ‘How does a Satan destroy a Satan?’.

This is but prelude to a cascade of observations that will become a key metaphor of Jesus work—assurance of abundance.

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