A Parable Concerning Comissioned Messengers

March 27, 2011

During a war, a large group of soldiers under a lieutenant goes AWOL. All those soldiers who went AWOL are captured by the enemy and put in a concentration camp with no contact of any kind with the outside world. Many months go by. The king of the country whose soldiers were captured promotes that lieutenant to second in authority over his whole country and devises a plan for rescuing the captured soldiers. He gives the former lieutenant all authority to deal with any of the soldiers that he ends up rescuing.

The former lieutenant gathers some leaders of several rescue squads to go carry out the king’s plan. He gives the leaders specific instructions orally about what to do and what to say in carrying out their mission. The instructions include statements w and x, which include the terms of pardon, and statement y, which is essential information about how to access that pardon and how to make it safely out of the enemy country. He also instructs them to declare statement z to the captive soldiers, which consists of telling them that the king has promoted him to be the head over the whole country.

The leaders of the rescue squads give each of their squad members a written copy of the instructions. The rescue squads go on their mission and discover that the enemy has dispersed the captive soldiers to numerous locations. The leaders are only able to accompany a few of their squad members in carrying out the mission. Most of the rescuers in most of the squads discover that the mission will be much harder than they were expecting. In carrying out the rescue operation, the leaders and the squad members who are with them declare all the statements that they were commissioned to proclaim. All the leaders and the squad members who are with the leaders are killed while carrying out the mission.

Of the squad members who were separated from their squad leaders, some rescuers tell some of the soldiers in a few of the locations w, x, y, and z. Most of them do not tell any of the captives about z. Some do not do so because they were separated from their leaders and wonder exactly what the leaders may have ended up doing. Some do not do so because they simply forget to do so in the heat of the moment. Many do not do so because they never read the written instructions thoroughly. Others, while reading that they were supposed to say z, do not do so because they reason that it is not essential for the rescue of the captives.

Amazingly, some of the captives refuse the terms of rescue completely. Some refuse when they hear statement z, not believing that the former lieutenant is sincere in promising that he will not hold them accountable now that he is the head over all the country. Many of the captives are rescued, including many who did not hear statement z from rescuers who had been separated from their squad leaders.

When they are taken before the king and the lieutenant, what will be the evaluation of those in the rescue squads who did not proclaim statement z? Yes, many of the recipients of the truncated message were still rescued, even though they did not hear z. Was their head, however, given the honor in the mission that he was supposed to have received? If he was not honored as fully as he intended, will he hold them accountable for his not having received the full honor that he wanted to receive through the proclamation of all the statements, including statement z?

“And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:42-43).

Rajesh

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