Pickle Parable: Extended Metaphor

There is value in using simple images we are familiar with to help us understand more complex concepts. The Bible is rich with such imagery. But sometimes we get carried away and a metaphor can be overextended. At some point every analogy breaks down and it is possible to complicate the issue we started out trying to simplify. I didn’t want to add to the original post but the wife and I had a discussion about the Parable of the Pickle Jar and I submit the following for your consideration.

Opening the pickle jar is analogous to keeping the Law. Jesus acts like a loving parent when he comes along and does it for us. He kept the Law perfectly and extends grace to us as a free gift, much like a parent takes the lid off the jar so a small child can help himself/herself to a pickle. I have been preaching through Galatians and this parable was born out of a Galatians 5 sermon. Jesus dealt with Pharisees during his earthly ministry, a religious sect particularly concerned with keeping the Law and enforcing the commandments. Paul contended at times with Judaizers, groups of Jewish Christians that taught Gentiles they needed to learn the Old Covenant Law and essentially become good Jews before they could follow Christ and be good Christians. So if the Law is represented by a stubborn pickle jar, and Jesus opens the lid because he loves us, then the Pharisees are like a strong willed child that insists he can do it for himself. Imagine trying to open the jar for your child only to get pushed away. Maybe he runs into his room with the jar and slams the door. The Galatians had received the Gospel and accepted Christ. They received the Spirit and started Christian churches when along come the Judaizers behind Paul, convincing the new Gentile believers to be circumcised and learn the Law. Paul implored them not to go backwards and trust in the Law since they had already received the promise. So in the pickle jar analogy the Judaizers wanted to put the lid back on the jar after Jesus had already opened it.

So to review: hard to open pickle jar lid represents the Law.
Jesus is like a parent that opens the lid God’s children could not.
The Pharisees insist they can open it without any help.
The Judaizers want to put the lid back on the jar.

Have fun with that.


Screenshot 2019-03-27 at 8.42.33 AM


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