Parables From The Taybeh House -- By: Greg Gulbrandsen

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 22:1 (Winter 2009)
Article: Parables From The Taybeh House
Author: Greg Gulbrandsen

Parables From The Taybeh House

Greg Gulbrandsen

“That’s a wrap,” I shouted to my friend Mike Caba as he walked out of frame of my camera’s viewfinder. We had just concluded videotaping the opening segment of our short program, “John 1:1, The Patriarch of Jerusalem Speaks.”

As I was putting away my camera, a middle-aged Palestinian walked up and asked what we were doing. After I explained the project, he introduced himself as Butros Abu Shanab, the director of an organization called “The Holylanders” (Association for the Preservation of Christian Heritage), a non-profit group dedicated to helping Palestinian Christians. When he understood what we were doing, he asked us to stop by his office for coffee and conversation.

The front door of the “Arab House.”

During the visit, he invited me to Taybeh, formerly known as the city Ephraim in John 11:54, to see the plight of these Christians living in a sea of Islam. Taybeh is located 14 mi (22 km) northeast of Jerusalem in the West Bank, and is part of the Ramallah District. It is the only remaining all-Christian village in the West Bank. When Gordon Franz, our ABR team leader, heard about my trip, he mentioned the “Arab House” located there. Gordon explained that this house is representative of what a first-century home might have looked like, and asked if I could shoot some pictures of it. Butros, the perfect host, kindly complied and was my tour guide.

Many times Jesus taught by using parables—short stories wrapped around a moral or religious lesson. When I visited the house, I realized it is a veritable plethora of parable content. One of the best ways to describe the house is to relate it to some of the parables found in the Bible. Let’s start by looking at the Parable of the Persistent Friend as found in Luke 11.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘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, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (11:5-8).

Sleeping in bed with his children? It seems strange to us living in America today in multiple-bedroom homes, but in the time...

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