I've taken a list of thirty five parables and tried to organize them in eight different categories. You may see different categories than I have, but this is just one way for me to get a summary of the theology of the parables. Here are the categories with a brief description:
1. God's Word-Believe It or Not: Jesus was concerned about our hearing and believing God's word. In John 8.47 Jesus said, "He is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." These parables show how important it is for us to hear God's word. They also show what happens when people aren't interested in God's word.
2. Jesus is the Messiah: One of the great things that Jesus had to teach was the purpose of the Law of Moses. Paul said in Galatians 3.24-25 "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." These parables show how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. He is our Sabbath, Sacrifice, Temple and Promised Land. See also Colossians 2.17.
3. Repentance/Salvation: The beginning and ending of Jesus' earthly ministry are marked by the distinction of Law and Gospel. At the beginning we read, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4.17). At the end we read, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24.46).
4. Salvation/Sanctification: The other side of the coin of salvation is sanctification. While salvation is a free gift given apart from our works, it is always a gift that is working. Paul says that Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people zealous for good works" (Titus 2.14). These parables show us that faith works.
5. The Kingdom Is Of God: In the Lord's Prayer Jesus taught us to say, "Thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6.1o). These parables show how God builds His kingdom. We do not build it for Him. These parables encourage us and remind us that Jesus also said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16.18).
6. Judgment: Depending on how you categorize the parables between six and eight of these parables have to do with Judgment Day. The last prayer of the Bible is "Amen. Even so, 'Come Lord Jesus'" (Revelation 22.20). Paul said that in the Lord's Supper "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Corinthians 11.26). Christians should think often about what lies ahead.
7. Kingdom/Treasure: Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6.33). These parables show how God's kingdom is our greatest treasure. It is also His greatest treasure as well.
8. Prayer: If faith comes by hearing (Romans 10.17), then faith is expressed in prayer. Prayer is the first good work of any believer. In most cases I think it will also be our last good work on earth. Prayer is a wonderful thing.
Here are the parables in Biblical order. You can also find these on my Quizlet account in the form of flashcards.
Thirty Five Parables
1. The Wise & Foolish Builders- Matthew 7:24- 27 (Luke 6:47- 49) Gods' Word Believe It Or Not: Those who believe and obey God's word will prosper and be saved. Those who do not will perish. End of the Sermon on the Mount
2. The New Cloth and New Wineskins- Matthew 9:16- 17 Messiah: Transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant - Jesus is the Messiah - Prompted by a question about fasting.
3. The Sower- Matthew 13:5- 8 (Mark 4:3- 8; Luke 8:5- 8) Repentance/Salvation: God's word does not grow in a hardened or distracted heart. God's word grows in a heart that is broken in repentance. Sermon by the Sea. Jesus then refers to Isaiah's call in which he is told that many would not listen to him.
4. The Wheat & the Weeds- Matthew 13:24- 30 Judgment: God's kingdom will have hypocrites. We can't remove them. They will be removed at the Last Judgment.
5. The Mustard Seed- Matthew 13:31- 32 (Mark 4:30- 32; Luke 13:18- 19) Kingdom Is Of God: God's kingdom grows mysteriously and has a big influence from small sources.
6. The Yeast- Matthew 13:33 (Luke 13:20- 21) Kingdom Is Of God: God's kingdom grows and has a big influence from a small source.
7. The Hidden Treasure- Matthew 13:44 Kingdom/Treasure: God's kingdom (to be saved) is our greatest treasure. Or God's kingdom is His greatest treasure for which He gave His Son. If one is true, the other is true.
8. The Pearl of Great Price- Matthew 13:45- 46 Kingdom/Treasure: God's kingdom (to be saved) is our greatest treasure. Or God's kingdom is His greatest treasure for which He gave His Son. If one is true, the other is true.
9. The Fishing Net- Matthew 13:47- 50 Judgment: God's kingdom will have hypocrites. We can't remove them. They will be removed at the Last Judgment.
10. The Unforgiving Servant- Matthew 18:23- 35 Salvation/Sanctification: As God has forgiven us, we are to forgive others
11. The Workers in the Vineyard- Matthew 20:1- 16 Salvation/Sanctification: Salvation is God's call. Each of us suffer and/or produce fruits at different levels.
12. The Two Sons- Matthew 21:28- 32 Repentance/Salvation: Salvation is based on true repentance not good intentions.
13. The Wicked Vinegrowers- Matthew 21:33- 46 (Mark 12:1- 12; Luke 20:9- 19) Messiah: Transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant - Jesus is the Messiah - Holy Week
14. The Wedding Banquet- Matthew 22:1- 14 Gods' Word Believe It Or Not: Those who believe and obey God's word will prosper and be saved. Those who do not will perish.
15. The Two Servants- Matthew 24:45- 51 (Luke 12:42- 48) Judgment: Faithful servants work and wait on the Lord. Unfaithful servants squander God's grace.
16. The Ten Virgins- Matthew 25:1- 13 Judgment: Jesus will return and be with those who are with Him now through His word.
17. The Talents- Matthew 25:14- 30 Judgment: We will be ready for the Lord is His word is alive and at work in us.
18. The Seed Growing Secretly- Mark 4:26- 29 Kingdom Is Of God: It grows mysteriously by God's grace.
19. The Doorkeeper- Mark 13:34- 37 Judgment: Faithful servants stay awake
20. The Rude Children- Luke 7:31- 35 Messiah: Transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant - Jesus is the Messiah - Against those who rejected John's Bapism & Repentance
21. The Two Debters- Luke 7:41- 43 Repentance/Salvation: Salvation is based on true repentance not good works.
22. The Good Samaritan- Luke 10:25- 37 Repentance/Salvation: The Law requires perfect love. Only God has perfect love.
23. The Friend at Midnight- Luke 11:5- 8 Prayer: God hears our prayers therefore we should pray.
24. The Rich Fool- Luke 12:16- 21 Salvation/Sanctification: Since God has given us everything we should not desire the gifts more than the Giver.
25. The Barren Fig Tree- Luke 13:6- 9 Judgment: God desires men to be saved and is patiently working for that.
26. The Great Banquet- Luke 14:15- 24 Gods' Word Believe It Or Not: Those who believe and obey God's word will prosper and be saved.
27. The Unfinished Tower and the King's Rash War- Luke 14:28- 33 Salvation/Sanctification: Because we are saved we cannot be attached permanently to anything in this world. Spoken to large crowd, some of which were not following Jesus completely.
28. The Lost Sheep- Matthew 18:12- 14 (Luke 15:4- 7) Kingdom Is Of God: God goes to get those who will be in His Kingdom
29. The Lost Coin- Luke 15:8- 10 Kingdom Is Of God: God goes to get those who will be in His Kingdom
30. The Prodigal Son- Luke 15:11- 32 Repentance/Salvation: Salvation is based on true repentance not good works.
31. The Shrewd Manager- Luke 16:1- 9 Salvation/Sanctification: Use well the blessings God has given you. (Faithful in little/ Faithful in much)
32. The Servant's Reward- Luke 17:7- 10 Salvation/Sanctification: It is good to be a servant of a good master therefore serve the master first.
33. The Unjust Judge- Luke 18:1- 8 Prayer: If we can sometimes overcome injustice by persistance, imagine what can happen when we are persistent with a just Judge!
34. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector- Luke 18:9- 14 Repentance/Salvation: Good works do not save. God saves the broken hearted.
35. The Minas- Luke 19 Judgment: We will be ready for the Lord if His word is alive and at work in us.