The Limit Does Not Exist
When Joel and I were deciding who would preach on which Sundays during this series on the parables, he told me that the parables chosen for the later half of the series each had their own trouble spots and might require a bit of speaking “against the text.” So, since the reading ends at a bit of a cringe-worthy point and that’s probably freshest in your minds, let me start off by saying that it’s important to keep in mind the difference between a parable and an allegory.
Parables are NOT meant to be a word-by-word, character-by-character parallel where each piece of the story directly reveals or represents something else. The King may indeed be meant to represent God, but we do not need to treat every action of the character as if it reveals an undeniable truth about the nature of God.
So while the King gets a little...torture-y at the end of the story, I do not believe we need to assume a direct parallel about Divine torture is meant when Jesus finishes by saying, “So my heavenly Father will also do to every one...