Easter Replay: The Construction Foreman (with Interpretation)

For this week’s parable, I point you to the Parable of the Construction Foreman. I wrote it with an eye on the miracle of the original Easter Sunday. I’ll discuss the interpretation of the parable below and share my testimony, but I invite you to go back and read the parable before continuing with this post.

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The main characters in this parable are Farrell, Declan, and Kerry. Farrell, the eponymous foreman, is the Christ figure. Farrell has a plan, ensures that the plan is carried out, and holds his crew to the necessary standards. Declan, who has worked with Farrell for years and is not only familiar with Farrell’s expectations, but he and his family are close friends with Farrell. He represents the Lord’s longtime disciples (including Apostles). Kerry, new to Farrell’s crew, represents those who are likewise newer to Christian discipleship and membership in Jesus’s Church.

Jesus has plans and standards of excellence that He expects us to adhere to. Some have been members of His Church for many years, and they have achieved the close friendship with Him that all who truly wish to follow Him obtain in life. At the same time, we meet those who are just discovering Jesus Christ and His gospel and Church. They may bring with them serious sins, and as they begin the covenant path and make an honest go of it, they may yet falter, with significant consequences.

This parable contains two key moments: when Farrell recognized Kerry’s danger and intervened, and when Farrell’s family, Declan, and Kerry are gathered in Farrell’s hospital room.

Our Redeemer, our Lord, is that Man who, knowing our imminent downfall at our own hands, also saw that He was the only One who could intervene and cast us clear of it. He saw the danger and cost to Himself, yet He resolutely and courageously held our life and salvation as His first priority.

Following His sacrifice, Jesus seemed lost to those close to Him. He was gone, and from their perspectives, the chances that He could reenter their lives in any way were remote at best. No one could scrape together a positive outlook. No one knew what they would do without Him.

Farrell came back temporarily on Sunday morning. Like Jesus, he couldn’t stay, but he entrusted those close to him with the responsibility of carrying on their labors and caring for each other. He also forgave and charged his loved ones to do the same.

Like all parables, this one oversimplifies gospel principles in order to illustrate a point. Declan and Kerry are separate characters, but in truth, we can find both of them in ourselves. We can all come to be like Declan—an unwavering, loyal follower and friend of the One we serve—but it may be easy also to find reflected in ourselves a tendency to look at others and their errors as the cause of Jesus’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary. It’s up to Christ when to forgive, but He requires us to extend mercy to and forgive each other (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10).

At the same time, we are all like Kerry, having contributed to our Savior’s suffering and the need for His sacrifice. None of us is exempt from dependence on His intervention and His forgiveness. Farrell’s intervention on Kerry’s behalf illustrates how Christ’s sacrifice and mercy are individual and personal.

It’s now nearly two years since I began writing, posting, and linking to parables. Some of my favorite ones are those that have invited me to consider Jesus Christ’s mission and character from various angles. No one parable is adequate to paint a rich picture of the immeasurable extent of who Jesus is and what He has done. But it’s possible that this is the case because we grow in understanding “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30). So we should not expect to fully understand the complete majesty and miracle of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice from one story or allegory.

Receiving direction from the Holy Ghost as I have written parables about Jesus Christ these last two years has helped me come to know Christ in a deeper way. I have far to go, but He is more real to me because of this exercise and process.

I know that Jesus lives—that the tomb was indeed empty on Easter morning because He had “life in himself” (John 5:26) and He had completed His triumph over death and hell. He has taken upon Himself all punishment and all pain so he can offer us comfort, peace, and purification. He is the Man I want to become like, and He can help me shed my faults and sins to bring it about. He is the flowering of humble hope and the dawn of faith unto eternal life.

I wish you a happy Easter, to feel the joy that comes from knowing that you have an all-powerful Redeemer and Savior!

Photo by Leigh Patrick on Pexels.com

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