The Prodigal Son, for example, is not about a boy’s vices; it is about a father’s forgiveness. The Laborers in the Vineyard are by no means the central characters in the story; they are hardly more than stick figures used by Jesus to rub his hearers’ noses in the outrageous grace of a vineyard owner who gives equal pay for unequal work.
And if there is a Christ-figure in the parable of the Good Samaritan, it is not the Samaritan but the battered, half-dead man on the ground.
Our relationships are defined, the parable insists, by the one who walks through our history as victim, not as medicine man …
It is the patients in their sufferings and deaths, not the help in white coats, who look more like Jesus on the cross. Jesus drives the same point home in the parable of the Great Judgment: it is precisely in the hungry, the thirsty, the estranged, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned that we find, or ignore, the Savior himself.
— Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus