Day 51 (Wed, Oct 1, 2014)

Parables on Money

41 total verses: Luke 16:1-31; 17:1-10

Brief description of action taking place or point being made

196. Parable of the unrighteous steward in Luke 16:1-13
197. Pharisees scoff. Teaching on divorce in Luke 16:14-18
198. The rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31
199. Jesus instructs disciples in Luke 17:1-10

General questions

1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?

Specific questions on this passage

After Completing the Bible Reading

Broader outline of each section of passage

Luke 16:1-13. Jesus tells the story of a manager who was caught behaving dishonestly, and fired by his boss. But before he was totally gone, he cut the amount owed by all the debtors, so that he would have favor with them once he was unemployed. Jesus went onto say that if you are dishonest in little things, you will be dishonest with big things; and yet if you are faithful in little things you will be faithful in big things. Finally, he said you have to choose between serving God or serving money.

Luke 16:14-18. After teaching on money and loving it more than God, the passage says that the Pharisees scoffed, because they loved money! But Jesus could read their hearts, and warned them that God certainly knows their hearts. He then has a one verse teaching on divorce, which says that if you divorce, you commit adultery; and if you marry someone who is divorced, you commit adultery.

Luke 16:19-31. Lazarus was a poor man in poor health who was at the rich man’s gate, desiring even table scraps. But he was given none. When he died, he was carried to Abraham’s side, but when the rich man died, he was tormented in Hades. The rich man asks first that Lazarus give him even a drop of water, but Abraham says that it is not possible to pass between the two places. Then he asks that Lazarus go and warn the rich man’s 5 brothers. Abraham tells the rich man that they have Moses and the Prophets, and that if they won’t listen to them, neither will they listen to someone who comes back from the dead.

Luke 17:1-10. Jesus begins with teaching about sin and temptations. First, that it is a terrible thing to cause someone (possibly referring more specifically to children) to sin. Second, that if someone sins against you, rebuke that person, and if they repent forgive them, even if the sin and then repent many times.

He then teaches very briefly that real faith will result in miraculous things happening.

Finally, he teaches that a servant should not look to be commended or be given a break simply for doing one’s duty.

My favorite passage and other random thoughts

I chose a somewhat long passage as my favorite. It is from Luke 16:27-30: “‘I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house — for I have five brothers — so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead'” (ESV).

I like this passage because of what it tells us about belief and unbelief. This is a parable told by Jesus, and with any parable, you have to be cautious not to rely on it for everything to be literally true. For example, we may not expect people condemned to hell to be able to converse with people living in heaven. However, the rich man who was suffering in hell asks Abraham to send Lazarus to warn the rich man’s brothers to change how they are living so they don’t end up in hell. He is convinced that someone who comes back from death will surely be listened to by the brothers. But Abraham assures the rich man that if his Jewish brothers did not listen to what Moses’ said, then they surely will not listen to what someone rising from the dead would say.

We know that Jesus rose from the dead. The implication of this little parable for Jewish people is that if their hearts are hard enough that they are not trying to please God by following the Law that was given to them, they certainly would not follow Jesus, even though His rising from the dead was testimony that He was worthy to be listened to. But I think the broader implication is that while many people of all cultures will rejoice when they learn about Jesus, perhaps because they are aware of their emptiness apart from God, there are many who will dismiss the evidence for Jesus because they have no desire to follow God, even if it is clear that this is truth, and He is the Truth. I think this reinforces the idea brought out in Romans 1 and 2 that God has already made his appeal to all people throughout the earth by the magnificence of Creation and by giving each person a conscience (and also later in Romans, by putting us in situations and sending people across our paths that are meant to draw us to God), and that God is astonished that so few seek Him.

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