PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

Luke 16

SUMMARY.--The Unjust Steward. His Shrewd Forethought. Making Friends with the Unrighteous Mammon. The Scoffing of the Covetous Pharisees. The Rich Man. The Beggar at His Gate. Death. One in Abraham's Bosom; the Other in Hades. The Rich Man's Petition. The Great Gulf. Hearing Moses and the Prophets.

      The Rich Man and the Beggar ( verses 19-31 ). A parable, also, showing the consequences of a worldly spirit and the worldly use of wealth. "Here, as in other cognate parables, great wisdom is displayed in bringing the whole force of the rebuke to bear on one point. It is not intimated that this man made free with other people's money, or that he had gained his fortune in a dishonest way. All other charges are removed, that the weight lying all on one point may more effectively imprint the intended lesson. To have represented him as dishonest, or drunken, would have blunted the weapon's edge. Here is an affluent citizen, on whose fair fame the breath of scandal can fix no blot. He had a large portion in this world, and did not seek--did not desire--any other. He spent his wealth in pleasing himself, and did not lay it out in serving God or helping man."--Arnot.

      19. A certain rich man. Not one whom the world would call great, but eminently respectable; one whom the worldly would admire, while the poor man was one whom the covetous would despise. Clothed in purple. The purple was anciently the royal color, the gorgeous hue of the imperial robes, and hence the very term, the purple, is still used to signify the royal dignity. And fine linen. The finest apparel. Faring sumptuously every day. Enjoying not only the most sumptuous fare on the table every day, but every sensual enjoyment. How the world would admire his lot in life!

      20. A certain beggar. Beggary, such as is here depicted, is much more common in the East than with us, and, in the absence of any more systematic provision, alms-giving to the poor was insisted upon by the Old Testament ( Job 29:13 Psalms 41:1 Psalms 112:9 112:9 ). Named Lazarus. "Does not Christ seem to you to have been reading in that book where the found the name of the poor man written, but found not the name of the rich? For that book is the Book of Life."--Augustine. Laid at his gate. Carried there because unable to walk. At the gate, where so many were passing, would be a favorable place for alms. Full of sores. Cutaneous sores are most common in connection with abject poverty.

      21. The dogs . . . licked his sores. How abject his lot! Helpless, a beggar, glad to get crumbs, the dogs around him licking his sores! Such a lot the world would despise.

      22. The beggar died. What became of his body is not stated. It may have been cast into the potter's field. Was carried by the angels. Here is one who in his life had not a single friend, and now, suddenly, not one, but many angels wait upon him.--Luther. His body may have had no pall-bearers, but angels carried his soul. Into Abraham's bosom. The place of rest where Abraham welcomed his children; heavenly bliss. The Jews spoke of those who went to Abraham's heavenly abode as in Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. We are to infer that he had a splendid burial; his body was placed in a costly tomb, but where was he?

      23. In Hades. The abode of departed spirits, and to the wicked, a place of punishment. Being in torments. His wealth has failed him; his good things have departed. Seeth Abraham . . . and Lazarus. A proof of recognition beyond the grave. Afar off. Widely apart in condition, character, and space.

      24. And he cried. The only instance in the New Testament of prayers to the saints. Father Abraham. His trust was in his fleshly descent. He said, "We have Abraham to our father." Send Lazarus. He seems to think that he has some claims on him, in return for his crumbs. Dip the tip of his finger in water. He only dares ask the smallest favors. Tormented in this flame. "Flame may be regarded as a figurative term, to represent acutest suffering of which a spirit is susceptible by a material image of misery the most dire."--Greswell.

      25. Son. Abraham recognizes the fleshly tie. His answer is fatherly, affectionate. Remember. Analogy gives us every reason to suppose that in the disembodied state the whole life on earth will lie before the soul in all its thoughts, words, and deeds, like the map of the past journey before a traveler.--Alford. Thy good things. He was of the number who receive their portion in this life, instead of that good part which shall never be taken from them. He had preferred the world and its rewards, and had obtained them. But he had lost the world to come. Thy is emphatic. Earthly possessions and enjoyments were his choice. Now here he is comforted. The saved leave all sorrows behind when they leave the earth; the lost leave all their joys behind.

      26. There is a great gulf fixed. It is permanent and impassable. There is no bridging over the abyss. Destiny has been decided in life.

      27-31. Send him to my father's house. This is introduced. not to show an interest in his brethren, but to call out the reply: They have Moses and the prophets. If they would refuse to hear the word of God, they would refuse to repent at the bidding of a ghost. Neither will they be persuaded, etc. This was demonstrated in the case of Jesus himself. The Jews refused to accept Christ, though Moses and the prophets testified of him. They asked for a sign, and "the sign of the prophet Jonah," his resurrection from the dead, was given. Still they refused to repent. Unbelief is due, not to a lack of evidence, but to a rebellious heart. The seat of skepticism is in the moral nature.

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