Luke 16: Lazarus and the Rich Man

In fully explaining his story about the dishonest manager, what would Jesus have said to his disciples?

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Luke 16:1–9 Jesus said to his disciples, “Once, a rich man had a manager who was accused of wasting his employer’s money. He called the manager in. ‘What is this I hear about you? I want a complete report of what you have done with my money, because you cannot be my employee any longer.’ The manager said to himself, What am I to do? I am about to be fired. I cannot do hard labor, and I am too proud to beg. I know what I must do so people will receive me into their homes when I no longer have a job. One by one, he contacted each of his employer’s debtors. To the first, he said, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘One hundred barrels of olive oil.’ ‘Take your bill,’ the manager said. ‘Sit down right now and write fifty.’ To the next debtor, he said, ‘How much do you owe?’ ‘A hundred sacks of wheat,’ he said. ‘Here,’ the manager said. ‘Take your bill and change it to eighty.’ The rich man praised the dishonest manager for his creative solution, because the people of the world are more clever in their dishonesty than the godly who do right. Here is the point: Use the world’s resources to build relationships and help others. When you have nothing left on Earth, you will be welcomed at your eternal home in Heaven.”
King James
Luke 16:1–9 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Why are dishonest and honest behaviors consistent for both small and great responsibilities? What might prompt a change in that behavior?

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Luke 16:10 “Those who are faithful in small concerns will be faithful when much is at stake. And he who is dishonest in petty matters will be dishonest in what is most important.”
King James
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

How do we know what we should do with what we have been given? If we had more, what would we do with it?

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Luke 16:11–12 “If you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with Heaven’s riches? If you cannot be trusted with what belongs to others, who can trust you to do right with what you own?”
King James
Luke 16:11–12 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

What makes it difficult to seek both God and riches? Why did the Pharisees think this was no problem?

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Luke 16:13–14 As on earlier occasions, he said, “No one can serve two masters, because you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and cheat the other. You cannot serve God and riches at the same time.”
When the Pharisees heard this, they made fun of Jesus because they loved riches.
King James
Luke 16:13–14 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

What does God admire that people don’t?

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Luke 16:15 “You make yourselves look good in public,” Jesus told them, “but God sees your heart. That which is most highly admired by people is detested by God.”
King James
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

In what ways might entering the Kingdom of God differ from what the Law and the prophets preached until John?

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Luke 16:16 “The Law and the prophets spoke until the time of John the Baptizer. Since then, we have preached the Kingdom of God, but people still try to make their own way into the Kingdom.”
John 3:3 “I can guarantee,” Jesus said, “you will never see the Kingdom of God unless you are born again.”
King James
Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

If the smallest point of the Law cannot fail, why did the apostle Paul say we are not under the Law?

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Luke 16:17 “It would be easier for the skies above and the earth below to disappear than for the smallest point of the Law to fail.”
Romans 6:14–15 God should be your master, not sin, because God’s love and forgiveness, not the Law with its many regulations, should be the driving force in your lives. What do you think? Should we continue to sin because we are not bound by rules and regulations but live under his forgiveness? Absolutely not!
Galatians 2:19–21 I am dead to laws and traditions so I can live totally focused on doing whatever God wants. By the Law, I am condemned and nailed to the cross with Christ, but now he is alive in me to do his will. My flesh is committed to believing and following the Son of God, who loves me and sacrificed his life for me. Jesus died because the Law could not make us right with God, and it’s unthinkable that I would nullify the sacrifice that made our relationship with him possible.
King James
Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Romans 6:14–15 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Galatians 2:19–21 I am dead to laws and traditions so I can live totally focused on doing whatever God wants. By the Law, I am condemned and nailed to the cross with Christ, but now he is alive in me to do his will. My flesh is committed to believing and following the Son of God, who loves me and sacrificed his life for me. Jesus died because the Law could not make us right with God, and it’s unthinkable that I would nullify the sacrifice that made our relationship with him possible.

If people could not keep the Law of Moses, how could they meet the higher standards that Jesus preached?

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Luke 16:18 “Any man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
King James
Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

After they died, why were the conditions of the rich man and Lazarus reversed?

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Luke 16:19–26 “There was a rich man,” Jesus said, “who dressed in expensive clothes and lived in luxury. At the gate to his house lay a poor beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores. While Lazarus longed for a few leftover scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs licked his sores. One day, the beggar died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, but his soul was in torment. In the place of the dead, the rich man saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. He shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am suffering in these flames.’ Abraham said, ‘Son, remember all the good things you received during your life. Lazarus lived in misery, but now he is comfortable while you are in agony. Besides, a great abyss separates you and me. No one can cross over.'”
King James
Luke 16:19–26 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Why wouldn’t people who wouldn’t listen to Moses and the prophets respect someone who rose from the dead? How could Abraham know that was true?

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Luke 16:27–31 “The rich man said, ‘I beg you, Father, if Lazarus cannot come to me, send him to my father’s house. At least he can warn my five brothers there so they will avoid this place of torment.’ ‘They already have Moses and the prophets,’ Abraham said. ‘Your brothers can listen to them.’ ‘Oh, no, Father Abraham. If a messenger is sent from the dead, they will surely turn from their sins.’ But Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead.'”
King James
Luke 16:27–31 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.