1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 I am resolved what to
do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their
5 So he called every one
of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou
unto my lord?
6 And he said, An hundred
measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and
7 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.
8 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.
This strange story has perplexed Bible students throughout the entire
Christian era. It is quite reasonable and believable as far as the seventh
verse, but when the eighth verse is added, it becomes unbelievable,
preposterous, and absurd. However, this is what our Lord intended it to be since
absurd ideas and principles can be satirized only by means of an absurd story.
The absurdity is all the more glaring if the story is paraphrased so that it
appears in modern dress.
A certain man of great wealth and many holdings had a business manager who
was in charge of all his affairs, and a report was brought to him that this
manager was wasting his possessions. So he summoned him, questioned him
concerning this, and finally told him to prepare a complete audit of his
dealings, as he did not consider him fit to manage his affairs any longer. This
greatly troubled the manager, for he did not know what he would do for future
employment. His record of dishonesty would follow him and bar him from a like
position, he was not physically able to do hard labor, and he was too proud to
beg. The future seemed entirely black.
Thinking it over he hit upon a scheme to make quickly some friends and put
them under obligation to him, all at his employer's expense, so that when he was
discharged, they would have to find a place for him in their establishments.
Putting his plan into action, he called in everyone that owed his employer
money. The first one who came owed ten thousand dollars, so the manager told him
to take his contract and write a new one for five thousand. The second one owed
four thousand, so he told him to take his contract in exchange for a new one
showing an indebtedness of two thousand, and so on down the entire list. They
were very glad to do this, and they thanked the manager for it, telling him that
they would be glad to return the favor if they could ever do so.
When the wealthy man discovered what his crooked manager had done, he
commended him for acting so shrewdly in looking after his own interests and
continued him in his position at a good increase in salary.
Whether we read it in the King James Version or recast it into modern
language, the story is still absurd. Such a thing never happened, and it never
will happen. This steward worked these creditors into a position where he would
be able to blackmail them into supplying all his needs when his position was
gone. They are parties to a crime, a conspiracy to defraud, to illegally enrich
themselves at the expense of another. No employer will ever commend a man for
such crooked dealings. A man of the world would never believe that such a thing
would happen. Nevertheless, there were some who were supposed to be "the
children of light" who were actually believing that such a thing was going to
happen in their dealings with God. How true it is that the children of this
world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
The Lord's story about the dishonest steward was told in order to expose the
preposterous and absurd position of the scribes and the Pharisees. They
controlled everything in Israel, but they used their position and power to bring
gain to themselves. They discounted every requirement of God in order to make
friends for themselves and to perpetuate their own systems and powers. They
looked with pride and satisfaction upon their accomplishments, and actually
thought they were commended by God since they were commended by men. They were
out of favor with God, so they used the things of God to secure favor with men.
Our Lord laid bare their ridiculous position by telling a ridiculous story.
It is a masterpiece of satire. No stronger rebuke could have been spoken. He
summed it all up by calling to their attention the obvious fact that even men of
the world would not believe that an employer, who planned to discharge a man for
unfaithfulness, would change his mind and commend him when he became guilty of
still greater unfaithfulness. No man of the world would ever believe this, but
the scribes and Pharisees, who regarded themselves as children of light (John
9:41), acted as if they believed it. He put their principles into words and
lashed them with this story.
This is then followed by one of the most ironic statements in the Bible.
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. Luke 16:9.
Many and varied have been the attempts to explain these words. Ingenious
translations have been worked out in order to try to bring this statement of our
Lord into harmony with His later statement, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
There is no need to do this. The difficulty here is man-made. This passage does
not set forth a moral precept. Failure to recognize that the mode of expression
here is irony has caused much confusion. In irony the meaning of the words is
directly opposite to that which is literally stated. These words are parallel in
character with the declaration of God found in Judges 10:14.
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the
time of your tribulation.
The disciples did not take His words as a moral precept. They knew they had
already made friends of the One who alone could receive them into everlasting
habitations (John 6:68).
The Lord continues speaking to His disciples, but the character of His words
change to literal truth. All satire and irony is dropped, but every statement is
a barbed shaft pointed at the Pharisees. They are to hear what He literally
taught His disciples. This is what He says to them.
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. 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? 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. Luke 16:10-13.
Luke informs us that "the Pharisees also, who
were covetous heard all these things." (Luke 16:14). He was not even speaking to
them, yet they got the meaning of His satirical and ironical remarks. They knew
better than anyone else the things He was satirizing. They could not deny the
truth of His words so they sought vain relief in bitter derision of the One who
It was their love of money that prompted this derision of Him. In fact the
love of money was behind most of their acts. Their love of praise was strong,
their love of attention was stronger (Matt. 23:5), but their love of money was
strongest of all. Love of God, love of parents, or love of mankind would never
move them, but love of money would cause them to act every time. There were no
appeals that could cause them to untie the strings of their purses. Many of the
teachings were devised for the purpose of getting more money or holding on to
what they had. A Scriptural example will illustrate this.
The law said "Honor thy father and thy mother; and who so curseth (dishonors)
father and mother, let them die the death." In view of this it would seem that
if the parents of a Pharisee were in want that parental love would rise above
their love of money. But this was not so. To keep from supporting their parents
they had promulgated a teaching where all they had to do was say to their
parents "It is Corban", that is, that all their money was dedicated to God and
therefore could not be used to relieve destitute parents. According to their
teaching this freed them from all obligation to their parents. See Mark 7:9-13.
This derision of Him by the Pharisees as stated in Luke 16:14, caused the
Lord to interrupt His message and to speak directly to them. Luke records His
words which I will paraphrase in order to expand them. This is what I believe He
meant (Luke 16:15-17).
You deride me and scoff at me, but you cannot deny the absurdity of your
teachings, neither can you deny the charges I have brought against you. You have
perverted the Word of God in order to justify yourselves and your acts before
men, but God knows your hearts. By dealing unjustly with the oracles of God you
have gained the esteem of men, but your acts which are highly esteemed among men
are detestable in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were God's means of
dealing with Israel until John, but you have made the commandments of God
ineffective by your traditions. Since John the Baptist the kingdom of God has
been proclaimed, and everyone is showing great enthusiasm for it, but not you.
You lock the doors of the kingdom of God against men. You will not go in
yourselves, neither will you allow those who purpose to enter to go in (Matt.
23:13). But I tell you it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than for the
minutest part of the law to fail. Consider this one example. It is true that God
through Moses permitted divorce and gave the grounds for it. But you have
degraded this in order to fulfill your own desires. You have worked out a system
to get around God's law and in your own eyes be free from the sin of adultery.
Nevertheless the law stands and all who accept your teachings concerning
divorce, then enters into relationship with another woman is guilty of adultery.
The interruption caused by their sneerings did not bring an end to His
message. His words to His disciples are only momentarily suspended. After His
direct rebuke to the Pharisees the onward flow is resumed. Other things are yet
to be exposed and rebuked.
By the preposterous story about the unjust steward our Lord exposed the
ridiculous practices of the Pharisees who discounted the righteous claims and
requirements of God. They did this in order to make friends for themselves and
to perpetuate their own system. But this was only one of their absurd actions.
Our Lord referred to these when He said in Mark 7:13: "And many such like things
ye do." In continuing His discourse our Lord exposes and lays bare a number of
these things. They are quite evident in the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
Some of these are:
1. Their assumption of
the position and rights that God had ordained for the king in Israel.
2. Their intrusion
into the priest's office. They had
taken over the chief work
of the priests-that of
priests to perform the empty ritual
3. The luxurious and
magnificent style in which
they lived at a time when most of Israel was
suffering great hardship due to the Roman
4. Their shameful neglect of
the poor in Israel in
direct violation of God's instructions in
Deuteronomy 15:7-11. They justified this by
5. Their harsh treatment
of the sinners in Israel.
6. Their teaching that at
death certain angels carried good men to a place which they called "Abraham's
bosom," while others were taken to a place where "temporary punishments" were
meted out to them "agreeable to everyone's behavior and manners." They held that
poverty and hunger were God's punishments upon men while they were upon earth,
and if men accepted their punishment without complaint they would not need to
pay for these sins in the future. They held that riches were a sign of God's
favor, and that poverty was evidence of His displeasure. They claimed that if
they helped the poor they would be acting contrary to God.
7. The caste system which
they had established
in Israel and which they rigidly maintained.
8. Their idea that God
would speak to them in a special way, and not in the manner in which He spoke to
the common people. They were so exalted in their own minds that they rejected
the idea of God speaking to them in the same signs He gave to others. This is
seen in their actions of demanding a sign from heaven immediately after the Lord
had fed four thousand from a supply that was hardly enough for one man.
teaching that if a man received evil things in
this life, he would receive good
things in the life to
come. This teaching was
concocted by the rich rulers
in order to keep the poor
in subjection. It was a "pie
in the sky" sort of
doctrine which was intended to
keep the hungry from
demanding bread here and
now. The Pharisees never
followed this teaching out
to all its conclusions. Our
Lord in His satire made this
teaching a "two way" street.
These are some of the things taught and (whenever convenient) practiced by
the Pharisees. They are woven throughout the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem
Talmud. Many of them will be found in the history written by Josephus15 . Many
of them will be seen in the things censured and condemned by our Lord. These are
the things exposed, ridiculed, and rebuked by our Lord in the satirical story of
the rich man and Lazarus.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
There was a certain rich man. This character in the Lord's story points to
the aristocratic ruling class in Israel. This was composed of Pharisees,
Sadducees, priests, and scribes. The word rich in Scripture does not refer
exclusively to those who had money. It described a class of men, a definite
caste. A place in it was usually hereditary. An idea of the general character of
those in this caste can be gained from such passages as James 2:5, 6 and 5:1-6.
This caste system was rigidly maintained in Israel. The gulf between rich and
poor had no bridges, and the rich would permit none to be built.
Which was clothed in purple. The word purple describes a cloth which was
customarily worn by kings. The kingly claims of our Lord were mocked by clothing
Him in purple (John 19:2). The statement that this rich man was clothed in
purple points to the fact that an aristocratic class in Israel had assumed the
place of kings. They had assumed the authority while disregarding altogether the
responsibilities that God had laid upon rulers in Israel. "He that ruleth over
men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." 2 Sam. 23:3. The ruling class in
Israel was tyrannical and oppressive. They were not just, they did not rule in
the fear of God, and they lacked entirely the shepherd character that God
expected of those who governed His people.
And fine linen. This was the garment worn by the priests in Israel. It points
to the fact that a clique in Israel controlled the priesthood and had assumed
the chief prerogative of the priests, that of teaching the people. "The scribes
and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat," was the Lord's words concerning them
(Matt. 23:2). His words stated a fact, but they do not admit the right of these
men to Moses' seat. They were not called to this seat as Moses had been. He
assumed that seat reluctantly, but these men had assumed his seat of their own
accord and were determined to hold it. They were self-appointed usurpers and
acted as though their pronouncements were as binding as the revelations God gave
to Moses. They taught precepts and bound them upon others but would not apply
them to themselves. "They say, and do not" (Matt. 23:3 ) .
And fared sumptuously every day. This points to the splendid manner in which
the rich ruling class in Israel lived. Their position shielded them from the
oppression and sufferings which most Israelites had to bear because of the Roman
And there was a certain beggar. This character is brought into the story to
point to the poor in Israel. In English the word poor is used to emphasize the
poverty of the person or persons so described, but in the Hebrew and Greek the
prominent idea is that of the ill-treated or miserable. Even though the poor
were often, no doubt, persons in need, they were primarily those suffering from
some kind of social disability or distress. Passages such as Amos 8:4; Isa.
3:14-15; 10:1, 2; 32: 7, Ezek. 16:49; 22:29, show the poor to be those who were
oppressed by a high-handed and cruel aristocracy. In the writing of the prophets
we find that the wealthy, ruling classes are constantly taken to task for their
cruel and unjust treatment of the poor. This had not changed in the least in our
Named Lazarus. The fact that this name is used is a definite part of our
Lord's satire. This name means "God a help" and it has reference to a practice
that seemed to be common in Israel— that of the rich referring to God all
requests by the poor for help. They would answer all requests for food and
clothing with the stock phrases "Go in peace, be ye warmed, and be ye filled"
and yet do nothing to fulfill these needs (Jas. 2:15, 16). These words actually
mean "God! will warm you, God will fill you", but the word God does not appear
due to the fact that the Jews would not use His name in ordinary conversation.
Was laid at his gate. A gate in Scripture was the symbol of authority. The
poor in Israel were the responsibility of the rich, but the rich threw the
responsibility back upon God. They would devour a widow's property, then make
long prayers to God for her help.
Full of sores. A further description of their miserable condition, as is ever
the case of the poor in an occupied and oppressed country. They suffered many
wounds from the tyrannical and oppressive Roman conquerors. They also suffered
deprivation from tax-gathers and lawless neighbors, and heaped upon this were
the wounds they suffered from the aristocratic class in Israel. Indeed they were
full of sores.
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.
There is no record of a revolt of the poor in Israel against the rich. All they
ever asked for was a little easing of their hard lot, a thing well within the
power of the Pharisees to grant. But they refused to fulfill the directive of
God as set forth in Deuteronomy 15:7, 8.
Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. There can be no doubt but that
this statement points to the fact that many merciful acts were performed for the
poor in Israel by individuals in the Roman army of occupation. Cornelius was one
who gave much alms to the people (Acts 10:2).
Up to this point in His story our Lord has set the stage and placed the
characters upon it. Now He is going to take these characters, move them about
and cause them to speak, but in harmony with the principles and teaching of the
All teaching in Israel was rigidly controlled by the Pharisees. No one could
teach without their authority. No matter how preposterous or unfair their
teachings became, none dared to question or criticize them. What they bound upon
others, none dared to bind upon them. The scribes took their precepts and
repeated them parrot-like to the people. This is why they spoke as those having
no authority (Matt. 7:29). The scribes did not believe what they taught, but
they had to teach it or risk the anger of the Pharisees.
When the Lord appeared upon earth He took their doctrines and turned them
back upon them. He exposed their principles by putting into words the things
they practiced. By so doing He incurred their deepest hatred.
Among their teachings was one that implied that if a man were poor and needy
in this life, he would be rich in the life to come. This kept many satisfied to
be poor, helped maintain the gulf between rich and poor, and spared the
Pharisees the task of helping them. They intimated that if this life were filled
with evil things, the life to come would be filled with good things. But this
was as far as it went. They never allowed this idea to go so far as to say that
if a man were rich in this life, he would be poor in the next; or if a man
enjoyed good things in this life, he would receive evil things in the life to
The motive behind their lopsided teaching is evident. No commands in the Word
of God could be plainer than those which made it the duty of the rich in Israel
to care for the poor. Even the crafty Pharisee would have difficulty in
explaining away such plain statements as those found in Deuteronomy 15:7-11. So
they made these words void: by a tradition that made poverty to be a virtue that
carried a guarantee of great bliss in the next life. By getting the people to
accept even gnawing hunger as being the will of God, they saved themselves from
the unpleasant duty of untying their own purse strings.
While it is only surmise it may have been that by some such teaching as this
the Pharisees had committed some grave offense against one whose name was
Lazarus, and this could be another reason why the Lord gave this name to the
character in His story. There may have been a man who was wretchedly poor and
pitifully sick. Day after day he lay upon the streets, too weak to help himself
in any manner. His condition may have touched the hearts of many, but they were
in no position to help. Their sympathy and pity for him called for something to
be done-but what could be done. Someone may have suggested that in view of this
man's desperate need, his case should be brought to the attention of the rulers
in Israel. Certainly in view of their wealth and power they would not refuse the
few crumbs required to relieve this poor man's distress.
It may have been that a committee was sent to the Pharisees. We can imagine
the fear and hesitancy that accompanied such a task, but their sympathies drove
them on. So this man's case was laid before the Pharisees.
This placed them in a difficult position. They could not deny that the poor
man needed help, and they could not say they lacked the means to help him. If
they bluntly refused, it would hurt them in the eyes of the people. It appeared
that for once they would have to open their purses.
But the Pharisees were masters of every situation, always ready with some
teaching that would relieve them of their obligations. They probably expressed
their deep compassion for the poor man, wiping away a few tears as they did so.
This always made a good impression. They recounted with sorrow how his whole
life had been one of poverty, filled with evil things. But, said they, better
times were sure to come soon for him. He had received his evil things in this
life, and this signified that he would get his good things in the life to come.
Why, then, should they go against God, and change the wretched state of this man
when that very state presaged a better state in the next life.
If the people saw the contradictions in teaching such as this, they dared not
state it, for the Pharisees were in authority and the common people never
questioned or answered back. They may have reasoned within themselves that if
evil things were the guarantee of good things in the future life, then good
things in this life must signify evil things in the life to come. However, if
they did reason after this manner they never expressed it. Few there were who
dared to brave the wrath of a Pharisee (see John 12:42, 43). Thus the Pharisees
protected their wealth and position by leading the people to believe that
poverty was a cardinal virtue. But it was a virtue which no Pharisee cared to
When the greatest of all teachers appeared upon earth, He was not afraid of
them. They demanded to know of His authority to teach, but He refused to tell
them. In His censure of them He took their own teachings, held them accountable
for their idle words, judged them out of their own mouths, and bound upon them
what they had laid upon others. He, by means of satirical stories, developed
their teaching to all its logical conclusions and forced upon them all its
consequences. If one position was to be reversed in the life to come, then all
positions were to be reversed. If the poor were to be rich, then the rich should
be poor. If a man on the good side of a great gulf in this life, then he should
be on the evil side in the life to come. This is the situation we find in the
second part of the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Our Lord caused all actors
to move and be in complete harmony with the teachings and principles of the
Pharisees. The result is most startling, especially so when dead men begin to
act and talk.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into
Abraham's bosom. This is the way it would take place according to the traditions
held by the Pharisees. To keep this idea from being preposterous, men have been
forced to insert here the idea of a disembodied soul or a disembodied spirit.
But such things are unknown to the Word of God. There is no hint of soul or
spirit in the words of our Lord. That which lived, died, and that which died was
carried by the angels. Our Lord was not revealing here what happens at death. He
is exposing a teaching of the Pharisees about the angels carrying the dead to a
place they called Abraham's bosom. This is a thing and a place that is unknown
in the Word of God. But it was not unknown in the traditions of the Pharisees,
as the Talmud and the writings of Josephus give abundant witness.
The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell (hades) he lift up his
eyes being in torments. The one who allied was buried, and the one who was
buried is set forth as being tormented in hades. Since no one has been able to
tell us how he got out of the grave and into a place of torment, men are forced
to insert here some vague idea about a soul. This statement makes no more sense
than if I should say "that a certain man died, and was buried, and in the
penitentiary he was found in solitary confinement." This cannot be true. And our
Lord is not presenting the story of the rich man in harmony with the truth, but
in full harmony with the traditions of the Pharisees about the transmigration of
souls. From Genesis 1 to Luke 16 there is no Biblical record anywhere of a man
being anywhere after death except in the tomb. God's word to Adam was:
In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, until you return to the
ground; for out of it were you taken; for you are dust, and unto dust you shall
return Gen. 3:19.
In view of these words anyone who believes that Adam is anywhere except in
the dust of the earth does not believe this declaration of God .
And seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. This is the way it
would be according to the teaching of the Pharisees, so this is the way that the
Lord presents it in His story.
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. This presents a conclusion which the Pharisees never
included in their teaching. Since on earth Lazarus begged for crumbs, then, in
hades the rich man is seen begging for a drop of water. And the ideas about
Abraham's bosom, the rich man's eyes, Lazarus' finger, the rich man's tongue all
serve to heighten the satirical story told by our Lord.
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. In answer to his plea for a few drops of water,
Abraham is presented as setting forth all the Pharasaic traditions about the
poor becoming rich in the life to come. His answer is pure gibberish. It could
have no possible bearing upon why the poor man was where he was or why the rich
man was in his condition. It is completely foreign to the truth about the grace
of God which alone fits a sinner for blessing in the life to come. And it denies
the justice of God, since it presents a man suffering simply because in his
lifetime he received good things. Yet it is all in harmony with Pharasaic
teaching. Furthermore, if the caste system were God's will for earth, it should
continue after death. So, our Lord presented it in this manner, but He placed
the rich on the evil side of the gulf. This is the way it would have been it the
Pharasaic tradition about the reversal of positions in regard to the poor were
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. This request by the rich man points
to another attitude assumed by the Pharisees which also needs to be exposed and
rebuked. Their place as a privileged class in Israel caused them to feel that
they were not required to believe the evidences given to ordinary men. "A sign
from heaven", was the demand they made of the Lord Jesus (Matt. l6:1). They
imply the signs He has hitherto wrought are insufficient, and their position
requires that they be granted some special sign which in outward grandeur will
exceed all other signs that He has wrought. This false attitude is exposed by
the words the Lord puts upon the lips of Abraham. Abraham saith unto him, They
have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. This was the divine provision
for all in Israel, high and low, rich and poor. If men believed Moses, they
would have believed Christ (John 5:46).
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead,
they will repent. The rich man declares that the written word is not sufficient,
but if one comes to 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.
The Pharisees are here exposed for their superstitions This man knows that
while his brothers do not believe the Word of God, he is sure they will respond
if one returned from the dead. There will always be those who will give credence
to every strange portent, but refuse to give any credence to the sacred
Scriptures. As in the case of a woman who attended a seance and claims her dead
husband materialized as a bubble, telling her many wonderful things. She readily
believed this bubble, but refuses to believe the Bible. There are many who would
gladly listen to a ghost, but who will not listen to the Word of God.
Superstition and unbelief always go hand in hand.
With the statement that since they had failed to hear the written Word, no
miracle would persuade them to believe, our Lord ended His long battle with the
Pharisees. His satirical story has reached its end. The Pharisees are stripped
naked by it. Their exposure is complete. They can make no answer. Any attempt to
reply will only reveal that His satire is understood, that it has reached its
mark. Their sole hope now is to retire from the open field of battle, then seek
more devious ways of silencing Him.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. The story of the rich man and
Lazarus is a divinely inspired satire. Its study is the study of a satire that
was spoken by God. It is as much the Word of God as any other portion of
Scripture. It was not given for the purpose of teaching men about the ways and
works of God. Its purpose was to turn the light upon the Pharisees. It is not
the place to go to find what our Lord taught about death, the state of the dead,
future punishment, or future bliss. It Is Not the Gospel.
An objection is anticipated. Some will say that to treat this portion as a
satire is to offer an interpretation that is so complex that it puts it beyond
the reach of the simple, unsophisticated seeker of God's truth. But is not this
also true when Luke 16 is treated as historical narrative?
This story is not "the gospel." The gospel
concerns "His Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 1:3) and Christ is not even
referred to in this story. This is not the place to bring an honest seeker who
is looking for the Savior, neither is it the place to bring the simple believer
who desires to learn more about God and Christ. This story was aimed at the
sneering, unbelieving, self-righteous Pharisees. When handled rightly it still
carries a powerful message to all such today.