To be completely honest, after spending some time meditating on Luke 16, I struggled to know exactly what to write about. There is so much depth and good wisdom in this chapter, that I could never fit it in one blog post. Seriously, have you read Luke 16 lately? If not, I encourage you to spend some time there. Read it in a few of your favorite translations and let your heart meditate on the words of Jesus.
In chapter 16 we find Jesus teaching two parables to a group of people including the Pharisees. In the second half of the chapter, Jesus tells the story of a selfish rich man and a poor man stricken with leprosy (Read Luke 16:19-31). Both men die sending the rich man to the place of the dead and the poor man carried to be with Abraham. In his torment, the rich man becomes the beggar and pleads for Abraham to send the poor man back from the dead to warn his family to keep them from ending up in the same torment.
“Then the rich man said, “Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home, for I have five brothers and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment,’ “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ “The rich man replied, ‘No Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:27-31 NLT)
Whoa, wait. Did you catch that last verse? “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:31 NLT) Wow. Jesus is speaking to a group of people who are familiar with prophecies and the Law of Moses, people who actually have access to read the ancient scripts. People who are physically present with Jesus and STILL DO NOT BELIEVE OR OBEY! Jesus is effectively challenging their unbelief and foreshadowing his own crucifixion and resurrection. Not even Christ’s death and resurrection would convince them Jesus is who he says he is.
How can this be? How can people who would consider themselves spiritual authority not believe Jesus is the son of God and not be convinced by the resurrection of Christ? Because they did not actually love the Lord they claimed to serve.
Jesus addresses this in the same chapter (Read 16:13-15). No one can serve two masters. We can love the Lord with our whole hearts and obey or we pretend to love and actually serve our own selfish desires.
Jesus says this in another way in John 14:15 “If you (really) love Me, you will keep and obey my commandments” (AMP) Without a love for who the Lord is, there is no obedience. Jesus made sure to point out multiple times prior to his crucifixion and resurrection that our salvation did not come from works or miracles alone. It comes from faith developed out of hearing God’s word and a love for who God is. (Read Romans 10:17) Without any of this, not even the resurrection of Christ will convince them to obey
Those that recognized Jesus as the Son of God, were able to because they loved God and His son Jesus. It is the same in our lives. The things we really know are usually the things we love, the things we are passionate about, the things that hold our attention captive.
As you meditate on Luke 16 this week, prayerfully consider these questions. Write them down in your journal and ask the Lord to guide you as you take inventory on your heart.
- Do I truly love the Lord?
- Who or what am I really serving? Another way to put it is, Who or what has the majority of my attention?
- Where am I struggling to obey the Lord?