16:1 Jesus also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who was informed of accusations that his manager was wasting his assets.
In chapter fifteen Jesus spoke the parables to the Pharisees and Scribes now he turns His attention to His disciples and tells them this parable about an unjust steward. A rich man had appointed a steward to manger his estate but but he was accused of squandering his goods. Note it does not say or imply that he was stealing from his master he was just a bad manager.
16:2 So he called the manager in and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Turn in the account of your administration, because you can no longer be my manager.'
He was summoned to appear before his master to give an account of his behaviour and warned that if he could not justified his actions then he would lose his position.
16:3 Then the manager said to himself, 'What should I do, since my master is taking my position away from me? I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm too ashamed to beg.
He began to think what he could do to save himself. As he had never done any physical work he would not be able to turn his hand to anything manual and the thought of having to beg went against his pride.
16:4 I know what to do so that when I am put out of management, people will welcome me into their homes.'
The thought came to him that if he was going to loose his job then he had better make certain that he had plenty of friends who would give him a home when he needed it.
16:5 So he contacted his master's debtors one by one. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'
So he called everybody who owed money to his master to come to him and he asked them how much they owed.
16:6-7 The man replied, 'A hundred measures of olive oil.' The manager said to him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write fifty.' Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' The second man replied, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' The manager said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'
The first one owed seven and half gallons of oil. So the steward told him to alter his bill to read fifty. Another said that he owed a hundred bushels of wheat so he told him to alter his bill to eighty bushels.
16:8 The master commended the dishonest manager because he acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries than the people of light.
Instead of being angry with the unjust steward for being dishonest he admired him for being so shrewd, connived to save himself. In doing this it did not mean that he approved of what he done. Using this parable Jesus tells His disciples that unbelievers are more clever than believers in these matters when dealing with other people.
16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by how you use worldly wealth, so that when it runs out you will be welcomed into the eternal homes.
Jesus continues by saying something that is difficult to understand "make friends by using unrighteous money". He cannot mean by using money that you have obtained dishonestly. He rather refers to all riches as such because it pertains to this world so the New Living Testament has "Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. By doing so when you no longer have a need for money you will be received and welcome by those that you have helped in this life into the heavenly home.
16:10 The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Those who are faithful in the small things that God entrusts them with can be relied upon to be faithful in the greater things He commits to them. The opposite is true who ever is dishonest in little ways will be dishonest in a greater way.
16:11-12 If then you haven't been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will entrust you with the true riches? And if you haven't been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you your own?
If you have been untrustworthy in worldly matters, is God going to trust you with the eternal riches? If you have been unfaithful in another person's property, will God entrust His riches to you?
16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
No servant can commit himself to serving two masters completely. One or the other will suffer loss for he will be more devoted to the one and despise the other, or he will be more dedicated to the one and inconsiderate to the other. You cannot serve bothe God and riches.
The Law and Prophets Fulfilled
16:14 The Pharisees (who loved money) heard all this and ridiculed him.
The Pharisees who had been listening to this parable began to taunt Him because they loved money.
16:15 But Jesus said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in men's eyes, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly prized among men is utterly detestable in God's sight.
He tells them straight that they have got it all wrong, they declare themselves just and upright before men but God sees the true condition of the hearts. For what is highly esteemed and praise among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
16:16 "The law and the prophets were in force until John; since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it.
Until John the Baptist came the law and the prophets were the only teachers of God's Word. John as the forerunner of Jesus Christ came preaching the Kingdom of God (Matt. 3:1-3) and Jesus Christ preached the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 4:17). Everyone is striving, eager to enter into it.
16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tiny stroke of a letter in the law to become void.
Even so the Law and the prophets have not become void for they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:17) and their will not one word of it pass away although the heavens and the earth will (Matt. 24:35).
16:18 Everyone who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
The Pharisees and scribes would not accept that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and thus the fulfillment of the Law. They professed to keep the law and it is to them at this time that he points out the Law of God concerning divorced persons marrying another person as be adultery.
The Rich Man and Lazarus - Different Destinations
16:19-20 There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. But at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus whose body was covered with sores.
Whether this a parable or not is uncertain, the text does not say that it is. If it actually happened as Jesus says then He would have known the eternal destiny of these two men.
He first draws a comparison between these two men while they were alive. The rich man wanted for nothing, he fed lavishly, clothed himself in the riches of garments and lived in a mansion. He had no thought for the other man outside his gate at all perhaps he didn't even notice him there. Lazarus had absolutely nothing he begged for what he could get in order to sustain his life, he was covered in ulcerated sores and could not walk for he was taken to the gate of the rich man.
16:21 Who longed to eat what fell from the rich man's table. In addition, the dogs came and licked his sores.
He waiting there hoping to receive the left overs, the scraps that the servants threw out. The only creatures who soothed his ulcerated sores was the dogs.
16:22 Now the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
Both of these men died. The rich man had no doubt an elaborate funeral service and his own tomb to be buried in. Lazurus' body was most probable thrown into the Kidron Valley which was the common cemetery for the poor. However his soul was carried by the angels into Paradise.
16:23 And in hell, as he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side
The rich man's soul went to hell (Hades, the place of the dead) where he was tormented. As he lifted up his eyes he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazurus beside him.
16:24 So he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this fire.'
He cried out to Abraham, the father of Israel and father of the faithful, to have mercy upon him and to send Lazurus with a drop of water to quench his thirst and to cool his burning tongue. The perpetual flames of hell were tormenting him.
16:25 But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and Lazarus likewise bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish.
Abraham's reply was to remind him of the good time that he had in life wanting for nothing whereas Lazarus had nothing; but now he is comforted and the rich man is tormented.
16:26 Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us, so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.'
As well as this a great chasm has been fixed that separates the two places so it is impossible for anyone to go from Paradise (Abraham's Bosom) to Hades (Hell) or vice versa.
16:27-28 So the rich man said, 'Then I beg you, father — send Lazarus to my father's house (for I have five brothers) to warn them so that they don't come into this place of torment.'
Realizing that nothing can be done to relieve or change his position he begs Abraham to at least send someone to his father's house to warn his five brothers of their eternal destiny if they do not repent and believe.
16:29 But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; they must respond to them.
Abraham tells him that they already have the Law and the Prophets to warn them and which shows them clearly the way of salvation through the Jesus Christ the Messiah. His brothers can read what they said for themselves.
16:30 Then the rich man said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
Knowing his brothers only to well he said that they will not heed the scriptures but if someone is sent to them from the dead then they will hear and repent and be saved.
16:31 He replied to him, 'If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
Abraham replied that if they will not hear the Law and the Prophets, the scriptures, the Word of God then neither will not be convinced or believe even if someone that was raised from the dead.
This is the most vivid picture that the Lord Jesus Christ gave of heaven and hell and reveals that our eternal destiny depends on what choice we make in this life; accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and that He died on the cross for our sins and opened the door of heaven for us to enter in or to reject Him and go to hell. It will be too late when we are dead.
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