Luke 15-17


As we move through the book of Luke Jesus resorts to parables to communicate that He came to seek and save the lost. In Chapter 15 Jesus tells three parables each building on the previous one to illustrate that there is great value placed on a lost sinner and great rejoicing when the sinner repents. At the end of the last parable we find the father outside with the older brother trying to convince him to come in and celebrate the return of his younger brother. The parable ends before we know whether or not the older son goes in.

The older son represents the religious rulers of the day. They think they are serving God but have gotten off course and have put themselves in the place of authority over everything religious. So, in Chapter 16, Jesus starts another series of parables aimed at them.  The first one is about the steward that squandered his master’s possessions. He is like the Pharisees in that they took the law and redefined it and in a way that made them the authority.  In essence he was ripping off the master and thus unfaithful to his master. The bottom line lesson of the parable is given in 16:10-13.

Now that Jesus has the attention of the Pharisees with these parables He is able to teach them the lesson in verses 14-18. Verse 18 seems to be out of the context of what Jesus has been teaching but it is meant to illustrate the context. The lesson Jesus is teaching is that one cannot serve God and Mammon. Verse 13

The Pharisees were serving Mammon because they loved money. In so doing they had divorced themselves from serving God and the covenant Israel had made with God. God considered the breaking of that covenant adultery. They left their commitment to love God and ended up loving money instead. This leads to the next parable in verses 19-31.

In this parable the rich man and Lazarus have both reached the eternal dwellings Jesus spoke about in verse 9. Lazarus was welcomed in the arms of Abraham but the rich man found himself in torment and wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them of what really lies ahead for the one that will not listen to the Law and the Prophets. Of course that is the problem. The rich man listened to the siren of call wealth and pride and hardened  his heart to the Word of God.

As we continue on into Chapter 17 Jesus is now able to teach His disciples and they respond with a desire to increase their faith. Jesus teaches them a hard lesson about being a servant which goes against the worldly teaching of wealth, power and success. Jesus is teaching them how to have a Lazarus attitude. After teaching the disciples to be a servant He then becomes the illustration as He deals with the ten lepers He healed. He told them to go and show themselves to the priest. As they went they were healed. This would be a testimony to the priest about Jesus for there was no cure for leprosy. Only one leper returned to give glory to God. Jesus was the servant doing His Father’s will regardless of how He was received. We are called to do the same as were the Disciples. Philippians 2 and Hebrews 12

The chapter ends with a question from the Pharisees about when the kingdom of God was coming. The kingdom of God is in their midst. There must be a change within that makes room in the heart. Knowing the signs will not make one ready for the coming of the King. Jesus does tell them about the signs but when the signs take place there will be little time to learn them. If the heart is not ready, watching for, and serving the Lord, they will suddenly appear and many will find themselves like the rich man in the parable.

When the Lord returns, those who are found in the wrong place doing the wrong things, will find themselves ending up in the wrong place to spend eternity.

Pastor Dave