August 19

The Good Life

by Andrew Seip

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in response to the scoffing of the Pharisees, who among other things, were lovers of money (Luke 16:14-15).  Jesus had witnessed the Pharisees despise his act of grace, choose the places of honor, disregard the poor and pitied, and grumble over his mercy and generosity toward the lost (Luke 14 and 15).  When Jesus tells his disciples they cannot serve both God and money, overhearing this, the Pharisees begin to ridicule him.  This is the setting for Jesus’ parable.

We must be careful to presume Jesus is only teaching about money.  The word he uses when addressing his disciples is mammon, which is effectively confidence in wealth, usually in opposition to God.  What do you treasure greatly?  Do you value it in opposition to God?  The Pharisees valued their social stature, money, and racial and religious pedigree over God and his Word. 

Look carefully at the way Jesus describes how Lazarus—whose name means “whom God helps”—is lavished in the Kingdom.  The rich man dies and is buried.  Lazarus is ushered into eternity by God’s angels.  The rich man resides in torment.  Lazarus is reclining at a feast with the saints.  John depicts a similar image as he tells of his reclining at a meal when he leans back into Jesus’ chest (John 13:23, 25).  Let your heart be overwhelmed by the intimacy of this picture.  Indescribably full life awaits for those whom God has raised from the dead.  Where is your treasure?                        


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