Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 16:18-31

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Luke 16:18

Some rabbis in Jesus's day twisted God's law, which permitted divorce because of sexual immorality (Deut. 24:1-4), to allow divorce for any reason. This was an example of Pharisee's hypocrisy (vv. 14-15). They boasted about keeping the law, but actually tried to escape its godly intent (11:37-44; Matt. 23:2-3). divorces. Elsewhere, Jesus and his apostle, Paul, allow for divorce in cases of sexual immorality (Matt. 5:32; 19:9) and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:10-11). However, divorce is never mandated, for it results from sin (Mal. 2:14, 16). commits adultery. Because the married couple is one flesh the marriage is meant to be permanent (Gen. 2:24). If divorce occurs on unbiblical grounds, remarriage is forbidden as the divorce is considered invalid. Thus, remarriage after an unbiblical divorce is considered adultery.

Luke 16:19-31

This passage is unique to Luke. Unlike every other place in the last two chapters, Luke does not introduce this by saying, Jesus taught a parable. Furthermore, most of the characters in Jesus's parables are anonymous. We hear about a shepherd, a woman, a father, but here Jesus broke social convention to highlight a poor man's name. This story describes not just the coming judgment or a divine banquet, but the afterlife itself. Thus, some believe this story is rooted in actual events. But, the introduction is very similar to other parables (10:30; 14:16; 15:11; 16:1; 19:12), and continues Jesus's teaching on the dangers of money and the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (see notes on vv. 14-18).

Luke 16:19

rich man. See note on 16:1. purple and fine linen. Indications of the man's wealth and self-indulgent lifestyle. enjoying. Specifically, with feasting. Another sign of his great wealth as well as his indifference to the needs of the poor (vv. 20-21).

Luke 16:20

Lazarus. A form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, which means God helps. Not the same person whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:17-44). was laid. Indicates someone else put him there. He was either lame or too weak from hunger (v. 21) to move by himself. He was put there because the poor were often taken care of by the wealthy in that time.

Luke 16:21

longing to eat. He was given nothing though the rich man had plenty (see note on v. 19). dogs. Not domesticated pets, but scavengers. licked. Lazarus was unable to get away from the dogs. These rendered him ritually unclean.

Luke 16:22-23

Jesus continued to contrast Lazarus and the rich man. Though Lazarus died without worldly treasure, he was spiritually wealthy. The opposite was true of the rich man. Abraham's side. A place of paradise and blessing where the righteous enjoy fellowship in heaven. It is associated with Abraham, the father of the faith (13:28-29; Rom. 4:11-12). Hades. The abode of the dead, though in the New Testament, it is never used of believers. Instead, it is described as a place of torment and judgment for the wicked after death (Isa. 66:24).

Luke 16:23-24

See WCF 32.1; WLC 86.

Luke 16:24

The one who never showed mercy (vv. 19-21), now begged for mercy. But the rich man showed no regret or repentance for his behavior. He still believed Lazarus was beneath him and should be ordered like a servant.

Luke 16:25-26

See WCF 21.4; WLC 89.

Luke 16:25

Circumstances in this life are no indicator of one's experience in the life to come (see notes on v. 15; 6:20-26). Only in faith God brings salvation (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9).

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