Luke 16:19-17:19 Parable & Teaching

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “

17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.

“If a brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ “

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”


Points of Interest:

  • (v.20) “a beggar named Lazarus”—in reality, the rich man’s name would be known and the homeless man would be nameless; but in Jesus’ story, we know the beggar’s name, but not the rich man’s.
  • (v.22) “carried him to Abraham’s side”—this is sort of like our pop culture picture of St. Peter welcoming us at the pearly gates.
  • (v.26) “a great chasm has been set in place”—Abraham doesn’t say that he won’t send Lazarus, but that he can’t, because a chasm has been put in the way. He doesn’t say exactly who put the chasm there. A good argument could be made that it is the rich man himself who dug the chasm—when he built the gate that kept Lazarus out. He erected his own barrier between himself and God’s kingdom.
  • (v.29) “They have Moses and the Prophets”— Jesus clearly has the Pharisees in His sights with this comment. They are exceedingly attentive to such things as exact tithing and exact definitions of work, but they overlook the much more important issue of mercy and generosity toward others.
  • (v.3) “rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them”—the disciples don’t need to pretend nothing happened, but they do need to let go of their desire to punish the person who did it. 
  • (v.10) “we have only done our duty”—this presents an interesting contrast with Jesus’ earlier story about the master who does indeed serve dinner to his servants (12:37). God is indeed like a master who serves His servants. God serves us out of His generosity, not because we’ve done so much for Him that it’s about time He does something for us.
  • (v.17) “Where are the other nine?”—only the Samaritan returns to thank Jesus. Over the course of Luke’s story, Jesus has mentioned several examples of outsiders who respond to God more enthusiastically than God’s own people. Luke’s story makes it abundantly clear that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what label you wear. No matter who you are, you can find yourself welcomed into God’s party—or left out. It might not be overstating it to say that which way it goes rests almost completely on how grateful you are to receive the invitation.


Taking it home:

  • For you: Imitate the prayer of the disciples. Ask God to give you more faith. Pray particularly that, by faith, God would increase your ability to forgive others. Pray that God would give you the boldness to speak up when you’ve been wronged, the grace to forgive, and the trust in God that you will not be taken advantage of.
  • For your Six: Are any of your Six sick? Pray that God would heal them. If they do get well, pray that they would recognize God’s work in their lives and turn toward him with gratitude.
  • For our church/ILTJ: Pray for the relationship between the rich and poor of our city. Pray that barriers would be broken down and relationships built. Pray for mutual blessing between the rich and the poor. Ask God to allow our church to play a part in tearing down the barriers between rich and poor.


Family/Household Option:

  • To Talk About: Ten lepers came to Jesus and asked for His help. He ended up healing all of them! But only one came back to thank Him. Ever wonder how many times Jesus does amazing things for us and we forget to say thank you? Have you ever wondered how many times Jesus does small things for us and we forget to say thank you? The Bible says every good and perfect gift comes from God.
  • To Do: Take a piece of paper today and spend the day writing down things you are thankful for – both small and large things. Do you think you can come up with 10, 25, 50? Maybe even 100 or more? Most likely we can come up with even more if we really look around and see much God has given us. Let’s get started… Thank you Jesus for the air you are breathing, for water to drink, for paper to write on and a pencil to write with…