Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Luke 16:19-31 - The Rich Man and Lazarus

Last Sunday the Gospel reading was Luke 16:19-31. This story is odd, if anything. It fits well within Luke's theme of eschatological role reversals with the poor receiving their due reward in Christ (which is why he quotes so much from Isaiah 61). At any rate, something I had never noticed before (and this is a very duh thing) is the way Jesus ends the parable:

But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'


I can't help but think that Luke included this quote as an encouragment for the Church to be aware of the Old Testament. It also seems that, to Luke, Jesus is in the OT (Lk. 24:27). This gives creedance to the Church Fathers' interpretation of the Old Testament with Christological lenses (for modern Christological Exegesis of the OT, I'd say look at Graeme Goldsworthy).

I'm also trying to figure out if there's some kind of a "dig" involved here. Did Jesus say this as a sort of prophetic "slam" to the Pharisees, saying that since they don't believe in Moses and the Prophets, they wouldn't believe in a walking talking supposedly dead guy? Jesus also doesn't say it himself, but has Abraham saying this (a double slam?). Did Luke include it for the reason I stated above, or did he include it also as a way to shock people?

6 comments:

Jacob Paul Breeze said...

Good thoughts, Josh.

Concerning the last verse (31)...If I were to "cast" the parable [I am assuming this is a parable], I wouuld cast the Pharisees as the Rich Man and Jesus’ People as Lazarus. I think the last line tells us how the open-ended Prodigal Father’s story in Luke 15 ends. Jesus apparently thought the Pharisees [at least] were too hard hearted to believe Him, even if [when] He was to resurrect.

Josh McManaway said...

Hey Jacob,

I don't know if we're Lazarus. I think we're the five brothers. I could be wrong.

Quixie said...

Youe exegesis is tenuous here. This has nothing to do with seeing the Tanach with "christological lenses". You are looking at the parable through a glass way darkly, I think.

The problem is not that they don't "believe in" Moses and the Prophets (the Pharisees accepted both of them with no problem), the problem is that they don't "listen to" Moses or the Prophets. In other words, they don't follow the Law (Torah). And since they don't listen to Moses, they won't even listen if someone were to rise from the grave to warn them.

This in turn reminds me of the ending of GMatt, where, even after Jesus has risen and appeared to the disciples, "still, some doubted". Why do you suppose?

Incidentally, it seems fairly certain to me that the story of the raising of Lazarus (in GJohn) is a direct reference to this particular parable in Luke, the only parable attributed to Jesus in which a character is given a proper name. The author of John is providing us with the punchline by having Jesus actually raise Lazarus in his parable about Jesus.

Just my two-cents' . . .

pax

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Josh McManaway said...

You got me on a verb. By believe I obviously mean "listen to". Sure, they accepted them, but they didn't listen....and if they didn't listen, they couldn't totally believe. ακυοω often means "to hear and understand", so by "believe" I mean "hear and understand."

It seems as though the author of this Gospel has no qualms with Christological Exegesis. I'll note the verse that I mentioned and the numerous places in Acts in which Christological Exegesis is utilized.

And whether John knew about this parable doesn't seem as "certain" to me.

Quixie said...

yes, I know . . .

Quixie said...

Hi Josh. . .

I posted some thoughts inspired by the brief volley above on my little blog I keep (not a professional one).

It would have been unfair for me to clog up your comments to touch on all the points that needed touching.

should you choose to peek . . . it's here:
Po' Lazarus . . .

peace be with you . . .

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