"Great Catch of Fish," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 16:19-31 Commentary
by Karl Jacobson
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man anchors a series of parables -- the lost coin (15:8-10), the prodigal son (15:11-32), and the dishonest manager (16:1-13) -- each of which deals with money, with wealth, with the economy of right-relationship with God and one’s fellow human beings.
Even in the interlude of 16:14-18, in which Jesus challenges the Pharisees, pointing them to the law, the prophets, and the proclamation of the good news of God’s kingdom, Jesus makes an issue of wealth, calling the Pharisees “lovers of money.”
Each of these parables addresses the issue of money a little differently, one celebrating an extravagant expense, another addressing the allure of wealth at the cost of relationships, and one challenging the listener to faithfulness, whether in much or little.
In and of itself, this series of parables emphasizes the significance of money in spiritual matters, in the life of faith. But as these stories are told, one following quickly on the heels of another, the tension around the role of money grows, until in chapter 17 Jesus says to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom they come!” (verse 1), and again, “Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 073: Rich Man and Lazarus
March 10, 2013
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Mary Shore, and Craig Koester for "I Love to Tell the Story," a weekly conversation on the narrative lectionary. This week's readings are: Luke 16:19-31; and Psalm 41:1-3 or 41:1.