Read Luke 14 -- 16
In Today's Reading:
Humility; more parables; prodigal son; rich man and Lazarus; the joy of eternal life with Abraham; the horror of eternal hell
Our Lord illustrates the two alternatives in life. The first choice is illustrated by a self-centered son who demanded freedom from his father's authority, and then took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance (inheritance) with riotous living. . . . when he had spent all . . . he began to be in want (faced starvation). . . . and no man gave to him (Luke 15:13-16).
This son is an example of the way we lived before we were saved. Then the Holy Spirit caused us to realize we were lost and faced eternal death, and needed to confess our sins and choose eternal life. This wise alternate choice is illustrated by this prodigal son when he said . . . I perish (die) with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you (15:17-18).
The word "prodigal" means a waster; the young man wasted his father's substance. As he struggled with a sense of emptiness and the shame of a wasted life, he finally came to his senses and humbly returned to his father saying: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight (15:21). After he repented, his father made him aware of the seriousness of his former life as a sinner when he said: This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry — to rejoice and enjoy fellowship with each other (15:24).
Just as the prodigal son discovered that his father's love was far greater than he had previously realized, so too will every repentant sinner discover that the Heavenly Father is waiting with great compassion to forgive all who come to Him.
Jesus then told of a rich businessman who never recognized that he had tragically "wasted" his life, even though he had become "very successful." But, in hell . . . being in torments. . . . he cried . . . I am tormented in this flame (Luke 16:23-24). It was only then he discovered that hell was eternal and that, between him and Abraham, there was a great gulf fixed (16:26). He sinned not only by ignoring his own eternal spiritual needs, but by not considering the needs of the beggar Lazarus or anyone else. He had lived only for self-indulgence. The rich man's preoccupation with success crowded out any desire to use his abilities or resources for the glory of God.
The foremost purpose of our brief lives on earth is to prepare for an endless eternity with our Creator and Savior, and then do what we can to provide spiritual food for those who have no other way of obtaining the Word of God — the One True Source of Eternal Life. Since the believer's true conversation (citizenship) is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), we dare not make secular goals, material gain, and physical satisfactions our priorities. All mankind, rich or poor, has one thing in common — physical death will open the door to either the joy of eternal life or the horrors of eternal hell. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. . . . How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1,3).
14:32 an ambassage = ambassador, a delegation, representatives; 15:16 would fain = gladly; ready and willing; 16:11 unrighteous mammon = a term of reproach in the use of wealth or money.
For Luke 16:15: See Proverbs 21:2.
BP Staff: Ken Sharp · Pray for Bible & Literature Missionary Foundation and Dr. Bob Lemmon, Director · Government Official: Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY) · Country: Zimbabwe (11 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: English and Shona · Limited religious freedom · 43% Protestant; 38% animism, mediums, and spirit-possession cults; 16% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede for others (Exodus 32:31-32).
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 2:20