Justification – (Luke 16)

Jesus had just told the parable of the dishonest manager, saying that you cannot serve God and money. Then we find in verse 14 that the Pharisees (who the text says were lovers of money) ridiculed Him. What follows this ridicule begins with Jesus giving it back to them in righteous rebuke. But then it appears that He drifts to a couple of unrelated and random subjects. But are they really?

English: Jesus disputes with the Pharisees. Fr...

English: Jesus disputes with the Pharisees. French School. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3861. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section Q. disputes with the establishment. Mark 10:2-12, 11:27-33, 12:13-27, 12:35-37. http://pdfcast.org/pdf/an-illustrated-commentary-by-phillip-medhurst-on-the-gospel-of-mark-section-q-to-r (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His initial answer is obviously addressed to the Pharisees because He addresses them in the second person, saying “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” The Pharisees were very good at imposing laws on others that did not come from God, but they were equally adept at justifying whatever suited them.

So in verse 16, He tells them that “the Law and the prophets” were until John (the baptist). But then, the good news of the kingdom of God has begun to be preached. The last part of that verse is difficult, as it reads everyone forces his way into it. What this probably means is that everyone wants to get into the kingdom, but they want to do it on their own terms – rather than on God’s terms. He then says in verse 17 that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one “dot” of the law to become void.

To put that last part into perspective, we must refer to Matthew 5:18, which says not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished, which means of course, until Jesus finishes what He came for. But the point is the rebuke of the Pharisees, who seek to justify what is an abomination to God. It was then that He pulled the next punch to illustrate the point, saying Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.Of course, we know from Matthew 5:32 that the reason of sexual immorality is an exception to this, but that is beside the point. The mere fact that men – including the Pharisees – had continued to relax their standards concerning divorce did not negate what God had ordained.

Putting this all together in that perspective, it all also flows after the parable of the unjust steward. That parable also shows how men try to justify the wrong they do when it suits them to do so. It is a logical procession that Jesus obviously saw coming before He even began that parable.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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