The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at Him.
Then He said to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.
"Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.
But that doesn't mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God's law to be overturned.
"For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Luke 16:14-18)
Did you check out these few verses in your Bible? What is even more interesting is to check them out over a number of different translations or published Bibles. You will find some place verse 14 with what goes before it. Others place 14 and 15 with what has gone before it. Some published Bibles separate 14 and 15 and then separate again verses 15-18, into a segment all on its own. These variations in the versions give us warning that we are dealing with a difficult passage here. It is clearly a collection of sayings. The question is, are they separate and unconnected in this place where Luke has them, or are they unified in some way? Is it Jesus who has linked them all together or is it Luke who has selected the elements and placed them here?
Let's investigate to see if these elements occur elsewhere in the gospels:
The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at Him. (Lk 16:14)
This has no other parallel in the gospels. It only occurs here in Luke.
Then He said to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. (Lk 16:15)
There are no parallels of this verse either, except it perhaps sums up a series of ideas from Matthew 23.
"Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. (Lk 16:16)
This idea is found in Matthew 11:12 in the context of the ministry of John the Baptist.
But that doesn't mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God's law to be overturned. (Lk 16:17)
This idea finds a parallel in the passage in Matthew 5:17-20 with special reference to verse 18.
"For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Luke 16:18)
There is a portion found in Matthew 5:31-32 which refers to marriage and divorce but not in this specific way. Rather, the specific verse is found in Matthew 19:9 which is in a longer section specifically on divorce, namely Matt 19:3-12. It is also found in Mark 10:11-12 (again in a similarly larger section discussing divorce – Mark 10:1-12)
Simply put, there is no parallel to this collection of verses anywhere else. The ideas are found scattered around the New Testament, often in longer passages discussing the topic in more detail but not specifically with this arrangement. Notice, in taking in the wider picture, we are still in the midst of yet another encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees. The section starts with The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at Him. "THEN" the text says, "He said to them . . . " indicating this is Jesus' response to the Pharisees scoffing. The word used for 'scoffed' is translated in various ways – scoff, ridicule, sneer at, laugh at, deride, turn up your nose at. Jesus' comments on loving money and serving God didn’t go down well with the Pharisees it seems. Hence, these following comments.
Who then has arranged them in this way? I personally don't think Luke is cutting and pasting Jesus words and putting them in here to pad out the account. I think Jesus himself was the one who spoke these words to the Pharisees. If that is the case, then why did He say these specific series of things to them? It seems that Jesus took some short statements that He has made comment or sermons about before and put them together. Why? Also there are some difficult sayings here for us to understand in the first instance and then to understand in its entirety. It will take us a few days to work through these segments to see if we can sort out the reason. Each of these elements needs some unpacking.
See what you can make of the pieces before I start to pick it apart systematically. The first thing to do, is to understand the individual elements before we can understand how it all goes together. Some of the parts are hard to understand in and of themselves. Then we have to work out why Jesus would string all of these ideas together as one. Quite a challenge. Or we can just simply accept, as some have, that we have some hard sayings here strung together for reasons which we don't actually know. Remember, Luke has told us he has written an orderly account (not necessarily chronologically order) for a purpose. So let's investigate and see what holds it together.
I originally wrote this on Valentine's Day, so here are some thoughts "on Valentines Day" for you:
Ladies, a real man opens more than a door, he opens his Bible. Casey Treat
Quit giving your all to a boyfriend until he's a husband - you're paying full price for partial service! Rick Godwin
Your significance is not in your similarity with someone else. If two of us are identical one of us is unnecessary. Wendy Treat
You've got lo love me for what I am, for simply being me. Don't love me for what you intend or hope that I will be. The Carpenters [Song lyric]
Place your heart in God's hands & He will place it in the hands of the one who He believes deserves it. Mona Siregar