Luke 16:19-31 (winter, AD 29)
Money is not the root of all evil.
What Paul said to Timothy (1 Tim 6:10) was that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (emphases mine). That is a vastly different meaning, and reflects what Jesus was talking about in this passage, about thirty years earlier. The rich man had obviously not been willing even to give the beggar “what fell from” his table, being concerned only to indulge his lifestyle even as those around him suffered.
It was the selfishness then, and the lack of concern that betrayed a deeper truth: the rich man was content in his sin and saw no reason to turn to God.
Some maintain that we will have additional opportunities to repent after we die. As if after our death God would sit people down and ask are you sure? In that case, evangelism would scarcely be necessary. But it’s not true – Jesus gives a picture of the finality of our earthly decisions: there is no link between heaven and hell (v.26). That’s a warning to those who may be putting off thinking about God’s claims on them. For believers it’s also a reminder of the urgency of our gospel mission.
We also have here a reality-check to those who say, ‘If Jesus appeared here to me now’, or ‘If Jesus was raised from the dead today’…then I’d believe. Jesus said no, they wouldn’t, because the problem isn’t lack of evidence it’s deliberate refusal to believe. Besides which, Jesus has already died and rose again, and people have already ignored it because it didn’t fit their narrative.
So next time someone gives you that objection, you could say something like, “So if Jesus was raised from the dead, today, you’d repent of your sins and put your trust in him?”
From that, you will most likely get an admission that no they wouldn’t repent, in which case you can keep probing for the fundamental objection rather than the red herring.
Or if they say yes, ask them,
“How about if he’d already done that and over 500 people saw him?”
“How about if ten of his closest friends – who didn’t even believe it would happen – were killed rather than deny that they’d seen him physically alive, after he had died”
Would you die for something you knew was a lie?
No, and neither did they.
- It’s a parable and not to be taken literally so no, people in heaven can neither see nor speak to people in hell. The very last thing someone in hell will have the opportunity to do is speak with someone in heaven, which is defined by the complete absence of anything having to do with sin.
- Verse 25 is not the introduction of an alternative theology whereby people who have a tough life on earth go to heaven, and people with an easy life on earth go to hell. This was merely a statement of the characters’ relative financial situations.