March 28th The Law and the Kingdom
16: The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17: And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
18: Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
The Rich man & Lazarus
19: There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21: And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22: And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23: And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24: And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25: But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26: And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27: Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29: Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30: And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31: And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Here Christ says something very significant. He says that, ‘The law and the prophets were until John:’ John the Baptist is the last great OT prophet. However since that time, ‘the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it’. The very next thing on the agenda of God is the kingdom of God and all those who hear the Gospel of the Kingdom are pressing into the kingdom. They are struggling to live a life that will qualify them to enter the Kingdom of Christ This kingdom has been promised from the very beginning and – ‘it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. (Or for one of the promises regarding the kingdom to fail to be fulfilled) Then Luke passes on to another subject preached by Christ which appears to have no link. Christ discusses the subject of marriage and divorce. He says, ‘whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. Now obviously Christ is not saying that when a person is divorced the new marital relationship is adultery. There can only be adultery when a person is married and if a divorce has taken place that the previous marriage is dissolved. What Christ is saying and it does not come across very well in the translation of the KJV. That if a person is divorced without a bill of divorcement being written then the impression to all observers is that the person is still married and is therefore committing adultery. Divorce especially from the point of view of the innocent part is honourable and it is not a sin and marriage to a divorced person is also honourable and not a sin. Divorce was always allowed in Israel although it is not Gods ideal. When the children of Israel returned from Babylon the whole nation divorced their wives at the command of the Lord and they took new wives. Their new marriages were not sin or adultery. Then Luke goes straight onto the next story where Christ tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The main point of the story is that riches and poverty is no automatic indication of the blessing of God and that our standing in mortal life is not guarantee of blessing in the next life. The other point is that contrary to what atheists say faith is not based on some resurrection appearance but it in fact believes the word of God.