THE FOOLISH RICH MAN
One from the multitude of people around Jesus one day asked,
"Teacher, I would like you to tell my brother to divide the
inheritance with me."
"I have come to teach and preach the Kingdom of God, not to
be a lawyer or judge of such matter between you and your
brother," replied Jesus.
He could see there was more behind this question than what
most standing there could perceive. Jesus could see the man's
heart and intent of wanting more physical wealth and goods. So He
went on to say:
"You need to take heed and beware of COVETOUSNESS; for a
man's life does not consist in the abundance of how many
possessions he has. Let me tell you about a rich man who brought
forth plentiful in his daily work and business transaction. He
thought within himself, 'What am I going to do, for I have no
more space to store all my crops and physical goods? Ah, I know
what I'll do, I will pull down my old barns and build larger
ones, and in them I will store all my grains and goods. And I
will further say to my soul, life, you have ample goods laid up
is storage for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink, be
merry, have a blast.' But God said to him, 'Foolish man! This
night your life is required, you will die, and all the things you
have set your mind upon and coveted in your heart, to lay up for
yourself, now who will they belong to?' So is he who lays up
treasure for himself, and is NOT RICH TOWARDS God" (Luke 12:
We have seen, and the word of God teaches with many
examples, such as Abraham, Solomon, King David, and Job, among
others, that it is not wrong to have physical wealth. It is wrong
when your mind and the way you live is all wrapped up in your
material possessions and the money you have in the bank, to the
point where you have no time for God, and giving to others. With
physical wealth comes great responsibility. If you are blessed
with such wealth you need to use it to do God's service, to do
His work, which yes, includes spreading the Gospel so others can
be saved into God's family, but it also includes helping those in
need, giving to charities, helping the genuine poor and needy.
I may have mentioned the man in Vancouver, B.C. who some
years sold his land and found himself with 20 million dollars. He
was elderly, had done well in business, and he and his wife and
children (all now grown and doing well physically for themselves)
were living comfortably. He said he did not need 95 per cent of
the 20 million dollars, and so was having a ball, getting high we
might say, in giving it all away to needy individuals and
This is what Jesus was getting at, not setting your heart on
more and more physical goods and possessions and money, but if
having it all in abundance, to use it to do good for God's work
and to help the poor and those good organizations we today
We shall come later to where Jesus clearly shows us His
concern for the legitimate "poor" and needy of the land, in what
he tells a young rich man to do with his great wealth, because it
was a stumbling block to him in being in the Kingdom of God.
TRUST IN GOD AND THE LITTLE FLOCK
This was the time and opportunity to once more reiterate
what He had said in his sermon on the mount. People needed to NOT
be anxious and overly worried, and all consumed with the material
things of life. They needed to seek God's Kingdom first and
then know with confidence that God would provide all the
necessities of this life. They needed to have FAITH!
He did add one important thing this time, concerning the
SIZE of His church, the number of members that would be His
flock. He said, "Fear not LITTLE flock, for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
The Greek for "little flock" is a DOUBLE diminutive, and in
English we would say something like, "Fear not VERY LITTLE flock"
or "Fear not LITTLE LITTLE flock." The true church of Christ, the
church of God, would never be the large in number "Christian"
church among those who use the name "Christian." It would always
be relatively very small, just the very little flock.
Then to them, the little flock, Jesus finished this teaching
of His, by saying, "So sell your possessions, and give away much
of what you have, if you have great material goods; provide for
yourselves purses that do not grow old, with treasures in heaven
that do not fail you, where no thief can break in and steal from
you, and moths cannot eat and destroy. For where your treasure
is, there will your HEART be also" (Luke 12: 22-34).
Jesus was saying that we need to prioritize our priorities.
If you have an abundance of physical wealth make sure you use it
in a godly way.
PARABLE OF THE WATCHFUL SERVANT
Jesus knew something that they then did not know, and we
today still do not know. They and us do not know when exactly the
Lord will return from heaven to establish the Kingdom of God on
earth. They then, and us today, do not know when it is our last
day in this physical life. We hear and see the news each day of
people who went to do their daily work one day, as the day before
(think of those who were in the two trade buildings in New York
on September the 11th 2001), and did not know it was going to be
their last day to live for them in this life time. This parable
is very important for everyone in all ages. Jesus said:
"Let your clothes be on and your lamps be burning, and be
like people who are waiting for their master to come home from
the marriage feast, so they may open the door for him when he
comes and knocks. Blessed indeed are those servants who are
awake and alert when their master comes. Truly, he will be so
pleased that he will put on the servants uniform and have them
sit at the table and he will serve them the meal. If he comes in
the second watch or in the third (anywhere from 9 p.m. to 3 a. m.
- Keith Hunt), and finds them so watching for him, they are
Now this, that if the house-owner had known the hour that
the thief was coming, he would have been awake and ready, so his
house would not have been broken into. You also must be READY;
for I tell you, the Son of man is coming again at an hour and
time you least expect Him to come."
"Lord," said Peter, "are you telling this parable to just us
or to all people?"
Jesus answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise servant,
whom his master will set over his household goods, to give his
family their portion of food at the correct time? Blessed is that
servant who is doing their work when their master comes. Truly I
tell you, he will give even more responsibilities to that servant
in handling his possessions. But, if that servant says within his
heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to
beat the men servants and maid servants under him, and to eat and
drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a
day when he least expects him to come, and in an hour that he is
not looking for him to come, and will punish him and put him with
And that servant who KNEW his master's will, but did not
make himself ready nor did according to his will, shall receive a
SEVERE punishment. But he who did NOT know, and did what deserved
a punishment, shall receive a lighter punishment.
Every one to whom MUCH is given, of him will much be
required; and to the person to whom people give more
responsibilities they will demand the more in fulfilling
those responsibilities" (Luke 12: 35-48).
If God has given us knowledge of Himself, His plan of
salvation, the understanding of His basic truths, then we are to
use them wisely and carefully. We are to appreciate them, to keep
them, to do His will in our lives all the time. We are not to
slack off, get complacent, or fall into wrong ideas of theology,
such as thinking we or others, know the year (or even the day as
some have proclaimed in just about every age over the last
2,000 years) of Christ's return. We are not to give up because
we think Jesus is delaying His coming again, and so delude
ourselves into thinking we can, eat, drink, be merry, or
as the saying goes, have our, "wine, women, and song." We are to
always be vigilant, watchful, careful, doing our Master's will,
and be ready for His coming, for His coming is as soon as our
last day of life on this earth, and most of us never know when
exactly that day may come.
INTERPRETING THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Jesus again talked about the fact that He had not come this
time to bring peace on earth, but that people in household
families would be divided over Him, and some would despise others
who followed Him. He talked again about being able to interpret
the signs of the sky, when it was going to rain etc. but that
they could not decern the present time which proved the Messiah
was among them. He talked about how they should judge what was
correct and if they were in the wrong they better settle out of
court with their adversary, unless they find themselves in much
deeper trouble with the courts (Luke 12: 49-59).
REPENTANCE IS A KEY TO SALVATION
There were some present who asked Him about the individuals
that Pilate (It might be interesting to know a few things about
Pilate. He was not a Roman by nationality, but by citizenship. He
was born a Spaniard and educated in Spain as far as the schools
of that country could take him. Then he went to Britain to study
in the universities of that country under the administration of
the Druids. It was Pilates ambition to become a Roman lawyer and
the future governor of Palestine. He studied long enough in
Britain to achieve not only his ambition but to absorb the
Druidic philosophy rather than the Greek and Roman. Vide Pilate's
question to our Lord as they were walking out the Praetorium,
"What is Truth?" This was the question which the Druids were ever
accustomed to debate) had killed while they were sacrificing and
mingled their blood with that of the blood of the sacrifices.
They were wanting to know if they were "great" sinners because
this happened to them. The Roman Government usually left the Jews
alone to worship in freedom. We are not told why Pilate in this
case had them killed.
Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were
worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered so?
I tell you, NO; but unless you REPENT you will all likewise
PERISH. Or, those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and
killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders and
sinners than all others who dwelt in Jerusalem and/or worked on
constructing buildings? I tell you, NO; but unless you REPENT you
will likewise PERISH!"
And He told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in
his vineyard; and he came one day seeking fruit on it and found
none. So he said to his gardener, 'I have come these last three
years seeking fruit from this fig tree, and I have found none. I
want you to cut it down; why should it use up good valuable
ground?' And he answered him,'I think you should leave it stand,
sir, till I dig around it and put on manure. And if it bears
fruit next year, well and good; but if not, then I shall cut it
down' " (Luke 13: 1-9).
Jesus was in all this explanation talking about having life
eternal, or being cut down, destroyed, perishing, and never
gaining eternal life. There are few things to note. One, is that
God is willing to be patient with people to a point. He will work
with them, trying to nurture them and bring them along to what is
require for His grace and love, but there comes a day when if no
fruit is produced by the individual, He will have no choice but
to let them perish. We also note, that REPENTANCE is an absolute
requirement if you are going to live forever and not perish. And
we also note, that just because some people die in terrible
natural calamities and even by the hands of other human beings,
does not mean they are sinners above other people, and that God
is handing out severe punishment upon them.
The MAIN point Jesus was wanting to get across was for
people to think about sin in relation to salvation, not so much
about trying to tie horrible events in an individuals physical
life to sin. As the subject was to do with "sin" He was pointing
out that people have to REPENT or they will one day perish fully
and for ever, never to live again.
HEALING ON THE SABBATH MEETS WITH CRITICISM
It was a Sabbath day and Jesus was teaching in one of the
synagogues, and there was present a woman who had an infirmity
for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten
herself. When Jesus saw her He called her to come to Him and said
to her, "Lady, you are freed from your infirmity." He laid hands
on her and she was immediately healed and stood up straight. With
joyous and uplifted voice she praised God.
But the ruler of the synagogue (they were usually Pharisees)
became very indignant because Jesus had done this healing on the
Sabbath day. He turned and said to the people assembled there,
"There are six days on which work ought to be done; be healed on
those days, but not on the Sabbath day."
The Lord Jesus answered him, "You HYPOCRITES! Does not each
of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his horse from the manger,
and lead it away to water it? So should not this woman, a
daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be
loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?"
When Jesus put it to them this way, all His adversaries got
red in the face and were put to shame. The general people
rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by Him (Luke
ARE ONLY FEW SAVED ?
Jesus and His disciples still had not yet arrived in
Jerusalem. They were passing through many towns and villages. An
individual came to him and asked, "Lord, will those who are saved
by few in number?"
And He said, "You must strive to enter by the NARROW door,
for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
When once the householder had risen up and closed the door, you
will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying,
'Lord. open to us.' He will answer you, 'I do not know where you
come from.' Then they will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in
your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will say,
'I tell you, I do not know where you come from, you are strangers
to me, depart from me, all you workers of lawlessness!' I tell
you, you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham,
and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of
God and you yourselves cast out. And men will come from the east
and west, and from the north and south, and sit in fellowship
together in the Kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who
will be first, and some first who will be last" (Luke 13: 22-30).
Some of the words of Jesus are VERY SOBERING! Some of His
words are pretty PLAIN also. When Jesus comes again in glory,
when the resurrection takes place, when Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
are raised to life in that resurrection, when the prophets are
raised, and many others from the four quarters of the earth,
there will be many who thought they were "Christians" - who
thought they knew Jesus, thought they ate and drank with Him,
were "church" going people, and took it for granted they would be
with Jesus in His Kingdom. But they will not be in that first
resurrection at His coming again. And the reason as to the WHY,
Jesus gives.....they were workers of lawlessness! Lawlessness is
the breaking of God's holy and righteous commandments, the Ten
commandments being the basic foundation.
Many people will not be in that first resurrection who
thought they would be. They will have to wait for the general
white throne judgment resurrection, at the end of the 1,000 year
reign of Christ on earth, that we have talked about in past
chapters of this Gospel story.
Some near the end of this age, shortly before Jesus comes,
will be converted, will acknowledge sin, will repent, will turn
from lawlessness to walk in righteousness, and be in the first
resurrection, be in the Kingdom of God. They will be some of the
very last ones to find true repentance and conversion since the
time of Adam and Eve. So, it will be as Jesus said, the first
(long time ago could have found the true way of God and
followed it) will be some of the very last to enter the Kingdom,
while some of the last of this age will find true repentance and
enter the Kingdom first (Rev. 7), at the time of Christ's coming
Then again, some of those first to have salvation offered to
them, who even thought they had it in their pocket so to speak,
but who would not turn fully from lawlessness (think about the
4th commandment, and how many Christians really observe and obey
it) , will not even be in the Kingdom period! They will be
weeping and gnashing their teeth. There will be many "Christians"
when Jesus returns who will be standing in their flesh, thinking
they should be changed from mortal to immortal (1 Cor.15),
thinking they should rise to meet the Lord in the clouds and be
with Him (1 Thes. 4) and THEY WILL NOT! They will be outside
looking in. There will indeed be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We need to be sure we are not among that crowd. We need to
be DOING the law, and not be lawless.
JESUS' ANSWER TO HEROD AND HIS WEEPING
At that moment when Jesus was just finishing answering the
question about many or few being saved, some friendlier Pharisees
came running up to Him saying, "Get away from here, for Herod
wants to kill you."
The word Herod was actually the surname of a family, from
the great and famous "Herod the Great" (37 B.C. to 4 B.C.) There
were a number of male descendants from this "great Herod." This
one here that the Pharisees were talking about was Herod Antipas
(A.D. 6 to A.D. 39). He ended up (because his father determined
it be so) only being governor over the region of Galilee and
Perea, which embraced one fourth of the original territory he
would have liked to have had kingship rule over. It was this
Herod that John the Baptist denounced for marrying his brother
Philip's wife. His rule over the territory he did govern was
marked with cunning and crime. He was, history tells us,
intensely selfish and utterly destitute of principles.
This Herod Antipas wanted to see Jesus dead, but Jesus told
the Pharisees to "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out
demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I
finish my course. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and
tomorrow and the next day following; for it cannot be that a
prophet should perish away from the city of Jerusalem.' "
Jesus was talking in proverbial language to Herod Antipas.
He was in plain language saying, "Look, you fox, you cannot do
anything against me today, or tomorrow or any day, until I've
done the work God wants me to do. And even then I could not die
outside of Jerusalem, for so it is ordained, and there is nothing
you can do about it!"
As Jesus was thinking about the city of Jerusalem as the
only place where He could be put to death, the city itself came
before His mind, and its history of being a city where many of
God's prophets were killed. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, guilty of
killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How I
would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her
brood under her wings, and you would not let me do it! You
refused me! So, behold, your house is forsaken! And I tell you,
you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in
the name of the Lord!' " (Luke 13: 31-35).
It was to be yet a while before Jesus would enter the city
of Jerusalem. He was making His way there, but He would not
arrive for sometime. When He did the people would be greeting Him
with "Hosanna to the son of David, blessed be he who comes in
the name of the Lord." This we shall see when we get to that part
of our story.
Written November 2002