Day 157: Lazarus and the Rich Man

Luke 16:19-31 :

“Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. 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 in anguish in this flame.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in the same way, bad things. But now here he is comforted and you are in anguish. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

“He said, ‘I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.’

“But Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

“He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’”

This parable is packed with so much information that I think it is important that we spend the time to go over it carefully. First, I would like to take a look at Jesus’ value system regarding people. Did you notice who Jesus gave a name to in this parable? Isn’t it unusual that the rich man would remain nameless and the beggar given a name?

It is clear that riches mean nothing to God. Instead, He is more interested in how we treat those in need. Notice, also, that Jesus is very aware of those in need. He doesn’t forget them. This is a warning to those who trust in their worldly riches instead of putting their trust in God. It is also a comfort to those who are in need. We can see here that God places people in need around those who have extra so that there is opportunity to give and be rewarded by God.

Notice, also that both the rich man and Lazarus died. Money did nothing to stop the end of the rich man from coming. Not only can money not go with us after we die, it does nothing to stop death. Once again in this parable, Jesus is reminding us that we need to pay attention to how we use our money now by thinking about the “here after.” There are people in need that we should be taking care of when we are given extra. Remember from our discussion earlier that it is important that we give to those that are truly needy.

I want to make it clear that, as Christians, we don’t go to hell just because we don’t give to the poor. Not giving to the poor is a sign that may bring into question your Christianity, but God knows who the “rich men” are that don’t really believe. Likewise, just because a person is poor doesn’t automatically get them a place in Heaven. The Bible is very clear that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. To be continued…