The Rich Man and Lazarus II

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:25-31)

In the second half of this parable we see a conversation between Abraham and the rich man. Abraham was a man of great faith and the patriarch of Israel. He is the one God chose to become the Father of many nations. The rich man, who lived an opulent lifestyle ends up in hell. We know that in his life he ignored the needs of the poor man, Lazarus, who sat at his gate. He also must have neglected God and a relationship with him through his Son. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)

While in hell, the rich man pleads with Abraham. He wants him to have Lazarus go to his brothers and warn them. I wonder if they lived a life of luxury like the rich man and lacked a relationship with God. Abraham responds and says they have Moses and the Prophets. They should listen to them. God’s word would have pointed them to the Messiah, Jesus. The rich man is convinced instead that if someone would come back from the dead, then his five brothers would believe. The rich man was thinking that a miraculous sign would cause his brothers to have faith. Abraham then tells him if they won’t listen to the testimony of Moses and the Prophets, then they won’t believe even if someone comes back from the dead.

This parable was directed to the hard hearted Pharisees. They put their trust in money and were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.(Luke 16:14) They were always trying to prove him wrong. The Pharisees were also prideful and thought they were better than the poor.

This is a sobering parable. The issue was not one of not enough evidence, but of the heart. Once someone passes from this life to the next without a changed heart through faith in Jesus, their destiny is fixed. There is no changing it. We need to be diligent to share our faith with others while there is still time for them to believe. Take time today to pray and reach out to someone who is still on the fence of unbelief. Today could be the day of their salvation!


The Rich Man and Lazarus

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (Luke 16:19-26)

We see two very different men in this parable. One is very rich and one is extremely poor. I was struck by the location of the poor man. He was at the gate of the rich man. He was hoping for a bit of mercy and care on behalf of the rich man. It says that he even longed to eat the food that fell on his floor. Though he received no help or care. The rich man actually had the power to change this poor man’s life if he truly wanted to. Scripture teaches us to have compassion on the poor. Proverbs 22:9 tells us, “A generous man will himself be blessed for he shares his food with the poor.” We are called to share what God has so richly blessed us with.

In Matthew 25:35-36 reminds us, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.. I was sick and you looked after me.” We find out in this passage when we show love and mercy to the poor, we are actually doing it unto Christ! Isn’t that beautiful! If you are a believer, then you are known by the good fruits that you bear.

We also see in this passage the stark reality of heaven and hell. In heaven you will be comforted and have your needs met. In hell, you will be filled with eternal suffering and separation from God.

This section of this passage reminds us to care for those who are in need while they are still on this earth. What do you and I have that could be shared with someone in need? How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world around us? You are the light of the world! “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14,16)


Resurrection and Life

This beautiful promise comes from a story told by the apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest friends (John 11:1-43). Jesus was speaking to Martha who had a sister named Mary and a brother named Lazarus. Lazarus had died four days ago, and the sisters were grieving the loss of their brother. From their perspective, it was over. There was no hope and they were wrestling with the implications. However, Jesus was about to do something that not only would show great compassion for this family but would also reveal something about who He was.

Jesus wept as he saw the pain of Lazarus’ loved ones gathered. He empathized with them. But Jesus also offered hope to the sisters, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” This was shocking. By saying he was the resurrection and the life, Jesus claimed that he was equal to God! Then Jesus backed up his claim by raising Lazarus from the dead. As you can imagine, there was great rejoicing and amazement as people no longer processed what life would be like without Lazarus, but processed what life is like with Jesus.

And this is why we celebrate Easter. Jesus made many other claims that he was God. He performed many signs and miracles to back up those claims. But the most important one was his own resurrection from the dead! “I have authority to lay down my life and to raise it up again!” John 10:18 The fact that Jesus can offer hope in this life and hope beyond this life is the reason to celebrate.  Christ is Risen!!!  He is risen indeed!