The Rich Man and Lazarus - Luke 16

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16:1-31

This account in Luke 16 is one of the best known stories in the Bible.  It's about two men: a rich man, and a beggar.  We don't know the name of the rich man,  but we do know that the name of the poor man was Lazarus.  As we would expect, the rich man "was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day."  We have no idea how he became wealthy.

The other man in sharp contrast was a poor, sick beggar, who could not even walk, but was carried daily to the gate of the rich man's house.  He was also hungry, "desiring to be fed with crumbs which fell from the rich man's table."  Lazarus' body was covered with sores, which was repulsive to see.  Each time the rich man passed through his gate, he couldn't miss seeing the beggar and the dogs that licked his wounds.

The rich man and Lazarus did share one common experience.  They both died.  Lazarus "was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom," a place of comfort.  But the rich man was buried, and wound up in Hades, a place of torment.  Apparently the rich man was a Jew, because he addressed Abraham as "Father Abraham."  Pleading for water to cool his tongue, he was now the beggar. 

Abraham answered his cries, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things...."  The memory of the rich man was not impaired in Hades.  He could remember the good times, and he could remember Lazarus, begging at his gate.

There was a great gulf fixed between Abraham's bosom and Hades, between the rich man and Lazarus.  No one could pass from the one place to the other place.  There wasn't any "second chance" for the rich man.  And now Lazarus couldn't help him.  No one could.

No water was available, but the rich man had another plea.  He begged that Abraham would send Lazarus to his father's house, where he had five brothers.  He wanted Lazarus to testify to them that they might not wind up in Hades, where he now became a believer in the importance of missionary work.

But why did the rich man go to Hades?  Because he was rich?  No.  Because he was not compassionate and generous toward Lazarus?  No. 

The answer to that question is found in his conversation with Abraham, who said, "They (his brothers) have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them."  The rich man replied, "No, father Abraham."  He said no to the Word of God.  He also became a mission strategist, saying, "If one goes to them from the dead, they will repent."  Abraham answered, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead." 

Jesus is the One who rose from the dead.  Moses and the prophets testify of Him.  The entire Bible is about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We are saved by faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word.


Yes, Lord, we believe in You.  Thank you for the living hope which is ours, because of Your promise of life.  Cultivate in us a true missionary spirit that others may come to know You as we share your precious Word.  We pray in Jesus' name.  Amen!


The Coming of the Kingdom - Luke 17


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
All rights reserved.

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