Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

In this article, we will examine the well-known story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, as told by Jesus. Some view this story as a parable, while others have their doubts, due to its use of actual names.

However, whether it is a parable or not, the story still provides important lessons about life after death. In this article, we will explore the parable, examine its key teachings, and draw out valuable lessons we can apply to our lives.

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, found in Luke 16:19-31, begins with the introduction of two characters: a wealthy man and a beggar named Lazarus.

I. The Parable Itself

A. The Rich Man and Lazarus in Life

The story begins by introducing us to a certain rich man who wore fine clothes and ate sumptuously every day. At his gate was a beggar named Lazarus, who was covered in sores and hoped to be fed scraps from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came to lick his sores, which may have provided some comfort or added to his misery.

Lessons from the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Despite being surrounded by abundance, the rich man never paid attention to Lazarus or offered him any kind of comfort or help. He saw him as nothing more than a nuisance, a reminder of the harsh realities of life that he chose to ignore.

Lazarus, on the other hand, was a symbol of the hidden suffering that existed outside the gates of the rich man’s luxurious lifestyle.

This parable, often referred to as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, has been interpreted in various ways over the years.

B. The Rich Man and Lazarus in Death

Both the rich man and Lazarus eventually died, and their experiences after death differed greatly. Lazarus was carried away by angels to Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man was buried.

In his torment, the rich man looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus in his bosom. The rich man was in Hades, a term whose meaning is uncertain. Hades is mentioned only eleven times in the New Testament, and is typically translated as “hell” or “Hades.”

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The rich man sees Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom and begs Abraham to send Lazarus to him to provide some relief from his suffering. Abraham refuses, citing the great chasm that separates the two realms.

C. The Rich Man’s Request

The rich man then pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers about their fate if they do not repent.

Abraham replies that they have Moses and the prophets, and if they do not listen to them, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.

II. Key Teachings

A. The Danger of Wealth

The story highlights the danger of trusting in wealth and living a self-indulgent lifestyle. The rich man enjoyed every luxury, while Lazarus suffered in poverty and illness.

Jesus often warned against the dangers of wealth, stating that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24).

In this story, the rich man is portrayed as being condemned to Hades, while Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom, indicating that wealth is not a guarantee of salvation.

B. The Reality of Life After Death

The story also highlights the reality of life after death. Both Lazarus and the rich man experienced the consequences of their actions on earth.

Lazarus was rewarded for his faithfulness, while the rich man suffered for his selfishness. This serves as a warning to all of us that our actions in this life have consequences that will affect our eternal destiny.

C. The Importance of Repentance

The story also emphasizes the importance of repentance. The rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers so that they would not suffer the same fate as him.

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Abraham, however, reminded him that his brothers had Moses and the prophets to warn them. This suggests that the rich man’s brothers had not heeded the message of repentance and faith in God that had been proclaimed through the scriptures.

It is a reminder that we must take the message of repentance and faith seriously if we are to avoid the consequences of our actions.

III. Lessons We Can Apply

What lessons can we draw from this story? Here are a few:

A. Don’t Trust In Wealth

The Rich Man trusted in his wealth, but it could not save him from his ultimate fate. Money is not inherently evil, but it can become a source of temptation and distraction from what really matters.

As Christians, we should focus on using our resources to further God’s kingdom and bless others, rather than hoarding them for our own pleasure.

B. Help Those In Need

Lazarus was a poor beggar, but the Rich Man ignored his needs. We should strive to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves, whether they are poor, sick, or in any other form of distress. By doing so, we are serving Christ himself (Mat_25:40).

C. Repent While You Still Have Time

The Rich Man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, but Abraham replied that they had Moses and the prophets, and if they would not listen to them, they would not be persuaded even if someone rose from the dead (Luk_16:30-31).

In other words, the time for repentance is now, before it’s too late. We don’t know when our time will come, so we should make every day count by living in a way that honors God and follows his will.

D. Judgment Is Real

This story portrays a clear picture of the reality of judgment after death. We will all face a day when we stand before God and give an account for our lives (2Co_5:10). This is not something to be taken lightly, but it should motivate us to live in a way that pleases God and prepares us for that day.

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E. Heaven And Hell Are Real

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus also confirms the reality of heaven and hell. Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom, a place of comfort and rest, while the Rich Man went to Hades, a place of torment and suffering. We should take seriously the reality of these places and live in a way that leads us to heaven.

F. Listen To God’s Word

Abraham told the Rich Man that his brothers had Moses and the prophets to listen to. Likewise, we have the entire Bible, God’s Word, to guide us in our lives. We should make it a priority to read and study the Bible regularly, so that we can grow in our understanding of God and his will for us.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a powerful reminder of the reality of life after death and the importance of living in a way that honors God.

It challenges us to examine our own lives and priorities, to ensure that we are not trusting in wealth, but rather in God, and using our resources to serve others and further his kingdom.

It also reminds us of the importance of repentance and the reality of judgment, heaven, and hell.

As Christians, let us take these lessons to heart and strive to live in a way that pleases God and prepares us for the day when we will stand before him. May we be like Lazarus, who endured suffering and poverty in this life but received comfort and rest in the next.

And may we avoid the fate of the Rich Man, who trusted in his wealth and ended up in torment. Let us seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, knowing that all these things will be added to us (Mat_6:33).

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