Luke 16:19-31 The Parable of the Richman and Lazarus

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. [1] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers [2]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

  • “We all know Lazarus.  He is our neighbor.  Some of us may be rich, well dressed and well fed, and walk past him without even noticing; others of us may not be so rich, or so finely clothed and fed, but compared with Lazarus we’re well off.  Hew would be glad to change places with us, and we would be horrified to share his life, even for a day.” N.T. Wright
  • A story of how wealth and poverty is reversed in the future life.  These types of stories were quite common in Jesus’ day.  However, Jesus’ story is different.  Most stories would allow for a message to be sent back to those people still alive on earth, but in Jesus’ story no such message is allowed.
  • This is a parable and not just a moral tale about wealth and poverty.  Some might argue that it is better for the poor to stay poor, since they will be rich in heaven.  That isn’t the point of the parable.
  • The key to the parable is in the last verse, “Neither will they be convinced, even if someone were to rise from the dead.”  Compare this to the parable of the prodigal son when the father says, “This brother was dead and is alive again.”  The older son was not convinced.  The older son is like the rich man in this passage.  They both don’t want to deal with the poor and ragged brother or neighbor.  But Jesus did want to deal with them.  He wanted to deal with them now.  Jesus was incorporating what was done in heaven in to his ministry on earth.  He was accepting the Lazarus’ and the prodigal  sons.
  • The Pharisees were behaving like the rich man.  They weren’t accepting the people Jesus was reaching out to.  Jesus was warning them to change their tune or else they will be sorry.
  • Not even someone rising from the dead will help them if they refuse to see how God is fulfilling the law and the prophets through Jesus.  This story points to Jesus himself and his death and resurrection.  Jesus did die  and did rise from the dead.
  • Am I like the rich man?  Am I walking past people and ignoring their needs both physically and spiritually?  Am I accepting/inviting all people into God’s kingdom?
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One Response to “Luke 16:19-31 The Parable of the Richman and Lazarus”

  1. thebrinkreport Says:

    This is a good synopsis of The Rich man and Lazarus. Do you think Lazarus represents the Gentiles suffering outside the Kingdom of God? My veiw is that the Jews, up until Jesus appeared, held exclusive rights to the kingdom and were rebuked by Jesus because they would not lift a finger to share their blessing with the rest of the world.

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