Lazarus the Rich Man

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Reading: Luke 16:19-31
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And 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 tormented in this flame.” But Abraham said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Then he said, “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”Abraham saith unto him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And he said, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” And he said unto him, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

In the earlier passages we could read about the marked contrast that Jesus makes between religion, which oppresses and distances people from God, and the Kingdom of God: A Kingdom with a more marked and profound sense of righteousness, holiness, and the love of God for His creation.
This story that Jesus tells (which some read as a parable, and others as a real event due to Lazarus being called by his name) continues illustrating this contrast.
The Pharisees viewed economic prosperity, or wealth, as a sign of God’s favor. Thus he who had riches could show them as a sign of his piety and devotion. On the other hand, in the case of a poor man like Lazarus, his suffering was seen as evidence of his remoteness from God. It is perhaps an unquestionable logic, but far removed from the Word of God.
Imagine the impact of Jesus’ words on those who had made money their God. The Lord shows them how the rich receive the consequences of having accumulated useless treasures on earth, now suffering the torment of Hades. What good is your wealth now?
But Lazarus, the suffering and despised, is resting at Abraham’s side.
It is not your poverty or your wealth that determines your eternal destiny, but where your heart and your faith are set.
We see how the rich man’s heart was so attached to his possessions that he was not even able to sympathize with his brother’s needs. And now he sees the fruit of his idolatry.
The rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers of what awaits them. But Abraham’s response is premonitory. If they have not believed Moses and the prophets, they will not believe even if a dead man is resurrected.
The Gospel is not simply about accepting with our mind obvious truths (though this is necessary), but about the idols of our heart being removed.

MEDITATE: It is almost inevitable that we would consider this passage in relation to the modern merchants of faith, who falsify the Gospel by making it a business, but every believer must always pray to the Lord to help him not put his trust in anything other than Him.

Translation By: Emily Stader

Sebastián Winkler (169)

Sebastián Winkler lives in General Pinto, a small town in the interior of Argentina, and serves the Lord in the Baptist Church of his city as a teacher of Bible studies. He is a Professor of Literature, he likes music, reading and sharing the Bible with others.
He is married to Karina they have two daughters named Julia and Emilia.
He is the main author in his blog: engraciaysabiduria.com (in spanish)

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