19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’
25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’
27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—
28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’
31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Lazarus and the rich man’s lives were the complete opposite, but death was certain for both of them, as it is for us. After they died, their situations changed dramatically. On earth, the rich man was at the top of the world and Lazarus was the lowest of the low. After they died, Lazarus went on to comfort in the presence of God and the rich man met eternal torment in hell.
This passage gives us a brief glimpse of the vastness between heaven and hell. Jesus used this parable to show what awaits those who reject Him by neglecting to care for the needy, only looking out for their own wellbeing. To live our lives only caring for our own interests is self-worship. In this, we are rejecting the grace we have been shown in Christ and acting as god of our own lives.
This passage presses the urgency of prioritizing our lives now with an eternal perspective. If this life is our only hope, we have no need to care for others. However, if our treasure is Christ, we can freely give of ourselves to others, knowing that we have been given everything we need in Him. The things that we give up now will not compare to life spent forever with God.
- How does thinking about eternity encourage us to live differently now?
- Consider the riches we have been given in Christ. How does this give you freedom to consider others before yourself in this life?
- Thank God for His complete provision for His people in Jesus. Ask for a right perspective of the world and the needy around you. Ask to see the areas where you have neglected the poor and needy in favor of your own interests.