The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by John Peters.  John is the leader of our church. 

Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

27 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

30 "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

Reflection

Present circumstances aside, many of us suffer from a surfeit of pleasure! We have all the material comforts we could possibly desire and yet lead lives of quiet desperation, knowing that something inside us continues to ache. Some dream of winning the lottery to solve all their problems and others pursue fame with a grim determination, never hearing what the highest achievers consistently say: "when you get to the top, there's nothing there."

Luke has a particular interest in the poor and this parable really highlights two difficulties with wealth.

Money blinds us to the needs of others


The contrast between the wealth and poverty of two men is starkly drawn (19-21). The inference is that the wealthy man is condemned because he fails to do anything to help Lazarus (25). Let's not press this picture language into providing concrete information about eternity but the point is clear enough: hell – don't go there. This doesn't mean if you don't care for every poor person, you're going to hell. It means if you show no concern for those in desperate need, you probably aren't worshipping God. God is close to everyone in need.

Money blinds us to what God is saying


The rich man begs that a warning be sent to his brothers concerning their fate – but he still treats Lazarus like a servant (27-28). Yet they have the law, which continually commands that we should show special care for the poor.

The conclusion is that even if someone were to come back from the dead, those whose god is money would remain unmoved (31). What interest do those obsessed with material things have in spiritual and eternal things?

Prayer

Lord, please help me to see the needs of others and to hear what you are saying.



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