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. 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—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.’”
Again, Jesus spoke about money. This time, he told about a rich man and a poor man. The rich man lived in luxury, dressed in expensive clothing and feasting continuously. The very poor man would lie down at the gate of the rich man’s mansion, hoping to eat from his trash. The poor man was crippled and others had to place him by the rich man’s home. In addition, his skin was infested with boils or sores, which the local dogs licked, making him ceremonially unclean and probably infecting the sores. He was in bad shape! The rich man was unnamed, but the poor man is called by his name, Lazarus, which ironically means “God, my helper.” In time, Lazarus died. Angels took him to “Abraham’s bosom” or the place for those destined to blessing. The rich man died too. While in anguish, he looked up and in the distance saw Abraham and Lazarus being comforted. The rich man never bothered to help Lazarus in his poverty and sickness on earth, but now the rich man was begging for Lazarus to send him some water. How everything had changed! After both the rich man and Lazarus died, their roles clearly reversed, but this time it was forever. They both received the direct opposite of what they had on earth. The rich man suffered while Lazarus was free of pain and in a place of total relief. The rich man wasn’t tormented because he was rich, but because he used his wealth selfishly.
The rich man realized that his condition was hopeless. Nothing could be done to change things for him. He asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his living brothers so they would be spared his fate. His brothers lived the same way he did, but they could still change and be saved from eternal punishment. Abraham said the special warning wasn’t needed, because the brothers had the message of the Old Testament. The rich man argued that the Scripture wasn’t enough. He insisted a sign was necessary. Abraham disagreed. Even if “someone” were to rise from the dead, it wouldn’t be enough for the unbelieving. Jesus’ message was clear: death changes everything. If you are ignoring the Scripture or waiting for more revelation, now is the time to repent. For those of us following Jesus, even though at times it may not seem like God is helping us, our ultimate joy will come soon, and we will be forever comforted.