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Lazarus and the rich man — A parable of Jesus — Luke 16:19-31

Lazarus and the rich man, one of Jesus’ parables (Luke 16:19-31)

  • Verse 19: 
    • The rich man is not named but Lazarus is named (Lazarus = “God is my help”).  Lazarus is the only character in one of Jesus’ many parables that is given a specific name.
    • “purple… linen” — This was the costliest garb available in that day.
    • “every day” — He obviously lived in total extravagance.
  • Verse 20-21:
    • “…laid at his gate…” — The rich man obviously lived in a ‘gated’ palace, Lazarus was unable to walk, probably due to open sores and pressure.  ‘Gate’ on earth versus ‘gulf’ in heaven.
    • Rich man’s company versus Lazarus and the dogs, food versus crumbs, clothes versus ‘sores’.
  • Verse 22:
    • Lazarus ‘died’ versus the rich man dying and being ‘buried’.  Beggars bodies were discarded into heaps.
    • “…carried by angels…” — carried in disgrace on earth but carried in joy and celebration in heaven.
    • “…bosom…” — see Bible Dictionary under ‘bosom’, with ‘bosom’ referring to a place of refuge.
  • Verse 24:
    • “…Father Abraham…” — quite hypocritical for the rich man to now claim membership in the family of Abraham.  Notice the role reversal.
    • “…have mercy…” — where was your mercy for Lazarus?
    • “…send Lazarus…” — he still does not understand.  He speaks as if Lazarus was a servant or slave.  I had servants during my life.  Surely Lazarus could serve me now.
  • Verse 25:
    • “Son…” — Was Abraham being sarcastic?  Probably not.
    • “…remember…” — how many times in the Book of Mormon are we admonished to ‘remember’?  Look back, consider your ways.  Realize that there are consequences, both good and bad, for our actions.
  • Verse 26:
    • “…gulf…” — Christ’s visit to the spirit world bridged the gulf.
  • Verse 29:
    • “…Moses and the prophets…” — Scriptures and prophets provide all that we need to obey God and come back into His presence.  Lazarus apparently read, believed, and obeyed.  We can do nothing less.
  • Verse 31:
    • “…neither will they be persuaded…” — miracles don’t convert!
  • Lessons to be learned:
    • The rich man wasn’t damned simply because he was rich, nor was Lazarus saved simply because he was poor.  THey received their stations based on actions and attitudes.
    • The rich man was rationalizing when he inferred that he would have repented if he had been taught.
    • Send the man to help me whom I refused to help during life.

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