Lazarus and the Rich Man
In our Wednesday evening bible class we studied the story of Lazarus and the rich man to see what happens to the human soul at death.
This is a true story that Jesus tells because of the specific indication of characters. He said there was a certain rich man, and a certain beggar named Lazarus. If it were a parable or an allegory He wouldn’t have used the word "certain" or used a specific name to associate the characters. As the story was told, the rich man was finely dressed and lived in luxury every day. Is it a sin to be rich or finely dressed or to have nice things? Of course not.
So what was his sin? His sin was his lack of concern and compassion for his fellow man. With great wealth comes great responsibility.
We know that he ignored Lazarus who was laid at his gate, because the text says that Lazarus "longed for" the crumbs that fell from his table, you don’t long for something that you have.
And Lazarus' body was covered with sores and he was harassed by dogs, two things that the rich man could have helped with.
If the rich man would have had the compassion that the Good Samaritan had,
he would have drove the dogs away,
taken him in and addressed his sores
and fed him.
He should have used Job’s example to the world of how a rich and Godly man should behave in society.
"Because I delivered the poor who cried, and the fatherless also, who had no one to help him, the blessing of him who was ready to perish came on me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me. My justice was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy. The cause of him who I didn’t know, I searched out."
Job was quick to help the needy, and considered it a blessing for the opportunity to give aid where ever it was needed.
Sadly, the rich man would fall under this judgment of Jesus,
"Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’
“Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
At his death Lazarus was carried into paradise by angels because his name was found in the Book of Life. The rich man at death was immediately tormented by fire in Hades. His name was not found in the Book of Life, and perhaps that is why Jesus didn’t bother to give his name in the story.