Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 16:19-31

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Chapter 16:19-31

Lazarus and The Rich Man

  • Guess what it's time for. Another story. We swear we're not getting antsy.
  • This one also stars another Richie Rich. He goes around in the best suits Brooks Brothers has to offer, and lives a pretty sweet life.
  • But there's this impoverished guy named Lazarus who spends his days sitting at Richie Rich's gate. He's covered with sores and wounds, and he asks only to eat the scraps from Richie Rich's table. Some of those bones might have a little meat left on them, you know?
  • But all he gets are dogs that come by to lick his sores. In time, Lazarus dies, and angels bring him off to Abraham's lap.
  • Richie Rich also dies, but he's being tortured in Hades. And just to rub it in, he can see Lazarus from a distance all nice and comfy in Abraham's lap. P.S. This is exactly what Mary was talking about in 1:51-53.
  • Richie Rich begs Abraham for mercy. Can't Lazarus just dip the tip of his finger in some nice cool water and touch Richie Rich's tongue? He's in total agony because of this pesky flame.
  • Abraham says—in a nutshell—"Nope!"
  • Richie Rich enjoyed the finest things while he was alive, while Lazarus suffered terribly. Now, the situation is totally reversed. Lazarus will be comforted, and Richie Rich will be miserable.
  • Besides, part of the cosmic architecture is this huge "chasm" (16:26 NRSV) or "gulf" (KJV) here, which can't be crossed from either side.
    So Richie Rich is, well, stuck for good.
  • Richie Rich pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus to his family's house. There's no chasm keeping Lazarus from going there, right? Then he'll be able to warn the other Riches, who still have time to avoid this hellish place.
  • One more time: "Nope!"
  • Why should he send Lazarus when they already have Moses and the prophets to warn them?
  • Richie Rich persists: "No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent" (16:30). Your English teacher will call this foreshadowing.
  • "Actually, you're wrong," responds Abraham. They don't listen to Moses and the prophets. They won't listen to someone who's resurrected either.
  • Hmmm.

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