Summary: The saints of God looked forward to that blessed homecoming, but there is another homecoming for those who reject Christ.
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
This is a familiar story. It’s very hard to be a student of the Bible for several years and not run into this one. It’s a frightening story. The subject is about death and the fact that some people die and go to Hell. It’s not pleasant to think of how a person will be in such terrible torments in a place called Hell. It’s a forgotten story. Many preachers today have chosen not to use this Bible text for a sermon. In fact all references to Hell have been deleted from many pulpits in our day. It’s a true story. It was told by Jesus and He never tells a lie. Some say it’s a parable (a made-up story). I don’t believe it is. Jesus said there was a certain rich man and a certain beggar named Lazarus. Jesus gave a name to one of the characters. It gives the appearance of a real event. If it wasn’t a true story, Jesus would have said so. He would have said, “what I’m about to tell you doesn’t really happen, but there was this certain rich man…”
When Jesus told of His second-return and the preparation of mansions, he said this, “In my Father’s house are many mansions and if it was not so, I would have told you…” John 14:2 Jesus did not waste words on pointless stories.
As Jesus tells this story of the rich man and Lazarus, let’s remember that there is a story behind the story. Many of the stories, parables, and lessons Jesus gives are motivated by something being said, or taught by others, especially the religious rulers of the day---the scribes and Pharisees.