Summary: Explanation & application of this uncomfortable parable (PowerPoint slides for this talk available on request - email: email@example.com)
Rich Man And Lazarus
Reading: Luke chapter 16 verses 19-31
• J.D. Rockerfeller’s advice on how to get rich:
• (1). Go to work early.
• (2). Stay at work late.
• (3). Find oil!
This chapter starts off with The Parable of the Shrewd Manager.
• A parable about money;
• In which Jesus warns his followers to use money rather than be used by it.
• And the key verse in this chapter is verse 13:
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
Verse 14 tells us that the Pharisees (the religious leaders):
“…….who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus”
• Jesus tells this well known parable (Rich man & Lazarus);
• As a warning to them to care about the poor as much as they cared about money!
• One day a certain old, rich man of a miserable disposition visited a rabbi,
• The Rabbi took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window.
• “Look out there into the street. What do you see?” asked the rabbi.
• “I see men, women, and children,” answered the rich man.
• Again the rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror.
• “Now what do you see?”
• “Now I can only see myself,” the rich man replied.
• Then the rabbi said,
“Look, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass.
But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver,
and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others,
and you see only yourself.”
That was the problem with the Pharisees:
• Who loved money and wealth and life’s luxuries.
• So as a warning to them to care about the poor as much as they cared about money!
• Jesus told them a parable that focuses on an anonymous rich man & a beggar named Lazarus
• And it warns us against covetousness by presenting several contrasts.
(A). A contrast in life (verses 19-21).
19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
(1). The Rich Man.
• This man was very rich indeed, phenomenally wealthy.
• He needed to be able to daily afford to wear expensive clothes and host splendid feasts.
• Only royalty, nobility or extremely rich people could afford to wear purple.
• Purple was a very expensive dye.
• He wore purple outer garments and his under garments were fine linen,
• Which would be cool and expensive, i.e. He wore silk underwear!
Other people might have fine clothes to wear on special days:
• And delicious food to eat on particular occasions,
• But this man wallowed in extravagance every day of his life.
• The one word that best describes his lifestyle is “flamboyant.”
• He was definitely among “the rich and famous” & other people admired & envied him.
And you will not be surprised to know that his house was also ost-en-ta-tious.
• This ‘gate’ that Jesus mentions was not the normal sort of gate,
• That you and I might have on the side entrance of our house.
• It was a huge ornamental portico such as palaces or temples would have.
• Material prosperity oozed out of every pore of this fellow,
• It was seen in his clothes, his food, his house, in everything!
• ‘He was rich’ (joke: why even the bags under his eyes probably contained £50 notes!)
Notice: that is all we are told.
• We are told nothing about his friends, his achievements,
• Or that he had any additional qualities – we are only told he was ‘wealthy’.
• Jesus’ summary of this mans life was he was rich,
• And that would be the obituary words on his gravestone.
• Jesus’ story implies that there is something very tragic;
• About a person who can be summed up like that.
(2). The Poor Man.
20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The second man could not have been more different.
• So Jesus paints a picture of abject poverty,
• One, which is as extreme as the rich man’s opulence.
We are told (vs 20) Lazarus was sick and possibly crippled: