Jesus tells of a wealthy man who lived a luxurious lifestyle, and of Lazarus, who was a poor man. Lazarus lay at the gate of the rich man with sores covering his body, just begging for a bite of food. He seemed to only attract the neighborhood dogs, which would come to lick his sores. Luke 16:20
Jesus tells that both men died. The rich man died and went to the grave. The King James Version says Hell, some others says the place of torment, Hades. Then it also says Lazarus, the poor man, died. When he died, he was carried into Abraham’s bosom.
Luke 16:24 reads, “The rich man cried out, ‘Father Abraham, send Lazarus over here to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue because I’m in anguish in these flames'”. There’s a lot of theology here in this passage. I do not particularly believe he is in torment because of his wealth. I believe it was a heart issue that caused him to enjoy his lifestyle so much that he didn’t need God. Then, Lazarus, I do not think he went to Paradise or to live with Abraham because he was a poor man. I believe it was a condition of his heart.
A conversation began with the rich man, “Let Lazarus dip his finger in water and cool my tongue.” This gives us the understanding that there is torment waiting for those who leave this life without faith in God.
Abraham said to him, “Son, remember during your lifetime you had everything you wanted and Lazarus had nothing; so, now he is here being comforted and you’re in anguish.” So, we see the roles reversed. Again, I believe it was a condition of the heart that led them to where they are now. Abraham continues, “Besides there is a big gulf that’s separating us.” (Luke 16:25-26) Abraham said there is something separating those who are in torment from those who are in Paradise. There is no way one can cross to the other side.
This is what I find interesting. The rich man could communicate with Abraham, but the poor man, Lazarus never talks with the rich man. So, my questions here, and I’d love to read your comments. Can the people who are in torment see those who are living in comfort now, in Paradise, in Abraham’s bosom, God’s people? Apparently they do. Another question is can those who are in comfort see those who are in torment? I’m thinking not from what I see here in this scripture. It doesn’t appear that they can.
We know where the Lord is going to take His children when they die has no sorrow and no heartache. To be able to look back and see those people who are suffering because of their heart condition when they left this life would not be heaven.
The rich man said to Abraham, “Please, Father Abraham, at least send him, Lazarus, back to my home for I have five brothers.” They were probably living like the rich man, don’t you imagine? He said, “I have five brothers and I want him to warn them so that they don’t end up in this place of torment.” (Luke 16:28) So, see this rich man in torment has got all of this figured out; if we can get Lazarus to go back and just tell them where we are and what happens after death, then I think my five brothers will change their ways and not come here. This rich man did not want his brothers to come to the place of torment where he was.
Abraham said to him, “They’ve got Moses and the prophets, they’ve already warned them. You’ve got the law; you’ve got all of the Old Testament prophets that already warned them.” In this scenario, Jesus is saying that this rich man while he was on earth he had warning. It wasn’t by surprise that he had this after death torment. He had a prior notice because he had Moses, the prophets, the men of God, and the form of worship that God had set for people.
Now, Abraham said, “Your five brothers who are still living have the Word, they have the Law, they’ve got the word of the prophets and they are not going to believe even if a man rose from the dead and came back to tell them about the afterlife. They are not even going to believe that.” (Luke 16:29-31)
This conversation was interesting. Jesus told the story, and he said that even if one came back from the dead, they’re not going to believe them. What I think we find hidden in this scripture is Jesus talking about his death and resurrection. They are not even going to believe because of that.
Fast forward a couple thousand years to where we are today. Look at the things that we have on this earth to warn us of what’s to come. Warn us of facing God after death. Remind us of torment that awaits those whose heart is not right. Think about this. Jesus says here that they have the law and the prophets. They’ve got Moses and everything Moses left for them. They had the Old Testament. Now, two thousand years later not only do we have the Old Testament, but we also have the New Testament that we can read and study from Matthew to Revelation. Many people will not believe what Moses and the prophets said, not what the apostles said. They just will not believe. So, Jesus said, “If one dies and rises from the dead they are still not going to believe.”
It’s sad to see that there are people on this earth who denies the Word of God. They deny the fact of Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and the words of Christ are viable today. Many deny that Jesus Christ died and rose again. They say there is no God. Many have reasons and excuses for not believing.
We must understand that you and I are going to die. I’m a realist here. You are going to die. We are all going to die. That may not be what you wanted to read, but let it be a reality check, to know that we are going to die. We are going to stand before God. We have a Creator that we are going to stand before. He’s going to want to know, “Why didn’t you believe the Word? Why didn’t you accept my Son when I sent him to the earth? Why didn’t you believe him, even though he rose from the dead?” Why aren’t you going to believe?
When a person dies, they don’t just disintegrate, and that’s it. Paul said when we are absent from this body we are present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) The Bible also says it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
We see in this illustration that Jesus gives us reason to believe that there is a conversation after death. That those in torment have seen those that are living in comfort now. There is a conversation, but there is a vast gulf between and no way once we leave this life that we can make it across to the place of peace and happiness.
You’ve got two choices. There is a broad way and a narrow way and you take your pick which one you’d rather go. (Matthew 7:13-14) Do you want to accept Christ as your Savior and follow the way that Jesus has laid out for us in the word of God? Or had you rather choose the other way? That’s the way that seems to be the broad way that a lot of people choose.
What’s your choice? How is the conversation going to go after your death? These bodies will return to the dust of the earth but the real me and the real you are going to live on somewhere. So, what’s the conversation going to be like when you get to where you’re going?
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Jesus tells an interesting story in the book of Luke chapter 16. The story is of a man who hears he is about to be fired. He calls the people who owe his boss and says, “Come and let’s have a meeting without the boss man’s knowledge.” He says, “How much do you owe my boss man?” One guy says, “Well, I owe him like a lot of oil.” They guy about to be fired says, “I tell you what to do, reduce that number and just say that you owe him half of what you originally owed him.” Then he calls another in and he says, “What do you owe my boss man?” And he says, “I owe him this many bushels.” The other guy says, “Cut that down and reduce that number to where you don’t owe him as much as you originally did. The boss doesn’t know so let’s just change what you owe him.” When the boss man finds this out, he commends the guy on what he’s doing because he is using what authority he has to take care of himself.
I find the story so interesting, especially coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ. Why don’t you help interpret Luke 16:9. Look at it in different translations. First, the NIV says, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends….” This comes from the mouth of Christ! “I tell you, use wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Think about that. Use wealth to gain friends so that when that is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal life. Look at this in the NLT, “Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you into an eternal home.”
My question is, who are “they”? Who are the “they” that’s going to welcome you into an eternal home? Some say compare this scripture to the rich young ruler that came to Christ. He said he had obeyed all the commandments and Jesus told him to go sell everything that he had and give it to the poor. (Mark 10:17-27) Others compare this to the scripture about entertaining angels unaware, (Hebrews 13:2), saying that they will welcome you into an eternal home. What are your thoughts on this?
The New King James Version says, “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon,” which we believe is money or wealth, “that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” Should we take the earthly things that we have, money or whatever possessions, and help people who are in need? As we help people out with their need, we are making friends with them. You know how it is as long as you’ve got the money you’re going to have friends. As long as you are giving out money, you are going to have friends.
We saw that a few years back when we had Life Church open for the homeless during a winter storm when ice and snow covered the ground. We had lots of people coming wanting stuff. We were giving away left and right. I even had people calling me wanting me to help them buy a car or pay their rent or utility bills. It was an ongoing thing for months upon months and we had “friends”. When we realized we were being taken advantage of, and changed our way of help, we lost a lot of those “friends.”
Jesus said, “Take what you have and make friends with it so that when that fails you.” There will come a time in life when your money will not do you any good. No matter how much money you bank up, there will come a time in your life when this “tent” will fall to the ground and will be folded, as Paul said. (2 Corinthians 5:1) You are going to die and your money is not going to do you any good. There has been a lot of talk about there being no U-Haul behind a hearse.
So, who is going to welcome us into that eternal home? Some people think that the people we help will be the ones that will be rescued and be able to be there to welcome us in.
I just have one desire. I want you to develop an interest in the Word of God. I am reading the One Year Bible. At the time of this devotion, I’m in Joshua, Luke, Psalm, and Proverbs. If you have not started this, I urge you to. You can do this by downloading the YouVersion app, this is how I follow the plan, or you can buy the One Year Bible here. I just want you to get into the Word and then study to show yourself approved. (2 Timothy 2:15) Study to know what the Word of God is saying to you.
I believe we are to help one another. I believe that when we see a brother in need we are to help him. When we see people who are not our brothers or sister, I think we are to help them, too. I do believe we are laying up treasures in Heaven and I believe that one day we will receive that reward. (Matthew 6:20)
The Lord recently spoke to my heart, “As you care for the least of these, I will care for you.” I have thought of that many times. However, helping people is not always handing out cash. That’s one thing I have stopped doing. There are many other ways to help a person in need.
Meditate on this scripture today. Comment below and let hear your interpretation of Luke 16:9. Many times we sit on the sideline letting other people interpret the Word for us, why don’t you share your understanding this time.
“Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” Meditate on and enjoy The Word today.
Here’s the Devotional Video