TOO LATE TO SWITCH
If you only read verses 19-21, and I asked, “Would you rather be the rich man, or Lazarus?” Wouldn’t you reply, “The rich man, of course”?
In the story, both men die. Lazarus goes to Heaven and the rich man goes to Hell. When the rich man begs Abraham from across the chasm to send Lazarus to relieve his suffering, Abraham replies, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25).
Once you heard the rest of the story, then who would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus? Suddenly your preference would change, wouldn’t it?
But that’s Abraham’s point: After death, it’s too late to change who you were, what you believed and what you did in life.
- Most of us are extremely wealthy compared to Lazarus. What are some dangers that come with having money and possessions?
- Scripture is emphatic that there are no good works we can do that will save us (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). We can only be saved from Hell by God’s grace, as we believe in Jesus and his work for us (John 1:12). Why, then, does Lazarus go to Heaven and the rich man to Hell. Does it mean poor people deserve Heaven and rich people don’t?
- Remember that while every Scripture passage is true, no one passage says all that is true. We must put them together with other passages, including those telling us we are saved only by God’s grace. See if you can understand Luke 16 better in light of what Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-20 and Matthew 25:31-46.