Serving Jesus in Our Community

Bible Notes

Luke 16:22-24 (28.11.23)

Luke 16:22-24 (NIVUK)
22 ‘The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”

It’s tempting to use this parable as a way of saying that wealth = bad and that poverty = good, the complete opposite of how the ‘world’ sees it, but this would be a lazy interpretation. We’re not told in the story why Lazarus finds relief and the rich man only torment, and we know very little about their moral character and situations other than life has dealt Lazarus a bad hand, and that the rich man did not respond to the plight of his neighbour in life. It’s not a detailed case study of the afterlife and God’s judgement beyond one factor: it seems clear that Jesus meant us to hear that the rich man’s plight was due to his lack of compassion (not his material wealth). Even now he sees Lazarus not as made in God’s image and a person to be valued, but as a resource for his own benefit.

Father, forgive me for when I fail to see someone because I am too busy judging how they might be of benefit to me.

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