The rich man and the beggar

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The rich man and the beggar       

Luke 16: 19-21 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores”. NIV Bible

Extra Reading: Luke 16:19-31.

I want to say that this is an emotional story. In Jesus’ parable of a rich man and a poor man, their fortunes were exactly reversed at death. Regarding the Pharisees’ attitude toward money, Jesus gave an illustration that vividly portrays the value of money in the light of future judgment. This Lazarus should not be confused with the Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead in John 11. Incidentally, this is the only person in any of Jesus’ stories who is given a name. The ‘rich man’ in this parable lived out the lifestyle afforded to the wealthy who lived in the Roman Empire. Splendid clothing, delicious food of all types, and days lived in luxury could be had by those with enough money. In contrast, there is a poor diseased beggar. Ancient Rome had no middle class-there were the very rich and the very poor. Often the poor were reduced to begging in order to survive. This man, Lazarus, was sick, hungry, and abandoned, so he lay at the rich man’s door, longing for scraps from the rich man’s table. Leftovers were all he desired, and the rich man could have easily shared from his extravagance by sending a servant out with a plateful. But the rich man refused to share, probably not even taking notice of the poor man at his door. His wealth was not sinful, but his selfishness was. What is God teaching us from this story?

In time, both the rich man and Lazarus died, for death takes everyone regardless of social station or wealth. The rich man ended up in hell and in torment (Luke 16:24). Lazarus died, the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. Where will you spend your eternity?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, teach us about the danger of pursuing wealth without knowing you, and the finality of God’s judgment. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Samuel N. Modise

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