Opening Prayer

Father God, thank you for your great plan of redemption that is being carried out in me and throughout the world.

Read LUKE 16:19–31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

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.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘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. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Slowly and prayerfully, read Hebrews 13:5. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to trust God more in these key areas of life.

Think Further

This parable challenges the Pharisees, who loved money and were sneering at Jesus just before our passage (vv. 13, 14). Lazarus, the only character in any parable named by Jesus, reminds us that even those most beaten up by life are named individuals, not just issues. Though later recognized by the rich man (v. 24), no help comes his way. The dogs get the leftovers, not Lazarus. Those dogs are the only ones to show Lazarus compassion, for they lick his sores, a sign of canine affection which also aids healing.1 In contrast, the unnamed rich man’s lifestyle is one long banquet in the most expensive garments (even on the Sabbath).

After death, their fortunes are reversed. The rich man is in torment, outside looking in, whereas Lazarus, who had lain at his gate listening to daily revelry while starving to death, is now the guest of honor by Abraham’s side. The rich man, however, is unabashed. He begs Abraham to send Lazarus to serve him in his torment, even though he’d not lifted a finger for the beggar when he was at his gate. Abraham explains that ‘those who want to go from here to you cannot’ (v. 26). The next request is that Lazarus be sent to his brothers, but Abraham insists they have no need: they can learn all they need to know from Moses and the prophets. The rich man contradicts Abraham, insisting that they’ll listen if someone comes back from the dead.

The irony that someone called Lazarus is suggested as a witness from the dead isn’t lost on us: John tells us that when this actually happened it didn’t trigger repentance, but a plot to kill Jesus.2 Verse 31 reads like a passion prediction. Jesus fears the Pharisees will refuse the challenge to change.


The poor and disadvantaged are often in Jesus’ mind throughout these chapters of Luke. To whom might God be sending you – and how?

Closing prayer

Lord God, I lift up those I know who have not yet turned to you. Help me to share the good news of Jesus; use me in ways that will draw them to him.

Last Updated on January 9, 2024 by kingstar

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