Luke 16 v 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.”
We should spend a few minutes thinking about Lazarus before we leave this story. He is pictured as being in Abraham’s bosom. This is an indication that he was probably a true Son of Abraham, that is, a sincere and devout believer, one who truly trusted in God. This is what the symbolism implies.
Lazarus would have needed a strong faith to endure what he had to endure without abandoning God. He was sick and hungry. Suffering is a real mystery and there are questions about suffering which seem destined not to be answered in this world. But this much is clear, that the sufferings of some seem to provide others with opportunities, whether they take them or not. Those who consistently help the poor in a meaningful way, develop qualities and character that others do not have. Even so, the very opportunities they had to help others, is occasioned by the sufferings of those other people. We should remember that many poor people are real Christians and their lot in life is to be poor and to be at the mercy of others. It is much harder to be poor and a recipient of pity and the mercy of others and still be faithful to God, than to be the one who gives or relieves the misery.
But we must always be careful to remember that to be poor and needy does not automatically entitle one to heaven, any more than to be rich and comfortable does. But if the poor and needy are true Sons of Abraham, that is, true believers, then their sufferings and their faithfulness under their sufferings “will result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1 v 7)
As we conclude our thoughts on the rich man and Lazarus let us remember these vital points:
1. The rich man did not go to hell because he was rich.
2. The poor man did not go to Abraham’s bosom because he was poor.
3. The rich man simply presumed that all was well with him and ignored the needy at his door.
4. The poor man in spite of his sufferings clung by faith to the mercy of Abraham’s God.
5. We should never forget that as far as Jesus was concerned, heaven and hell are realities of the after- world.
We are all destined to cross over.
Where will we go?