The Rich man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31
This well known parable presents a theological problem because it seems to say that those who enjoy this present life go to hell and those who suffer on earth now enjoy heaven in the afterlife. But this is not Jesus’ purpose in telling this parable.
Charles Dickens takes this parable and turns it into “A Christmas Carol” As the rich mans talks to Jesus you can almost see old Jacob Marley wrapped in chains saying “Mankind should have been my business”. Jacob Marley represents the rich Jewish man, lost in his chains. Ebenezer Scrooge represents Christians. Ebenezer is a memorial stone showing Gods’ deliverance, scrooge means to squeeze. Scrooge’s life is a memorial to squeezing people for money.
The true center of this parable is Jesus saying “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
The Jews will have both Moses and the Prophets and someone who will rise from the dead. True to Jesus’ words the vast majority fail to repent. It is not that they are rich and pampered that results in their condemnation, it is their failure to live in accordance with God’s Word. They will not follow Moses and the prophets, and they will not accept Jesus’ offer of forgiveness.
You and I are so blessed. We have Moses, we have the prophets, and we have Jesus risen from the dead, to teach us the way to live. In our Bible we have all we need to know to avoid the Rich Man’s fate. We have what we need to unwrap Jacob Marley’s chains.
James 1:27 tells us that true faith is “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the worlds values.”
Micah 6:8 says “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Isiah 1:16-19 says “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient,”
Will we the church today suffer the fate of the Jews who are wrapped in Jacob Marley’s chains of death? Will we listen to the one who has risen from the dead? Will we receive the Joy of living in heaven with Jesus? We must ask ourselves; are we about our Fathers business?