The Gospel of Luke | Gaining the World | Luke 16.19-31 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Sep 27, 2021

“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.’” Luke 16.19-31 

Jesus tells this parable about a rich man whose name is not given (I always think this is significant) and a beggar who laid at his gate, named Lazarus, who was covered in sores. He was homeless, without hope, and had nothing. He was even “longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.” Lazarus, the beggar, was in bad shape.

When both men died, the angels carried Lazarus to Abrahams side but the rich man went into Hades (i.e. Hell) where he was in torment. Verse 24 says, we “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.’” 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.’”

This is the first lesson of this passage, those who gain their life on this earth will lose it. Those who forfeit their life today will get eternal life. (Jesus, Matthew 16.25). The great chasm between heaven and hell separated the two, no one could cross it. And if they did, since they did not listen to Moses or the Prophets, “they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” This is truth spoken to the Jews and about the Jews.

If the first lesson is generosity, the second is faith. Jesus introduces a concept of heaven to the Jews and to believers everywhere. What we do on this earth matters and once we leave this earth we can not return to it. We can only make the difference today of loving the Lord and loving other people.

Worldly gain may satisfy earthly needs, but they are not eternal. What if we gain the world world, as Jesus says, and lose our souls? Is it worth it? Not hardly. The example in this parable teaches us to have compassion for those who are less fortunate and to put our faith in Jesus.

Are you living for Jesus by loving others? When you die, will you have gained the world but lost your soul? Or, will you have forfeited the pleasures of the world to live for God?

Let us love as Jesus loved and build our kingdom not in this world but in the one to come.

“O Lord God, thank you that you love us. Thank you that you allow us to be your hands and feet. Help us not to be so comfortable that we neglect the needs of those around us. Help us reach the lost, serve the hurting, help the broken. And, help us speak your name and make you famous among the nations. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill us with your power and love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen

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