As much as we don’t like this theme, it is here. It is in the bible and Jesus warned us about this place frequently. As a matter of fact, this is why He came so that we would not go to this place. It is because of God’s mercy that we can avoid such torture. We often don’t believe it and try to ignore it. Ignoring it and denying it, will not change its reality.
This scripture is about our lack of understanding of this place and about all the messages we have received and yet we choose to go on our merry way and pretend it is not there. It is also a continuation of the rich man’s story, let’s say it was Tom’s, the man from our previous chapter, who chose to ignore to follow the Master and lived under his own law and therefore when you live this life under your own law, you die under your own law and face the consequences alone.
Let us read Luke 16:19-31 as follows: Then Tom became very rich. Not only did he keep his Master’s money but he also did business well. He was enjoying his life. Never mind that there was a lot of poverty around him, he chose to wear expensive clothing and live everyday in splendor. Purple and linen were the name brand of the day so he wore those with pride! Everyone should know how rich he was! He was the Jone’s of the time!
God in His mercy, sent Lazarus to Tom’s Gate. Lazarus was one of those who came to this Earth and had a lack of possessions. God wanted Tom’s inner conscience to be stimulated to do good for Lazarus but Tom was too into himself to see it. Therefore, Lazarus continued to long to be fed with the crumbs that were fallen from Tom’s table.
God not only sent Lazarus to attempt to stimulate on Tom’s compassion for provision but Lazarus was also suffering medical conditions. He needed protection, medical care. He needed a good Samaritan! Tom’s dogs were licking Lazarus’s open wounds but this instead of stimulating Tom’s compassion, brought in him repulsion.
God took Lazarus away! enough was enough! We have to assume that Lazarus was following the Master for we don’t see Lazarus robbing Tom or cursing him. We were also told in the story that Lazarus was laid at the rich man’s gate. He was laid most likely by his Master. The fact that when he died was carried away by the Angels to Abraham’s bosom means he was a child of God. Lazarus had been faithful in his poverty!
Little did Tom realize that his time would also come for there is an end to all of us on this Earth. Rich or poor, young or old, sick or healthy, male or female etc. None of us can add a single hour to our lives. As smart or powerful as we can be, we can’t do this for ourselves. Only our heavenly Father who has told us that all the days of our lives are counted can.
Job 14:5 says: A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set. and Matthew 6:27 says “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”
Tom ended up dying despite the good hospital bed and excellent medical care. He wasn’t taken away by the Angels though. He was buried. His time of enjoyment and pompous living had ended and as promised and told by the prophets and all the messengers, eternity was set in. His eternity though was in torment. Tom had been unfaithful in his riches.
He ended up in that place that Jesus says in Matthew 13:42 ” They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Tom had forgotten about this place. As a matter of fact, he had preferred not to think about it. During his lifetime, he would have been happy to sing Frank Sinatra’s famous son “I did it my way” And he would have been proud of it!
Not any longer for in torment in the blazing fire, he called for father Abraham. Remember that all of us that believe in Jesus Christ are now by faith sons of Abraham? “Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham” Galatians 3:7
Luke 16:24-31 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
Father Abraham also said to Tom, besides, even if I wanted to help I can’t. There is a division between you and us and it can’t be crossed. Tom begged Abraham to sent someone to warn his father and brothers. For although Tom was in hell, and dead to Earthly life, his soul was alive as it would be forever and all his senses were with him for our skin and body is only a physical aspect of who we are.
Father Abraham responded to him and said “Tom, what makes you think that your father and brothers will listen?” “If they haven’t listened to Moses and all the prophets and messengers sent by God, who have come to warn them even as they came performing many signs that they were truly from God, they would not believe someone who claims to have been dead even if he was.
Messengers are still here. Keep your ears open. The ultimate proof of this is our Master who died for us on that painful cross. He died and rose again to pay the price for our sins so that we would not end there. We are encouraged to take His gift for our own sake. have you done so? If not, take his hand and make Him your Master. Jesus said in John 8:31-32 “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”