JANUARY 17 2016

43. Luke 16:19-31 The Rich Man and Lazarus

Goal: Hell is where unbelievers go when they die, separated from God by their sin.

Issue: Many in our society believe that Hell is not real, that a loving God would not punish us for our sins, and that all religions are basically leading to the same eternal state of bliss.

GET READY: On a certain occasion, Jesus told a series of parables. One of these parables he told about a rich man and a man named Lazarus. Jesus told this story because he wanted his listeners to have a glimpse of life after death. Think about these questions as Jesus’ parable is narrated:

ü What kind of life did the rich man have on earth?

ü What kind of life did Lazarus have on earth?

ü What happened to Lazarus when he died?

ü What happened to the rich man when he died?

This is the story that Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus that is found in the Bible.


Jesus told the people an important story about heaven and hell. It did not really happen, but it carried many truths that He wanted the people to learn.

“There once was a very rich man who was splendidly clothed. He lived every day in luxury. At his door lay a diseased beggar and the beggar’s name was Lazarus. As Lazarus lay there longing for a scrap of food from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. Finally, the beggar died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham in heaven. The rich man also died and was buried and his soul went to the place of the dead and a place where people are tormented forever.

“The rich man looked into heaven and he saw Lazarus with Abraham. The rich man called out, “Abraham, have some pity on me. Send Lazarus over here. All he needs to do is dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in anguish in these flames.”

But Abraham said to him, “Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. Anyone who wanted to cross over to you from here is stopped at its edge and no one there can cross over to us.”

“Well, then,” the rich man said, “Please, Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s home. I have five brothers living there and I want him to warn them about this place of torment so they won’t have to come here when they die.” And Abraham said, “Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read their writings any time they want to.”

The rich man replied, “No they won’t do it, Father Abraham, but if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will turn from their sins.”

But Abraham said, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.” That ends this Bible story.



Story of the Rich Man and Lazarus - Discussion Questions

  1. Describe the rich man’s life and clothes.
  2. Who lay outside the rich man’s door?
  3. Describe the beggar named Lazarus.
  4. What kind of condition did he have? (He had some kind of disease, unidentified, that caused sores.)
  5. What did the dogs do to his sores?
  6. Did both men die?
  7. Where did the angels take the beggar when he died?
  8. Where did the rich man go when he died?
  9. Was the rich man suffering?
  10. Was there a large distance between Lazarus and the rich man?
  11. Was either able to leave where they were?
  12. Why did the rich man ask Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers what awaited them after death if they lived like he had?
  13. What did Abraham say in response?
  14. Were Moses and the prophets sent so that people would turn from their living the wrong way and turn to serving God?
  15. What was Jesus trying to teach us about life after death? (That life continues after death. And, that the way we live now – the way we treat other people – has much to do with what happens after we die.)
  16.  Is the destiny of each person decided upon the choices that each person makes on earth before dying?
  17. Knowing human nature, do you think the rich man probably justified his lack of attention to the needs of Lazarus and likely thought that he was an “OK” person?
  18. Was the rich man given a second chance after he died?
  19. The rich man was concerned for his brothers. He thought that only if they had more evidence, like a person coming back from the dead, they would believe and repent. Was the rich man right?
  20. What did the rich man’s brothers already have that, according to Abraham (and Jesus), was enough to leave them without an excuse for the way they lived their lives?
  21. Monetarily, would you consider yourself rich or poor?
  22. Do you know of others who have less than you do?
  23. Does hearing this story incline you to reassess the way you live?
  24. Why?
  25. Was that why Jesus told this story – to get his listeners to reassess their own lives?
  26. Most people today think that fear is a poor motivator. Did Jesus tell this story to illicit some fear? (“Most people” are often wrong!)
  27. Knowing that Jesus told this story to stir up some fear, would you say that fear is a good motivator, at least initially, to get people to make needed changes?
  28. How long is this life compared to eternity?