Open Bible:
June 2006 

la bible 

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus



The Bible





send email


The parable of the rich man and Lazarus
(Luke 16, 19-31)

le riche et Lazare A rich man lives in luxury. He has every thing. At his gate a tramp is hungry. He is sick and suffers a lot. No communication between these two men.
After their death, the situation is reversed: the rich man is in a place of torment when the poor man is in happiness. An abyss is separating them. No communication can be established between them.

This little story is not for helping us to imagine heaven. It is for telling us how it is urgent to convert here and now. It is today that we are risking of "shutting oneself up" without seeing those who are in need. If we install a distance between us and the poor, this distance will be kept after death. It is now the time to make a choice.
In the parable the rich man's name is not given. His only identification is his possessions. He needs nobody. When he was alive, he never entered into communication with the poor who came to his doorstep. He did not see or hear him. He lived in close circle.
This rich man is alone. He is not anymore moving. He is not anymore in need. But how can he be alive without exchange and contacts? He is already dead. Long before his death he dig by himself the gulf that separated him from the others. All his life he had been terribly distant from the patriarch Abraham, known for his hospitality.

On the contrary the poor had a name, it was Lazarus, which means "God helps". He was in need of a good health and of food, he spent his days begging and waiting. He turned towards the other men to be able to live. 


After their death, the rich man and Lazarus are separated by a gulf: the gulf of no communication. The distance existing during their life has become impassable.
From his place of suffering, the rich man who is experimenting the need, now thinks about his family and implores God: " If somebody coming from the dead could go and find them, they will convert".

besoin des autres But the one who speaks in this parable is Jesus, the only man to be definitely back from the dead. Through his spirit, he always gives us the choice. There is an emergency of not forgetting those who need help.