Luke Text Analysis
In the passage Luke 16:19-31 Jesus is teaching about material possessions and the unimportance of wealth as well as that the only wealth is in loving God and living by his word as the only worthy wealth and comfort is being received into the love of Gods realm after death and that in life it is Christian duty to help the poor. He is teaching that material poverty is spiritual wealth in heaven.
In the parable Jesus paints a portrait of a very rich man who does not share his worldly goods and contrasts his wealth with a very poor man Lazarus who is a beggar; he is hungry and sick so sick he cannot even stop the dogs from licking his sores. When Lazarus dies Jesus pictures him being carried by angels to Abrahams “side” in NIV and Abrahams “bosom” in KJV in the New Jerusalem Bible he is described as being in Abrahams “embrace” thus putting Lazarus in a place of honor in the Kingdom of heaven whilst the rich man in death is painted as being in”Hades” in the NIV and “hell” in the KJV of the bible. The previous passage is also concerning a parable of wealth and of the need to help the poor and is a parallel story to the Rich man and Lazarus.
The opening of the passage describes the rich man, who in the NJB feasted “magnificently every day” and in the NIV “lived in luxury every day”. The images foretell it to be a parable of wealth and within the bible Jesus talks about money more that heaven and hell combined and in the Gospel of Luke one out of every seven verses discusses money. Throughout the Gospel of Luke the subject of greed is repeated many times, he pronounced misery upon the rich, as they were receiving their comforts on earth in full and in contrast he said that the poor were blessed “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:24 NIV.
John’s gospel speaks of the want of God for the rich to share their wealth with the poor and the consequences of not doing so and in the Book of Proverbs condemnation for not giving to the poor is also evident.
The Central message in this passage is the need for compassion in this life for those worse off than ourselves though there is also a second message in that the rich man and his family didn’t listen to Gods teachings for this life so repented for their sins in the next and suffered whilst watching those in heaven living in comfort of the safety of Abraham.