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28. THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS (Luke 16:19-31)

BACKGROUND: Abraham was both a patriarch for the Jews and the father of faith for Christians. He was a very rich man. The name "Lazarus" means "the man whom God helps" or simply "God helps". It is the only time Jesus ever gave a name to a character in his parables. "Moses and the Prophets" is the abbreviation for "the Old Testament", the Bible of Jesus' time.
  1. What were the good things the rich man could enjoy during his lifetime? Think of as many as possible.
    • Can you think of any good thing in the life of Lazarus while he was on this earth?
  2. Why didn't the rich man help poor Lazarus even though he saw him every time he went out?
    • If somebody treated your child as the rich man treated Lazarus, what do you think would be the proper punishment?
    • Who is the Lazarus you should help today? (Remember that some people are hungry for other things than food.)
  3. Why would anyone give a name like "God helps" to his child? Think of various reasons?
    • What might be the reason why Jesus wanted to give this name to the poor man in his parable?
    • Did God help Lazarus?
  4. It is highly probable that Lazarus prayed God to give him health and daily bread. How could he go on believing in God who didn't answer his prayers the way he wanted to?
    • If Lazarus hadn't believed in God, how would his life have been different?
  5. When Lazarus died, he was probably thrown to the grave of the poor without any funeral. "The rich man was buried", says the text (verse 22). What kinds of speeches were probably held at his funeral?
  6. Why was the rich man thrown into hell?
    • Why was Lazarus allowed into heaven?
  7. The rich man and Abraham discuss in verses 27-31 how people come to know God and are saved. What did the rich man think about this?
    • According to Abraham, why doesn't a miracle bring about faith?
  8. Why doesn't anyone get saved without the Bible (verses 29-31)?
  9. In what respects is the life and death of Lazarus similar to that of Jesus? (Consider of their suffering, their faith etc.)
    • What did Jesus predict about his own resurrection (verse 31)?
  10. What does Jesus teach about "prosperity gospel" through this parable? (If you don't know the term, you can skip the question.)

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