Notes on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

I recently presented a lesson summarizing the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-30). Here is my outline from that lesson:

For a more through discussion of this parable click here.

The Setting: Conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees Luke 15, 16:

• Jesus received “sinners” (Luke 15:1)
• The Pharisees were “grumbling” (Luke 15:2)
• Jesus told the Lost Parables (Luke 15:3-32)
• Continuing, Jesus told the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-9)
• Jesus then taught on the use of riches (Luke 16:10-13)
• The Pharisees “ridiculed Him” (Luke 16:14)
• Jesus taught on appearances (Luke 16:15-18)
• To illustrate His points Jesus told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

The Teaching (16:14-18):

• The Pharisees Loved Money (v. 14; Matthew 15:1-9; Luke 20:46-47; 1 Timothy 6:10)
• The Pharisees focused on appearances, but God saw their hearts (v. 15; Matthew 6:1-21).
• The Law still stood, even though the Pharisees had perverted it (vv. 16-17). Case in point, marriage and divorce (v. 18; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:1-12) Jesus illustrated this truth by telling the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

The Points of the Parable:

• Appearances are no guarantee of one’s standing with God.
• The only thing that matters is a right response to God’s word.

Structure of the Parable:

• 2 Sets of Contrast between Rich Man and Lazarus
• 3 conversations between Rich Man and Abraham

The Contrast of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Life:

The Rich Man

Poor Lazarus

Rich and Healthy

Poor and Sick

Clothed in Purple and Fine Linen

Covered with Sores

Feasted Every Day

Always Hungry

Large Estate


On the Inside

On the Outside

Comforted by the Tongues of Dogs

Because of His Riches, He Appeared to be a Godly Man (cf. Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Mark 10:23-31)

Because of his sickness, he appeared to be cursed by God for sin (cf. Deuteronomy 28:15-68; John 9:2). Additionally, it seem God had abandoned the one whose name meant helped by God. The naming of a character and its meaning, in this case Lazarus, is an important component of the story line.

The Contrast of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Death:

The Rich Man

Poor Lazarus

Died and Buried

Carried by the Angels


Inside, Feasting with Abraham (Matthew 8:11-12). To be in one’s “bossom” is feasting terminology (cf. John 13:25; 21:20)

Tormented, In Anguish


Desired to be Comforted Through His Tongue

Did Not Use His Wealth to Make Friends in Heaven (Luke 16:9). Nor did he keep the Law which clearly stated he was to help the poor.

Trusted in God as his helper.

.Three Conversations Between the Rich Man and Abraham:

• Note, His Physical Relationship To Abraham Didn’t Save Him (John 8:31-47)

Conversation #1:

• Rich Man: Send Lazarus to help me (v. 24)
• Abraham: Even if he wanted to he can’t eternal life fixed. (v. 25-26)

Conversation #2:

• Rich Man: Send Lazarus to warn my brothers (v. 27-28)
• Abraham: They have Moses and Prophets let them hear them (v. 29)

Conversation #3:

• Rich Man: Only a resurrected man will convince them (v. 30)
• Abraham: If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they won’t listen to a resurrected man either (v. 31)

Two Take Away’s:

• Use your wealth to make friends in heaven, so that when this life is over they will receive you into eternal glory.
• What is highly valued among men is an abomination before the Lord. The world values wealth lavishly spent on self, but God abhors it.

2 thoughts on “Notes on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

  1. Clay — Excellent analysis. I particularly like how you have tied it to the context of Lk 16. The parable very much emphasizes the consequences of poor stewardship.

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