Lazarus waiting at the door, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source
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Rich Man and Lazarus
Luke 16:19-31 Commentary
by Audrey West
In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus Jesus confronts his listeners with a message that is difficult to hear for those who have more than they need.
This is the third Lukan parable involving “a certain rich man” (see also Luke 12:16-21; 16:1-9) whose relationship to wealth gets him into trouble. Among those listening are the Pharisees, who are “lovers of money” (Luke 16:14).
Opposites in story
We learn more than usual about the two main characters in this parable. One is rich, the other poor. One is named, one is not. One feasts while covered in fine linen, the other starves while covered in sores.
The Rich Man has so much and Lazarus has so little.
The Rich Man’s purple garments signify affluence, an outward and visible sign of his wealth and privilege.
Just as visible is the plight of Lazarus. The Greek word for sores (elkos) is the same as the boils in the sixth plague against Pharaoh (Exodus 9: 8-11). One wonders about the contrast between the fine, purple clothing of the Rich Man and the oozing, purple sores covering Lazarus' body.
The Rich Man’s pantry overflows with enough for a daily ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL263: Rich Man and Lazarus
March 26, 2017
This podcast on Luke 16:19-31 the Narrative Lectionary reading for Mar. 26, 2017, features Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Matt Skinner. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.