The parable of the rich man and a poor beggar named Lazarus (not the one Jesus raised from the dead) is entertaining to read and consider, but includes a very serious lesson in the last verse.
The rich man lived in luxury ever day of his life on earth. Dressed in fine linen, he had appeared to have everything one could every want. In contrast, Lazarus sits at the rich man’s gate and begs for food, even the crumbs that would fall from the man’s table. In time they both die. The rich man goes to Hades and the beggar stands beside Abraham in heaven and there is a conversation between the two. It’s obvious that the beggar is now completely healed and happy while the rich man is tormented daily.
The beggar’s trials were temporary and his reward eternal. The rich man’s reward was temporary as well and his eternal suffering overshadows the few days of wealth on earth. Great perspective as we go through our daily struggles.
The conversation between the two in eternity has been the subject of many books and movies. The rich man in Hades begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his family to warn them lest they end up in Hades with him. The classic “angel returns to earth to undo wrongs” kinda story. It’s fun and light until Jesus ends the story and probably leaves people scratching their heads:
If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
Jesus provides some insight into his resurrection and rejection by those who will simply refuse to believe. As we read through Christian apologetics and learn more of the factual evidence that supports Christianity we always come back to this point: we must have faith. No amount of tangible evidence will convince the close-minded–even if they see someone come back from the dead. The good news is that many will be changed, many will come to Christ, so our job is not done.