The story of the rich man and Lazarus shows how quickly the status a person has in life can be totally reversed at death. It reveals the tendency of wealth to delude a person into thinking that they have nothing to fear even when they have no regard for God and his law.
Jesus makes it clear that not even the appearance of someone alive from the dead is enough to create faith in the heart of those who have rejected the clear witness of God's word through Moses and the prophets. Like the Pharisees whom Jesus was addressing, the rich man felt no urgent need while he was alive to repent and receive God's mercy, nor did he feel any need to show mercy to others. To him who showed no mercy, no mercy would be given. This was and is a strong warning to those who refuse the great mercy of God that has come in His Son.
John DUNKLEY BTh, Dip.Min. and Dip. Pastoral Studies. He is an ordained Baptist minister and has pastored a number of Baptist churches. He has also ministered at Westcare Baptist Mission - an inner city ministry and served as a voluntary Police Chaplain.