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Luke 16:25 (NASB)

But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.

Is the reason Lazarus is “comforted” because he experienced bad things in life? Or does his being with Abraham have nothing to do with his poverty on earth? This verse makes it sound like Lazarus “deserved” heaven/paradise due to his earthly suffering, while the rich man is in hades because he received good things on earth.

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  • Jesus does not reveal the how.He only states the fact. – Nigel J Jan 28 at 20:37
  • If absence of earthly possessions and suffering would be enough for salvation, then Satan would be the first to be saved for he neither has earthly goods in possession and nor is deprived of the utmost of torment. – Levan Gigineishvili Jan 28 at 20:41
  • Remember that is is a parable - see the conclusion in the last three verses. – Dottard Jan 28 at 21:23
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Although it is tempting to interpret the words of Abraham as supporting the theory of divine compensation, the purpose of Abraham’s statement was simply to explain why Lazarus could not help the rich man:

  • He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. (Lk 16:24-25)

In Abraham’s explanation, he makes a point about the time, distinguishing the period that comprised the rich man’s lifetime from the “now,” the period after his death, as if to say that the time when one man could help the other had passed, and that it was “now” too late. The theme of time running out also appears in the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were late to the wedding banquet. In that story, the shutting of the door acts as a vivid representation of this division in time:

  • And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. (Mt 5:10)

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus almost immediately follows the parable of the dishonest servant in Luke (16:1-13). Both stories deal with the concept of wealth and seem to complement each another. In the parable of the dishonest servant, the distinction is made between “dishonest wealth” and “true riches.” In this parable, the rich man availed himself of many luxuries during his lifetime but failed to understand what constitutes true riches, and he failed to see that, poor and destitute though he was, Lazarus held the key to true treasure:

  • “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mt 6:29-20)
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  • Helpful answer - thank you @nhi!! – Gremosa Feb 12 at 21:40
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Why did Lazarus get to be with Abraham?

Jesus doesn't explain that explicitly in the parable. The story illustrates a common theme: Fortune reversal. The afterlife is the great equalizer. The gap that separates Lazarus from the rich man in this life becomes the chasm that separates them in the afterlife. The rich man knew Lazarus. He knows his name. Lazarus was a neighbor in need.

The parable is a warning to rich people.

Matthew 6:19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

As for Lazarus, he knew Moses and the prophets:

Luke 16:29

"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

They both knew Moses and the prophets. The rich man had opportunities to do good with his wealth and he didn't. Then the great equalizer followed: Fortune reversal.

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