Lazarus – Luke and John
A- The Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 is only a character in a parable that is not a real story. Many facts make it clear that this is only a parable. A few are as follows:
1-Abraham’s bosom is not heaven (Hebrews 11:8-10, 16).
2-People in hell can’t talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65:17).
3- The dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death. It is very obvious that the body remains in the grave, as the Bible says.
4-Men are rewarded at Christ’s second coming, not at death (Revelation 22:11, 12).
5-The lost are punished in hell at the end of the world, not when they die (Matthew 13:40-42).
Parables cannot be taken literally. If we took parables literally, then we must believe that trees talk! (See this parable in Judges 9:8-15).
This parable was used to emphasize a point which is found in verse 31 of Luke 16, “‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’
B- The Lazarus in John 11:43-44 refers to the brother of Martha and Mary. Jesus visited the sisters, Mary and Martha, and resurrected their dead brother, Lazarus. Jesus wanted to help the Jews to believe in Him and show all that He has power over the grave. Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
The real purpose of the parable in Luke was to show how important sharing the gospel is. The Jewish nation had the Word of God, yet kept it amongst themselves while the world was lost around them, dying for the crumbs. The rich man, that resembled the Jewish nation, was wrong in thinking that salvation is based on Abrahamic descent rather than upon a godly character (Ezekiel 18).
And to prove His point, a few weeks after narrating this parable, Jesus raised from the dead a real man named Lazarus, as if in response to the challenge of the Jewish leaders for greater evidence of His divinity than they had before. But instead of accepting Jesus as the Messiah, the leaders of the nation worked harder against Jesus and planned to kill Him (John 11:47–54).
Thus, the Jews gave a literal demonstration of the truth that Jesus gave earlier, “‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” Those who reject the Old Testament would reject “greater” light, even the testimony of one who “rose from the dead.”
In His service,