Click here, Luke 16:19-31, for an easy to print or email Adobe PDF version.
The story of the nameless rich man and the named beggar, Lazarus, (Hebrew for, "Our God has helped") is placed by Luke between Verse 16:14:
You cannot serve both God and Money.
and Verse 17:1:
Occasions for stumbling are bound to come.
seemingly as an illustration of both truths.
As is typical with Jesus and ourselves, there are a number of assumptions and reversals in this story.
Begging on the streets and the extreme contrast between the rich and the poorest would be well known to Jesus' hearers. A reversal at the outset of the story is that the beggar is given a name and the rich man is not. That single fact ought to alert us that the story we are about to hear is going have surprises in it.
Notice that the story does not have a judgment scene in it. They both die, and the next scene is of the rich man in hell and the beggar with Abraham in paradise. Verse 25 states this situation is simply a balancing of what had gone before. But whereas BEFORE the rich man COULD have given Lazarus succor but did not; NOW Lazarus CANNOT aid the rich man. This revelation heightens the urgency of the need to act in this lifetime.