I’ve been thinking a good bit about the problem of wealth in the teachings of Jesus. Among the passages that are obviously relevant is the famous parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. I talked about the story in my book Heaven and Hell (Simon and Schuster, 2020). The following is a revised version of what I say there.
The story appears in Luke 16:19-31 in the context of a number of parables and other sayings of Jesus. In the parable Jesus contrasts the life and afterlife of an anonymous rich man and a destitute beggar named Lazarus. The wealthy many is dressed in fine clothes and enjoys sumptuous meals every day. Lazarus lies outside his gate, starving, desperate even to get the scraps off the rich man’s table. The scene is pathetic: dogs come up and lick Lazarus’s wounds.
Both men die at about the same time. Lazarus is
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