Luke writes about a thought-provoking exchange between a wealthy man and a beggar named Lazarus. This encounter shows us how important it is to get to know the real you — the spirit inside your coat.
Camps of thought divided about whether or not this is a parable, but I believe Jesus is talking about a real incident, and I’m pretty convinced that the disciples not only thought this was a real incident but might have known both of the people in Luke 16:19-31.
Lazarus sat outside the rich man’s gates, covered in sores and hoping for scraps from the rich man’s table. Even worse, dogs would lick his sores.
The time came when both men died. Lazarus was taken by angels to the bosom of Abraham. In that time, Abraham’s bosom was used to describe an upper region of hell for the faithful and obedient. Jesus hadn’t yet arrived to take those people into heaven with Him. The rich man was sent to Hades, where he experienced continuous torment.
You are More than Your Coat
From afar, the rich man, who lived a selfish, greedy life centered only on his money and comfort, saw Lazarus. The rich man’s attitude in life caused him to ignore and disregard Lazarus, but in Hades, he finally sought him out.
The rich man called out to Abraham, asking him to send Lazarus with some water to cool his tongue and bring relief from the flames. In other words, he still put his comfort above other people. Abraham told him no that Lazarus was tormented in life and was now being comforted. The rich man, on the other hand, experienced his comfort in life.
More interestingly, though, the rich man recognized Lazarus. Neither of them had bodies. Abraham didn’t have a body, either. He recognized them because the soul and spirit are joined. The rich man’s soul could identify them because his spirit had enough power to not only remember Lazarus but to recognize Abraham, someone he’d never met or seen.
Change Requires More than a Different Coat
Even after Abraham told the rich man that Lazarus wouldn’t be bringing him water, the rich man asked Abraham, not Lazarus himself, to send Lazarus to his brothers, so that they might repent and avoid Hades.
Abraham told him, again, that Lazarus would not be doing that. The rich man’s brothers had Moses and the prophets — the Word of God. If the brothers weren’t changed by the Word, not even a spectacular, flesh-filled event could change their hearts and spark true repentance. That is true for us, too.
The written Word of God is the final authority. It’s all you need, even though people often think they need something spectacular to believe. If it does take something spectacular to make you believe, you’ll most likely be unstable and easily deceived.
That’s why it’s so important now to start dealing with our spirits. Our coats will be taken off — our bodies will be left behind — but our spirits will go on forever. Our personality has to change now because as we’ve seen with the rich man, even an extreme situation isn’t enough to cause a change.
The reality is, God is a spirit, and you are a spirit, and God desires to talk to you in your spirit. This conversation, between the Spirit of God and yours, is what bears witness to you, but you’ll never understand what is being said if your spirit doesn’t understand the Word of God.
Watch below to learn even more!