The Gospel is the biblical account of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This most commonly refers to the the first 4 books of the New Testament: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. These books pretty much sum up Jesus Christ’s message for humanity and presents the scriptural basis for the religion of Christianity.
The word of God, in the form of the teachings of the Bible, has been around for thousands of years. Many non-believers use this fact to justify their position that the Bible is an ancient text that no longer is applicable to modern times. Most Christian believers however can attest that the Bible is a living document which provides spiritual wisdom to those who seek it with an earnest heart.
This difference of opinion, as well as the folly of the former, is exemplified by the following scripture:
Luke 16:19-31New King James Version (NKJV)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[a] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
This scripture tells many very important messages.
The first being that the rich man had a good life. He was well dressed, had a nice home and ate well. However, right at the gate of his home lived a poor , sick beggar. The rich man had to have passed by this poor wretch every time he walked into or out of his property and yet there is no mention of any compassion being shown to the beggar by the rich man. In fact, the story goes on to say that the beggar was living off the crumbs of the rich man’s household and that the beggar was comforted by dogs.
When both these men died, their roles were reversed. The rich man was in the torment of Hades and the beggar was in Heaven being comforted by the Patriarch Abraham. At this point, it would seem that the story is an example of the biblical adage: ” you reap what you sow”, in other words, the rich man mistreated his fellow man and as such was in hell, and the humble beggar was paid for the miseries that he suffered in his life by being rewarded with heaven.
However, there are many deeper messages as the chapter continues. The rich man wanted the beggar to be sent to him so that he may give him a drop of water to drink and Abraham told him that he had it good when he was alive and Lazarus, the beggar, had it rough and so now he had to deal with it. More importantly Abraham stressed that once you were where you ended up after death, it was forever and you could not go from one side to the other. How you live your life will determine your eternity.
Next the rich man wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them to change their ways so that they would not end up like him. Abraham’s answer was that they already have sufficient information to make the right choice ( Moses and the prophets), basically the word of God.
Finally, the rich man said that they would believe it more if they saw someone resurrected, to which Abraham replied that if they aren’t convinced by the word of God, neither will they be convinced by a resurrected being.
This final message is a reminder for us today that we have the word of God ( the Bible), we have televangelists, we have bible radio shows, we have all the information about Christ available at our fingertips via the internet, thousands of Christian churches, missionaries and street preachers and we have the resurrected Christ Jesus! Yet with all this, there are still many people who are not convinced that God is real, Christ is His son, The Holy Spirit is our helper to lead us and guide us into all truth, that Jesus died on the cross to pay the final blood price for all our sins, that He was resurrected on the third day and finally, that he will come again in glory to collect those who believed and accepted His gift of salvation and to judge the living and the dead.
Please don’t make the same mistake as that rich man. He messed up so bad that his name is not even recorded in the bible. The poor beggar Lazarus however is mentioned by name and won eternal life by believing the word of God. You can too.