A Contrary View of Blessing

In Luke 6:20-26 Jesus gave a teaching characterizing the lives of His disciples, whom He proclaimed to be those who are truly blessed by God. He spoke of the troubles they would endure, and He contrasted their lives with others who experienced many good things in life. In this passage we see that God’s view of blessing is one that is very much contrary to the views and understanding of men. In Luke 16 Jesus gave us another very similar teaching. In this passage we read:


“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried

away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you


will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’” (Luke 16:19-26)


How contrary this scenario is to the world’s thinking and understanding. Most people would have considered the rich man to be blessed by God because of the many advantages he enjoyed in life, while they considered Lazarus to be under some sort of curse because of the afflictions and poverty he endured.


The Scripture says that Lazarus was laid at the rich man’s gate, and so it is apparent he was not even able to walk, or to otherwise get around on his own. He was dependent upon others to take him wherever he needed to go. Since he was laid at the rich man’s gate to beg, “longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table”, it is again apparent that the extent of his infirmities was so severe that he was not able to work at anything by which he could have earned money to provide for himself.

Added to these infirmities he was also “covered with sores”, which the dogs came and licked. One could imagine that he seemed repulsive to all who saw him.


The rich man by contrast lived a life filled with “good things” in that he lived in luxury every day, having received many benefits in life. By the world’s way of thinking, many would consider the “good things” enjoyed by the rich man to be evidence of God’s acceptance of him and His approval of the life he lived, but such was not the case.


When the rich man saw Lazarus laid there by his gate, he may have wondered what this poor beggar had done to deserve such a miserable fate. At the same time, he may have imagined that God must be pleased with him because of the many material blessings he enjoyed. In the final analysis however, it was the poor, miserable, and afflicted beggar Lazarus who was accepted by God, and it was the rich man, whom most would have considered to be blessed by God, who was ultimately rejected by Him.

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