by J. Gerald Harris

When the Agony and the Ecstasy is Reversed
Gerald Harris
Luke 16: 19-31

As I am sure you know "The Agony and the Ecstasy" is a biographical novel about the life of Michelangelo written by Irving Stone. The story is all about the troubles Michelangelo encountered while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II.
In our text we see something of the agony of Lazarus, a beggar and a crippled man whose body was covered with sores. But we also get a view of the ecstasy of this rich man, sometimes called Dives, who lived in a palatial home, wore designer clothes, ate caviar and drank his Perrier from a golden goblet.
Let's look at this story in Luke 16: 19-31. (Read) Some people call this a parable of Jesus, but I agree with many scholars who believe Jesus is describing an actual occurrence. In the 38 parables Jesus told, he never called anyone by name. In this story, He identifies two of the characters by name, Lazarus and Abraham.
I believe there really was a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus and after they died Jesus reported what happened. It was real. You've heard of reality TV - this is even better. It's reality Bible. First of all, let's notice:

I. Two Men

The first man we will consider is Dives. There are three things I want us to notice about Dives in our text. First, notice his finances. He is described as "a certain rich man".
I read recently that Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, has had his person net worth soar to over 46 billion dollars. He made that money in the 30 years since Microsoft was founded in 1975. If you presume that he has worked 10 hours a day on every business day of the year since then, that means he's been making money at a staggering $580,000 per hour or around $160 a second.
If he were on his way to the office and should he drop a $500 bill on the ground, we are assuming it would take him about 4 seconds to bend down and pocket the money, so it's not worth his time to bend over an ...

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