"There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption.
A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep.
All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.
"Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap.
He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.'
"But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented.
Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.'
"The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father
where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.'
"Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.'
"'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.'
"Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)