The poor man opens his eyes and sees paradise spread before him. Legendary heroes of faith like Abraham are there to welcome him and bring him into their warm embrace. The years of hardship and rejection on earth have been worth it—he is in heaven, enjoying the promise of God.
The rich man now opens his eyes to see a much different scene. He is deep within the heart of the earth, in a terrifying pit of torment and despair. Evil creatures lurk just out of eyesight, and his flesh is boiled by flame. His life of selfishness and disdain has caught up with him—he is in hell, paying the eternal price for his sins.
It's a horrifying story for those who live selfishly like the rich man, but a hopeful one for those like Lazarus, the poor beggar who found his reward in heaven. Is this what you believe when you read the story of Lazarus and the rich man in your Bible? And most importantly, is this what Jesus wants you to understand from this parable?