Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lazarus – and the Rich Man


Do you remember the story?  A painter tells it in three panels. The first panel covers:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (Luke 16:19-21 KJV)

Then we move to the second panel:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; (Luke 16:22 KJV)

But the third covers a great deal more information – a conversation:

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And 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. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:23-25 KJV)

If we buffet-pick from scripture, we could just read these verses and determine if we have riches in this life, we will not in the next; and reverse, if we have bad in this life, we will have good in the next. However, that’s not the end of the story. Through the gulf between them, the rich man begs:

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:27-31 KJV)

“Though one rose from the dead.” We can certainly believe this part, can’t we.  We each know loved ones who have not responded to any of the scriptures – except to brow-beat Christians who fail to do what they deem scriptures require. We all fail to meet the perfection that is our example in Jesus, and we are all grateful that our salvation depends on Him, not our actions.

I do know of many who believed in His resurrection – they saw Him. The disciples. Crowds of people. Most emphatically, Saul. They wrote what they had seen and told others who told others for millennia and now it’s down to us. We each have the choice to read the scriptures, be persuaded by the prophets and listen to the one who rose from the dead. Or, not.