Some last thoughts on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus…
What should we hear in this parable? I can’t speak for you, I can only speak for what I hear. I read this parable, and it is not my call to come up with whatever particular theological system Jesus’ teaching fits in best. But – I hear this parable, and I know I’m the rich man. We live in a world where a billion people would love to have what I throw away. Those shoes, those clothes, I don’t want them anymore. Let’s take them to the dropbox in the Safeway parking lot. I can’t eat anymore. I’m full…That meat I cooked a week ago?? It’s rotten, been sitting in the fridge getting old, no one in my house wants it anymore. Throw it out. It’s no good to us anymore.
There are a billion people in the world who would love to have what John Lewis throws away. In this story, I am the rich man. To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus and to be in the process of becoming Christlike. Being a Christian is not a means of ignoring Lazarus and thinking everything is ok….
“”There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'””
Luke 16:19-31 ESV