Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In Luke 16, Jesus told about a rich man who lived in fashionable luxury and ate sumptuous food. Camped outside his front gate, with dogs licking his sores, lived the homeless beggar, Lazarus.
When Lazarus died, the angels carried him to paradise and he became friends with Abraham. When the rich man died, he ended up in hell, tormented with fire. Looking across the gulf to paradise, he shouted to Abraham, “I’m in agony in this fire! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue.”
Now that’s a typical rich man, giving suggestions to another rich man on how to deploy the servants.
But Abraham replied, “It doesn’t work that way any more. You had comforts in life, but now they’re gone. Lazarus had trouble in life, but now he lives comfortably. Besides, there’s no road from heaven to hell, so I can’t send him over.”
This didn’t stop the rich man. He had another brilliant idea to keep the servants busy. “Why don’t you send Lazarus to my brothers on earth to warn them about the fire here, so they won’t have to join me.”
Abraham said, “They have the Bible. They can read it.”
“But they don’t listen to the Bible,” said the rich man. “They need a real shocker, like someone coming back from the dead. Then they’ll listen!”
“Not likely,” said Abraham. “If they ignore the Bible, they’ll ignore someone from the dead too.”
This story leaves more questions than answers.
- What did the rich man do to deserve hell? If he left his dead body on earth, why were fire and a drink of water a problem to him?
- How did the beggar earn his place with Abraham?
- Like the rich man, I’m in the top 10% of the world’s wealthy. Does that give me an uncomfortably hot prospect for life after death?
- What does Jesus’ story mean for me, if I’m neither a rich man living in luxury nor a poor beggar with dogs licking my sores?
Our father, the accounts don’t add up in this story. What did the rich man do to deserve hell? How did Lazarus become Abraham’s friend?
Still, we feel the weight of your story, Jesus. That our store of wealth and status and privilege will soon vanish, that our rich and narcissistic lives will be burned away. That the lonely and troubled will be comforted.
Jesus, you say that not even someone raised from the dead will convince the comfortably rich to believe. You came back from the dead, Jesus, and how many people listen to you? But we accept your message of resurrection. We believe your plan for the future. We believe that you give our lives meaning, both now and after death. And we believe that you will settle whatever accounts need settling.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.