Lazarus and the Rich Man – part two

The poor man (Lazarus) died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.”

Did you notice that the rich man has no name? It was common in Parables of Jesus that none of the characters were given names. Since Jesus gave no name in any of the other  parables, it is important to note that the beggar is given the name Lazarus, which means, “God has helped.” 

An exchange takes place where the rich man, does not asks but commands Abraham to send Lazarus to ease his pain in Hades.

His self-importance and selfishness, it seems, extends even into hell itself. Doesn’t it?

This … formerly … rich man hasn’t lost any of his arrogance even in hell. He believes that the worthless Lazarus should be sent to hell to serve his needs.

In this parable Abraham responds by calling the rich man “child” or in some translations “son”, recognizing that this man is also a descendant of his. However, Abraham tells the rich man that Lazarus cannot do as he demands. The is no passage between heaven and hell. As Abraham explains, “Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed.”

Their fortunes have certainly changed, haven’t they?.  

In their earthly lives, the rich man consumed all the best things of the earth while Lazarus was afflicted with unbearable pain, suffering, and humiliation.

However now see how Lazarus is healed and comforted by Father Abraham himself, while the rich man is suffering in a place of eternal torment.

It is amazing how God’s justice and mercy … work hand in hand. Right?

Prayer
Jesus, our savior, by your sacrifice we have all become Lazarus (which means, “God has helped.”) By your  resurrection you conquered death and made the way for our resurrection. For it is  written, “For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) Lord, before that day arrives, cause us to see “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” through your loving eyes. Amen.

All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
Originally published September 16, 2019

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