Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Luke 16:19-31

v. 19-31 Jesus tells the story about the rich man and the beggar "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table.  The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.  The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'  But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'  He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers.  Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'  Abraham replied 'They have Moses and the Prophets, let them listen to them.'  He said 'No, father Abraham, if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'  Abraham said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

"The Pharisees considered wealth to be a proof of a person's righteousness.  The rich man did not go to hell because he was wealthy but because he was selfish, refusing to feed Lazarus, take him in, or care for him.  The amount of money we have is not as important as the way we use it."        NIV notes

This rich man was thinking only of himself when he refused to help out the beggar.  Then when the men died they seemed to switch places compared to how they lived on earth.  There are those who never knew who God was before they died and I believe that they will have the opportunity to change.  Although that is no excuse to mistreat people while they are living.  It is so important to get right with God now instead of waiting for another day.  This Lazarus was not the same one that Jesus brought back from the dead.  I think that the fact that the rich man knew Lazarus' name was very interesting.  Even a stranger deserves better, yet how much worse is it when we know there name and do nothing.  How many will help out someone they don't know but will not lift a finger to help out family or friends?

There is no ability to change sides after all is said and done.  There is a chasm between the two places and no one can get to the other side even if they were desperate and full of regret.  A chasm is: a yawning fissure or deep cleft in the earth's surface, a gorge, a marked interruption of continuity, a gap.  This rich man wanted Lazarus to be sent to his brothers to warn them against the path they were on.  Abraham told him no, if they did not listen to the prophets that spoke on taking care of the poor then they would not listen to someone coming back from the dead. A bit of irony since Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to die and when he was raised from the dead the religious leaders still would not accept Him. 

We have churches on almost every corner in America and there are still many who choose to not hear and will be like the rich man begging for relief if they do not change their ways.  That says volumes that even if someone came back from the dead the man's brothers would still not believe.  There are many that have near death experiences and are forever changed because of it.  We go about our business and just say that the brain shows them what they have seen.  Yet, until something of the spirit realm happens to you it will be easy to deny that it would ever happen to others.  The ones who come back do so for a reason to give us hope and warning.

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