There is a certain rich man mentioned in the Bible said to be customarily clothed in purple and fine linen, and who fared sumptuously every day. Purple and fine linen spoke of wealth and comfort therefore it meant, this man was living the proverbial “good life”.
To many of us, the “good life” is a thing which pertains entirely to the physical, that is, good living means all your physical comforts are in place. More and more each day, new inventions are in place to increase convenience. When the conveniences are poked at, then there is a problem.
The travel upheaval during December took a toll on many, here in Uganda you can hear loud jeers when power goes when people are watching their favourite soap or program on t.v.
Good living is a pursuit. “You ain’t lived yet till you drive your own car. You ain’t lived yet till you own your piece of land. You ain’t lived yet till you got your own company.” We want to live easy and comfortable.
Now, this rich man we are talking about apparently has no name. Some attribute it to the fact that this is a parable and not a real character, others think it is a grace for all who would consider themselves in the same bracket.
Anyway, what about this rich man? This rich man is as I have said living the good life, however, at his gates is a beggar who seeks to survive by the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table. Dogs lick his wounds.
This beggar’s name is Lazarus- in His parables, Christ rarely gives people names, perhaps this was a real occurrence?
Later, the two die. The rich man ends up in hell with torment and Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. Abraham’s bosom is a term used by Jews for heaven since their “Father” is Abraham, they hope to be with him when they die, for it is known he was a man with God’s favour and grace upon him.
The rich man is suffering and begs that Abraham send Lazarus to cool him with some water, albeit it being a drop from the tip of his finger. Abraham’s response is that since the rich man had his good things in his lifetime and Lazarus his pain, it was now time for the first to be the last, the tormented to be the comforted and the comforted to be the tormented.
Moreover, he continues to say that even if that were possible (the temporary quenching of thirst), a great chasm existed between the two and no one could move to and fro.
The rich man is in so much despair that his focus changes to his family. He asks that Lazarus would go to his five brothers and testify to them lest they end up in the same place. What change of focus, what love he seemed to have now. He cared that his family would be saved if not him.
Abraham tells him that Lazarus need not go for they have the prophets and Moses. Interesting to note that there was no excuse for the brothers for they had the Word. God’s voice had gone out through Moses and the prophets and they should have paid attention.
The rich man insists and says that if one from the dead were to speak to them, they would repent. As though prophetically, Abraham affirms and says ” And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
And this is exactly what we have today. That though Christ died for our sins, though He lived a spotless life, though through faith in Him we can have the righteousness of God, many of us still doubt and refuse to believe. He was that Lazarus who even though he had gone back to the rich man’s brothers to testify, they would not have believed.
The good life maybe the world’s top priority now but the God life is what God would want us to have. Selflessness instead of selfishness, humility instead of pride, pro-action instead of turning a blind eye, love instead of hate, giving more than receiving.
1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Is there a Lazarus at your gate? In your house? At your school? In your work place? Do not go the path of the rich man even though you may have things like him. “…for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) Fear not, for I am listening to this sermon myself.
Hopefully we can listen to the Lazarus who died, and rose again; Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Story is from Luke 16:19-31)
Baseline: Mat 23:26 Blind Pharisee! First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of them may be clean also.