Monday, September 27, 2010

God knew his name Luke 16:19-31

Today we listen to Jesus and join him considering the lives of two men who lived and died in very close proximity to one another. One of the two men is very poor. This man with no home has a name, Lazarus. The other man has no name but is described as rich.

Jesus is telling this story in no small part to emphasize the great difference between human society and the world as God would have it be. In our world having a name matters and we know all the big names. Just this past week there was a list of the billionaires in our nation published. We celebrate celebrities. There are whole tv channels and websites dedicated to gossip about the celebrated. But in this story Jesus invites us to consider the life of a man who celebrated while a man who lived just outside his door suffered.

Luke writes,

[he] longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.g The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. Luke 16:21-23
Lazarus the man with a name had no permanent address that he could call his own. He laid in front of of the unnamed man's gate. Lazarus had sores on his body that the dogs would like when the came near. The thing is Jesus tells us the story in the reverse of the way that our culture tells such stories.Lazarus watched the unnamed man live sumptuously just beyond inside the gate of his home. Human culture celebrates wealth. We have no trouble naming the billionaires. But God knows every name of every person.

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