Summary: If Jesus is NOT the way, the Truth and the Life we are worse off then those who are enjoying the "good life."
After winning the Masters for his second consecutive year in 2002. A reporter asked Tiger Woods, “What would you say to Bobby Jones if you saw him right now?” (Bobby Jones helped to design the Augusta National Golf Club and passed away in 1971).
Woods responded with something like this, “I would like to know how he came back from the dead?” (1)
In light of the season, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about the resurrection today.
Many people today in light of the events of September 11th, the war on terrorism and now war with Iraq are interested in spiritual matters. Some want to know what happens at their death? Many people I meet are searching for meaning in their lives and yet amazingly enough most people live their lives as if there is no tomorrow their motto is you only go around once in life so grab all the gusto you can get. And yet because of that lifestyle the majority of Americans fear death second only to public speaking that is why many speakers at funerals would rather be the one in the casket instead of the one giving the eulogy.
The Bible tells a story of a rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-31).
The rich man had the big fancy house, servants and gourmet food. Can’t you see him throwing a big party and the caterers entering through the security guard shack of the gated community where he lived?
At that gate laid a beggar whose name was Lazarus. Lazarus watched everyday as the trucks carrying the finest gourmet foods for the rich and famous traveled by, it wasn’t Papa Johns, Dominoes, KFC or Taco Bell for this rich man- No sir- it was caviar and champagne.
Lazarus was covered with sores, I mean the oozing purulent type and the only relief he got was when the stray dogs came by and licked his infected body. All Lazarus hoped for was that a few scraps of food would fall from the rich man’s trashcans close enough to him that he could reach them before the dogs got there.
The beggar died and the angels came and they carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side. “Oh Father Abraham (who was also a rich man) how good it is to be by your side.” “No more hunger, no more pain from joints that don’t work and no infections. Now I walk and now I stand right by your side full and content.”
The story goes on to say that the rich man also died and was buried but his destiny wasn’t heaven- and yes this rich man went to Hell- not because he was rich- but also because in his plenty he was poor. Pitifully poor!
Do you know that HELL is a real place- a place that was originally created not for us but for the Devil and his demons? Because if you believe that Hell is real and people who die without Christ go there you are in the minority according to George Barna. Only 31% of adults in the year 2000 believed that Hell was a real place.
Somehow the rich man looks up and he is able to see Father Abraham and the beggar. The beggar really looks good. He has put on a little weight and there are no open sores on his face. He is no longer lying on a tattered, feces covered mat and he sees Lazarus standing tall and strong.
So what does he have to lose- He calls out, “Hey Father Abraham have some pity here and send Lazarus with some cold water on his finger tip, because well it is HOT here and I am in agony and there doesn’t appear to be any change in the forecast for the next 100 million years or so.”
In love and I am sure with some sadness Abraham answers, “Son, don’t you remember in your life you received all those deliveries through your mansion gates, the parties, the finest cuts of meat and the caviar, while Lazarus depended on people to carry him to the grass by your guard shack every day- hoping he could get a scrap from your table?” Don’t you remember the night the Swedish bikini team dropped in and you raised your glass and toasted the good life while Lazarus received only bad things.”
“But my son that was then and it lasted for a season, a very short season and Lazarus as you can see stands at my side, he shares in my Father’s inheritance and he is comforted while you live now in pain and agony.”
“Son, I am sorry but you are reaping the consequences of your actions, and besides that the separation between heaven and hell has been fixed and even in light of my love for you and the love that the Father continues to have for you we are unable to cross over and come to you and neither can you or anybody down there ever come to where we are.” “Son, I am sorry, but that is Hell!”