Summary: A look at the Rich Man, Abraham and Lazarus

Concordia Lutheran Church

& Redeemer Lutheran Church

Pentecost 18, September 26, 2010

What More could be Said

Luke 16, 19-31


May you deeply know the mercy, the love, and the peace and the promise of a peaceful eternity that is ours, for that is grace, the gift of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Three Questions

His story is perhaps overlooked, his voice is never heard. But of the three men in the parable today, he is the one we need to understand, he is the one that should represent us. (pause)

Most of us will never have the reputation of Abraham, the true father not only of the Jewish nation, but of the Arab and Palestinian people as well. More importantly, according to Romans, he is the father of those who share a trust based relationship with God. He was recognized over and over in scripture as the example of what it means to walk with God, trusting in God to provide.

I pray none of us, and no one we know end up like the rich man.

But it is Lazarus I hope that represents us, at least pictures us spiritually. I think we need to see this story through his eyes, for that view is our view, (pause) That view is one that will help us grasp not only how incredible our salvation is, but how valuable the scriptures, especially the Old Testament scriptures are, in revealing to us the one who did tell this story, and who did rise from the dead.

1. Why am I here… stunned..

Imagine yourself as Lazarus. Dropped off in the early morning at the gate of the rich man, a place you often begged and pleaded for food. Your body, if you can call it that, aching and in pain, with sores oozing pus, since there are days that you are lucky to eat, never mind find medical care. You wonder if today on of the rich man’s staff will have mercy on you, and toss you that which fell to the ground and wasn’t noticed, until they cleaned it up. You remember the incredible day when the staff – full themselves, snuck you out some leftovers. There are days you wonder about what it would be like to be one of the rich man’s servants, to walk through that luxury, to occasionally see the rich clothes he wore, to maybe even touch them. Such thoughts might even turn to coveting, perhaps the only sin left you. But most days you take as they come, rejoicing in the little things, things that would be overlooked by the rest of the world. You hear the rabbis who come to teach the rich man about God, and you pray the prayers they teach the man, hoping that God might even listen. You overcome the distraction of the pain, to hear others talk of a God who would make a people His, who would love and care for them, and cleanse and heal them. Such stories are so wonderful, so filling with hope. Hope even for you.

Then the incredible day, the day the life that was suffered through ends. The transition comes quickly, barely noticeable, and rather than the poor friends who offer you a home coming to carry you to rest, it is a small band of angels, still reflecting the glory of God, who have come for you, to carry you to… to see Abraham, the great father of the faithful. The one who walked with God. It reminds you of the one time that you heard that young Nazarene rabbi talk of the last being the first, and you realize the truth of the matter, as Abraham hugs you, and dressed you in fine robes, and welcomes you to this place, a place where you really find out how magnificent, how incredible it is, that truth that God is YOUR GOD, and you are HIS SON….

And you wonder, why me??? (long pause)

What could I have done, to deserve such a turn of fate?

2. Why is he there?

As you rest – Abraham points across the gorge.. to a place hideous to look at, and you see a man in great agony, in such pain. It pains you to see him, to see the tortured figure, who you pity… and as your eyes focus… you realize it is the rich man…

And you wonder…why him? (pause)

How could he, the one so blessed, deserve such a fate? How could anyone…deserve … that? (pause)

You cannot help but listen to the man’s pleas to Abraham, you cannot but wince at the pain, so evident even in his voice as he begs to lick some residue moisture off your finger tip. Wait – he knew you name…how??? Your mind spins questions faster than you can think… why me here? Why him…there in that place? It makes my former life even look pleasurable…? Why was I escorted by angels, and he was simply tossed into a grave, much as I was tossed onto the sidewalk? Shouldn’t he be here…and I there?

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