“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’Luke 16:22-26
It seems this Gem should be about poison with a number like 1080. Maybe it’s the poison of human attitudes that make us toxic to others.
I have already dealt with the Bosom of Abraham to a degree, with my comments related to the Pharisees teaching. I am sure that is the sense in which Jesus used it here, to challenge the Pharisees over the toxic things they taught. But there is another way in which it could be applied. Remember John resting on Jesus’ bosom. He had his head on Jesus’ chest according to the text of John 13:23 and John 21:20. The following versions use the word “resting on Jesus’ bosom”: AMP, ASV, EMTV, KJV and all derivatives, LITV, Murdock, NASB, RV, Webster and YLT. The sense is one of closeness, but there is something more. Remember what I said in Gem 1020 when talking about the seating at the table. There was significance to all of this. But it is also true to say there is a parallel drawn with this scene and the link to the Wedding Feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a strong possibility that this is making a link to the fact that Lazarus is taking his place at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Now wouldn’t that be a “turn-up for the books”. After all the rejection on earth, with Lazarus having to put up with them dining sumptuously, just through the wall beyond the gate, and him not getting any scraps off the table. Especially if he were now seated at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and the rich man has missed out. Especially so in the light of Jesus words in Matthew 25:41-46.
Now, isn’t that interesting. It seems that Lazarus has now become the guest of honour at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. He who was rejected and despised by many, is now at the head of the table. Like Jesus taught, the last shall be first and the first shall be last, or left right out. Wow, how that must have hurt. This must have stunned the rich man beyond belief, but still he can’t be civil or beg for forgiveness. He is so used to the mode of lord, that he can’t deal with the realities of asking forgiveness from someone who is so far below his social status. I wonder whether somehow, we will all be guests of honour at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? But there is more still.
I am pondering a new thought sown by Kenneth Bailey who suggests there is something more behind this text than we realise at first glance. Bailey sees in the words “there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us” [Luke 16:26), a hint that there is in fact someone willing. The Greek verb [thelo] contains the sense choose, wish, be inclined to (sometimes adverbially gladly); desire, intend. My goodness, who would be willing to go from the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, to the hot dark side full of torment, for one such as this rich man? Bailey suggests Abraham does have a candidate – his name is Lazarus. What? You mean after all the rich man has done to him and the fact that he still hasn’t heard an apology from him, Lazarus was willing to go over to ease his pain? Well, that may have been, which speaks volumes about Lazarus’ long suffering and his willingness to forgive. But besides all that, he can’t. There is a chasm fixed between them and there is no crossing the divide. Eternal destinies are decided this side of heaven. You don’t get a second chance. (Heb 9:27 – Remember!)
There is one more thing I wish to draw your attention to before I leave you. Note the use of “child” / “son” in verse 25. The word used here is [teknon] the equivalent of “my dear boy”. Does that sound familiar? It is the same term the father used in the lost son story, in Luke 15, when faced with the elder son who has still not repented and is petulantly still holding out against what he knows he should do. My goodness, is this elder son / Pharisee who loves money, still holding out against seeking forgiveness? Do we have a parallel drawn here between this parable and the parable of the lost son? It wouldn’t surprise me. Food for thought.
You can help others when you do for them what they can’t do for themselves, but not when you do for them what they won’t do for themselves!Ian Vail
Be so good, people can’t ignore you. Be so kind, people will remember you. Be so grateful, people will help you.Rick Godwin
Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.Robert A. Heinlein
The way to get on in the world is to be neither more nor less wise, neither better nor worse than your neighbours.William Hazlitt