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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Here and the Hereafter

May 9

(Luke 16:19-31 NIV) ""There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. {20} At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores {21} and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. {22} "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. {23} In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. {24} So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' {25} "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. {26} And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' {27} "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, {28} for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' {29} "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' {30} "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' {31} "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'""

The parable of Lazarus and the un-crossable chasm draws back the curtain between this world and the next. Jesus wants us to see the relationship between the here and the hereafter. He wants us to grasp the reality and the finality of heaven and hell. He wants us to appreciate and dread the depth of the un-crossable chasm. Many recoil from this teaching. They are appalled, and say that a loving God would never do this. Many even consider it “Christian fiction”. But Jesus taught this lesson many times and in many different ways. Our choices on earth have eternal consequences. Our “then” is determined by our “now”. We cannot change in eternity -- we can only change today. We cannot return from the other side, even to do good deeds. No former loved one will be coming back from the dead to warn us. Somebody already did that. His name is Jesus. Listen to Him. Believe Him! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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