Sunday, September 22, 2019

Proper 21 C

Proper 21 "C"

Amos 6:1-7
Psalm 146 (antiphon v.2)
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Luke 16:19-31

O God, You are the strength of all who trust in You, and without Your Aid we can do no good thing. Grant us the help of Your grace that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Our Help Is Not in Worldly Riches

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side,” and “the rich man also died and was buried” (Luke 16:22). The poor man, Lazarus, who knew many bad things on earth, began to be comforted forever, whereas the rich man, after a lifetime of good things, began to be “in anguish” (Luke 16:25). Therefore, “woe to those who are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1), for “the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away” (Amos 6:7). 

The wealthy are urged “not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches,” but “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:17–18). Covetous desire for what God has not given is idolatry and “a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Contentment belongs to faith, by which the Christian has “great gain” in godliness (1 Timothy 6:6).

There is only one way forward. The debts of our enemies must be treated as the debts of the poor. Our enemies will not have enough to pay us. If these debts cannot be paid (and they can’t), then they can only be forgiven. Or, perhaps, someone else can loan them what is needed. And here we come to the verse from Proverbs: “He who gives to the poor makes a debtor of God.” The Scriptures add: “And He will pay him.” Proverbs 19:17

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man presents to us a gulf born of greed; an attitude of callous indifference toward suffering.  The man would not change. Instead, he horded wealth. With no thought for others.

The Ultimate insult – a disregard for Moses and the Prophets or the One man who would rise from the dead. The moral of the story? Listen to the Law and the Prophets. They point to Christ. Look to Jesus. He suffered all to grant mercy and pity.  He offers clemency and pardon for your sin.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

:19 Ἄνθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος, καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκετο πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον εὐφραινόμενος καθ’ ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς.
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

- should the variant readings which provide the rich man's name be considered? ~ The point, "Lazarus" is given a name. A certain rich man dressed in purple and looking good living splendidly in fine linen.  

> Scriptures only call rich negatively those who worship their goods regardless of the quantity of the goods. 

:20 πτωχὸς δέ [a]τις ὀνόματι [b]Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος 
And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,

:21 καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι [c]ἀπὸ τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου• ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι [d]ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ.  
who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores

:22 ἐγένετο δὲ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πτωχὸν καὶ ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰς τὸν κόλπον Ἀβραάμ• ἀπέθανεν δὲ καὶ ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη.
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.[a] The rich man also died and was buried

-The account preserves into perpetuity the name of the "insignificant" beggar Lazarus. His poor estate is graphically portrayed. "full of sores" only appears here. Lazarus finds himself at the rich man's gate. 

-The rich man's neglect of Lazarus signals his failure to "make friends for himself when the day of changed circumstances comes" and worldly wealth shall fail.  See v. 9 from last week's text.

-Longing desiring to be fed from what was falling from the rich man's table. "Lick" only appears here. He was despised, rejected, acquainted with grief.  

-The critical day, when circumstances change. 
Note, the festive treatment of Lazarus contrasts with the stark description of the rich man's sad end.

-"ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη" - why Lazarus is carried to heaven is NOT  part of the concern of the narrative. 

-The point of the parable is to warn the self-centered and point to the Scriptures as their resource for planning ahead. It does not propose the equivalence of financial poverty and a state of grace. The name "Lazarus" literally means "He (whom) God helps." 

-Note the contrast Lazarus is given a name the rich man is simply plopped into the ground. 

:23  καὶ ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ, ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις, [e]ὁρᾷ Ἀβραὰμ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ. 
and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 

- The plight of the rich man is described. The point (directing people to heed the Scriptures) requires that the rich  man and Lazarus be portrayed as separated yet able to communicate.

:24 καὶ αὐτὸς φωνήσας εἶπεν• Πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἐλέησόν με καὶ πέμψον Λάζαρον ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ δακτύλου αὐτοῦ ὕδατος καὶ καταψύξῃ τὴν γλῶσσάν μου, ὅτι ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ. 
and he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

- The Rich man now begs for what he did not give; mercy, care, relief from suffering.  He cried "Kyrie" but did NOT receive it. He still thinks Lazarus is there to serve him! 

:25 εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ• Τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι [f]ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά• νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι. 
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

:26 καὶ [g]ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται, ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται, [h]μηδὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν. 
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.

-Note: The parable has not yet come to an end!

-This is more than karma. It is the great reversal. See the Magnificat.  

-Abraham remains kind but will not call him "son" but rather "child" or "boy!"  

-Neither poverty nor riches are virtues! Your best life now is the way of American Christianity but not Scriptural.  

-Speaks against both purgatory and universalism.  

:27 εἶπεν δέ• Ἐρωτῶ [i]σε οὖν, πάτερ, ἵνα πέμψῃς αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρός μου,
and he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house

:28 ἔχω γὰρ πέντε ἀδελφούς, ὅπως διαμαρτύρηται αὐτοῖς, ἵνα μὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλθωσιν εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον τῆς βασάνου. 
for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

- The rich man still wants Lazarus to do his bidding! "If only in my lifetime a voice had warned me and instructed me how to plan ahead!" 

:29 λέγει [j]δὲ Ἀβραάμ• Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας• ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν.  
     But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

-The written word of God, the law and the prophets are all we have. The Writings are not meant to be excluded.

See Acts 3:24; Luke 24:25-27; John 5; "Moses wrote of me," 

:30  ὁ δὲ εἶπεν• Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς μετανοήσουσιν. 
And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

:31 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ• Εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν, οὐδ’ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ πεισθήσονται.
He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” 

- Not a new idea! "Send someone back from the dead!" Yet God's Word is now available. It calls us to faith. It will not fail.  It is Christ's testimony to the judgment and salvation that He will work.

Luke 16:22 Greek bosom; also verse 23
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Scripture quotations marked SBLGNT are from the The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

Choose! But choose wisely
1. "If I had only known!" 
   A. The human dilemma - people are ignorant of the "big picture."
   B. The rich man experienced a terrible plight after the day of change.
   C. Worldly wealth failed, showing the need for a better, more lasting basis of hope.

2. "Someone's got to tell them!"
   A. The rich man sees people like him heading for the same fate.
   B. His suggestions are unoriginal and unacceptable.

3. "Now hear this!" - God's final word.
   A. God's Word is special revelation from Beyond.
   B. His Word abides when all fails. It is eternal.
   C. His Word reveals His plan for eternity.
      1. He warns of judgment to produce repentance.
      2. His promise of salvation creates saving faith. 

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