This week’s gospel, November 1-7
The Rich Man and Lazarus
We don’t know a lot about what happens to us after we die. What is Heaven really like? How will we experience it without our bodies? Of course, in the end of the book of Revelation we learn that there are streets of Gold and there is no more death, pain, or sorrow. However, the scriptures in Revelation, written in apocalyptic style (meaning there are images that hide the meaning of things from those who are not familiar with the context of the times), are not there for us to take literally. But, we can know that since streets of Gold and a life without pain and death are the greatest things our limited minds can even imagine, God wants us to know that Heaven will be even greater than anything we can imagine.
By that same understanding, Jesus wants us to understand from his story of the Rich man who goes to Hades, that Hell is real, and once there, there is no way out. Jesus makes it clear that one more sign, or another person raised from the dead won’t convince a hard-hearted, unbeliever. The testimony of Moses and the Old Testament, coupled with the witness of John the Baptist and the miracles of Jesus is enough for anyone to believe…if they only will.
Our free will is the one thing God will not go against to make us believe in Christ. He may make winds cease, mountains move, and raise people from the dead, but if we are not open to believing of our own free choice, we are left to the consequences of our choices. Jesus wants us to understand from the story of Lazarus the Beggar and Rich Man, that Hell is very real. There are eternal consequences to our sins, if we do not repent. God is always the God of second chances as long as we are still on this side of death. But, make no mistake about it, death comes to all, and as the Book of Hebrews tells us, it is appointed for us all to die and then comes judgment (Heb. 9:27).
Do you need a second chance today? Is there sin in your life from which you have not repented? 1 John 3:9 tells us those who are born of God do not make a practice of sinning. We cannot say we believe in Jesus and keep treating others like dogs (as did the Rich man Lazarus). I have good news for you, God wants to give you a second chance today, and He will every day if that is what it takes to win you back. Our Father is always ready to forgive those who repent. But, we should not take His grace for granted. We must learn to avoid sin, and live for righteousness. After all, the name Christian means to live “like Christ”. We must repent while there is still time before we die, because just like the Rich man, after death there is no second chance.
This week try keeping a journal of any sins you become aware of at the end of each day. Before you go to bed, ask the Father to reveal to you anything you did that was not His best for you. Then, think about the things He shows you. Did you do them by choice, even though you knew you should not? Were they things that seemed part of your character you wish you could change? In a closing prayer for the day, repent of whatever the Father shows you. Ask for His grace to strengthen you in the coming days, and to help you change. If you will do this, I promise you will feel God’s love reassuring you that you are His child. He loves you and has a better plan for your life.
Feel free to comment or ask a question along the way this week. After all, we are in this life together, to pray for and help each other. Let’s contemplate this gospel passage together all week. Ask any questions that may arise. I will be back here on Friday with more thoughts from this week’s gospel. Until then…
Grace & Peace for your journey,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”