Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday of 2nd Week

“Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Lazarus, the beggar at the rich man's door in the parable Christ tells, had no man he could trust in. He lay at that door for years; every day in those years, the rich man would walk past him and never lift a finger to help him. It did not necessarily mean, though, that he trusted in God either. Poverty does not mean holiness. It's a ground in which holiness can take root, and that is why we try to strip away some of our luxuries in this season, but it is not in and of itself holiness. Lazarus was holy; and he was comforted for his years of suffering; but he had to make the same choice for God as the rest of Israel had to.

The parable is told as a chiding to the Pharisees, but the rich man does not stand in for them – the five brothers play that role. His brothers, with their own wealth and their own beggars, had all they needed. They had Moses and the prophets; they had all the “Thus says the Lord” of the Old Testament ready to hand. If they did not listen there, they would not listen to someone back from the dead – Marley would find them a tough sell. What's told as a parable here becomes fact later; the Pharisees use the raising of another Lazarus from the dead as a reason to plot against Jesus.

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