Reflections: June 6, 2021
The First Sunday after Trinity
By Jeffrey Horn
…"If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead." (Luke 16:31b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today, we meet Lazarus. He has the distinction of being the only character in Jesus' parables to be given a name. Lazarus means, "One whom God helps."
Every day, Lazarus' friends lay him outside the gate of a rich man so that he might receive scraps from the rich man's table. God intended to help Lazarus through the compassion of the rich man. The bounty given to the rich man should be shared in mercy with Lazarus, and God would bless both of them. But the rich man closed his heart toward Lazarus. Instead of helping him, he left Lazarus to suffer in hunger and illness, poverty and shame.
Soon, both die. God lives up to the promise in Lazarus' name. The angels carry Lazarus away from the sorrows of this world to the peace of eternal life. The rich man is sent to hell. His lack of faith in God and lack of repentance for his sins lead him to eternal punishment. Even in hell he still has no respect for Lazarus. He suggests that God send Lazarus down to the fires of hell for the miniscule comfort of a drop of water on his tongue.
God would have none of it. God gave these good things to Lazarus and they will never be taken away. The rich man begs God to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them that they, too, will be damned if they don't repent. But God has given them mercy already! Moses and the prophets call them to repent and believe. If they will not hear them, why would they believe if someone (Jesus!) were to rise from the dead?
In Baptism we are all Lazarus--one whom God helps! Jesus teaches us that the Church is a place of mercy. God has mercy on us in Christ Jesus. And because God has had mercy on us, we should show His love by serving our neighbor.
We gather together and hear Moses and the prophets, Jesus and His apostles. Through their words the Holy Spirit brings us to repent and believe so that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. All glory be to Him! Amen! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
"Come unto Me, ye weary, and I will give you rest." O blessed voice of Jesus, which comes to hearts oppressed! It tells of benediction, or pardon, grace and peace, Of joy that has no ending, or love that cannot cease. ("Come unto Me, Ye Weary" LSB 684, st.1)
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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