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We are rich men and beggars

Luke 16:19-31

Pastor David Ernst

First Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Jun 3, 2018 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In all the readings for today we find the theme of love. The first reading (Deuteronomy 6: 4-13) reads as follows: Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God, Jehovah is one. " I spoke of this verse on the Sunday of the Holy Trinity, because here, a verse that the Jews to this day use as a prayer twice a day, we have a statement that there is only one God that still implies that three persons in the Unity.

But, there is more: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength." When the Pharisees asked Jesus, what is the great commandment? (Matthew 22: 36-40), our Lord repeated this verse and said, "This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." The second one is found in Leviticus 19:18. Love God and love your neighbor is the summary of the will of God in the new covenant with all nations as well as the old covenant with the children of Israel.

After 400 years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the desert, the people of Israel were ready to again enter the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, Moses said to them, "And it will be, when the LORD your God has brought you into the land which he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that he would give you; in great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good, that you did not fill, and cisterns dug, that you did not dig, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant; After you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall fear the Lord your God, and serve Him only, and swear by His name. "

The Israelites received everything by the grace of God and we find this subject in the other readings. Our epistle (1 John 4: 16-21) goes like this: "If anyone says: I love God, and he hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And we have this commandment from Him: Let the one who loves God, also love his brother. "

We have the promise of eternal life because of Jesus Christ who suffered and died in our places to earn for us what we do not deserve. If we confess this with our lips, how can we see our neighbors in need and not help them?

In our gospel for today, we read the parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. "There was a rich man, who dressed in purple and fine linen, and feasted every day with splendor. There was also a beggar named Lazarus, who was lying at his door, full of sores, and wished to be satisfied with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table, and even the dogs came and licked his sores. "

Well, the sin of the rich man was not to have a garment of purple and fine linen, and every day a banquet. It is not a sin to have good things in this life. In a sense, the rich man is each one of us, because for most of us ther is always someone who has more goods than us and those who have less than we do. Sin, according to the ninth and tenth commandments, is covetousness. That is, we should not put our eyes on those who have more, but on those who have less than us.

This parable does not imply the rich man earned his wealth by dishonest methods, nor that he did no pay his taxes. But his sin was not to think about his neighbor, Lazarus, in his affliction. And this was not sin only against Lazarus, but against God too. Another issue in our readings is trust. What do we trust? We must trust in God, not by our own merits, but by the grace of God.

The rich man did not trust in God, only in himself. So, he did not help Lazarus because he did not recognize that he had everything by the grace of God. He fulfilled all human laws, therefore his Judge in the end was God. Because God will cancel all accounts. Many times there seems to be no justice in this life. But we trust in the justice of God on the final day.

This life is short. Those who do not think about eternity trust in what they have now, and do not help others. In eternity they will receive their reward, the punishment of eternal death.

Lazarus had nothing in this life, but it seems he had faith in God, because after physical death, he passed into Abraham's bosom. In this sense, Lázaro is also a model for us. In the eyes of God, each one of us is a beggar with sores and dirty clothes. Let us receive eternal life only by faith. Lazaro I trust the things that remain, but the man rich in the things that do not remain. Both received their reward.

There is something more. "And in hell (the rich man) lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." Then he cried out, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of your finger in water, and cool my tongue because I am tormented in this flame. " But, it was too late. "And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that you received your goods in your life, and Lazarus also ills; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. And besides all this, a great chasm is placed between us and you, so that those who want to pass from here to you, can not, nor from there to pass here. "

Then, the rich man for the first time thought of his family. "Then he said: Please, father, send him to my father's house, because I have five brothers, so that he may testify to them, so that they also do not come to this place of torment." However, it was too late for that too, but for us, this parable teaches us that we now have the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.

To love our neighbor is not only to help him with his material needs, but also to share the promise of eternal life If we trust in God, if we believe that we have received all the good things by the grace of God, not by our own merits, we want to share all the grace of God with others.In this we find joy and peace that surpasses all understanding, Amen.

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