Right, the story does not make sense...but then again, it's not supposed to.
Jesus distinguished himself as Master Satirist by His astonishing account of, “The Rich Man and Lazarus”. BTW "Lazarus" means "God is your help" .... Satire can be defined as “biting wit, irony or sarcasm used to expose vice or folly...”.And good satire never fails to inspire “laughter,contempt, or horror as it seeks to correct the follies and abuses it uncovers”.
is serious business. It
is most effectively employed when reason is not welcome. Satire
embraces irony, parody, condemnation and even ridicule. Because it
is often biting, it should be used carefully; perhaps as a last
resort. Satire entertains the ridiculous as a possibility to
highlight the incongruities of immoral or irrational positions.
Satire however, is slippery footing for doctrine.
RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
is a classic "reversal of fortune" story. Before death,
the rich man was well off while Lazarus was in physical torments.
But after death, it's Lazarus who is well off and the rich man is
experiencing torment. Before death, Lazarus was begging crumbs from
the rich man; now the rich man is begging droplets of relief from
KEY QUESTION: Why
were their fortunes reversed? In other words, why did Lazarus end up
in Abrahamic bliss and the rich man in torments?
reason does the text give for the reversal in their fortunes? Let's
examine verse 25, the punch line of this parody.
You will recall that the rich man had just made a desperate plea for
Lazarus to "lift a finger" to help relieve his misery.
Jesus has a somewhat dispassionate Abraham respond to this appeal by
dispensing some rather outrageous logic that completely ignores the
moral dimension of either man's life.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life
receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil
but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
paternalistically justifies the rich man's intolerable situation by
reminding him of a simple rule of parity. To paraphrase here,
Abraham says, "Don't you remember Son; it's those who experience
bad things in this life that can expect good things in the next...".
Now where in the world did such logic originate? Actually, the
logic, originated with the Pharisees themselves. Jesus was merely
having Abraham parrot back to the rich man, the Pharisee's own
unhelpful counsel to the poor and tormented. Visualize for a moment,
a Pharisee giving the following advice to a destitute widow who has
just approached him for assistance.
remember God punishes to the 3rd and 4th generation;
present suffering is obviously His judgment. We would really
to help, but, as you know, it is God who has fixed this wide
of disparity between us - so that those who would traverse
gulf and ease your torment, even a little, only find themselves
His judgment. God
is your help
my daughter! If we
to alleviate your torment now, you will only experience much
later. But if you faithfully bear His judgment for your sins
those of your fathers, and endure bad things in this life, you
surely enjoy the comforts of Abraham's Bosom in the hereafter.
we examine Luke 16:19-31 in the light of history, we note a rather
suspicious resemblance between Jesus’ story of, The
Rich Man and Lazarus,
and the traditional teachings of the Pharisees. But Jesus was not
setting out to confirm Pharisaic beliefs about the afterlife. True,
he told their story; the same story they had told a thousand times
before, but with one important difference; a rather ironic twist you
might say, that sees the Rich Man waking up in torment in Hades and
being denied the slightest assistance by application of the same
logic whereby he had regularly denied the poor and destitute. It
would not take much imagination to visualize the headlines in the
Jerusalem Gazette the morning after Jesus told His version of their
story, humorously conveying how the Lord had turned the tables on the
Pharisees in the afterlife.