Jump Start # 2387
Luke 16:22 “Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.”
I’ve had this verse on my mind lately. A couple of days ago I wrote about a dear brother in Christ named Terry. Terry passed away the morning that Jump Start came out. He died early in the morning. Just about the same time Terry passed through the doorway of death, a preacher in Texas was also passing away. He had been severely injured in a car accident and didn’t survive. I got to thinking about this the other night while lying in bed. From a hospital in Louisville and a hospital in Texas, two righteous souls, at about the same time, were carried by angels to their rest in paradise.
Now, all of that started a series of thoughts, questions and curiosities to my mind.
- Is it just one angel that carries the souls of the righteous? It takes more than a couple of hours for me to fly from Louisville to Texas. But angels, they could travel that distance in no time. Or, does each righteous soul have it’s own transporting angel?
- Do the angels wait until we cross through the doorway of death, or are they with us as we die?
- How do the wicked get where they are going?
- How long does it take to get from here to Paradise?
- Does a person see earth getting smaller and smaller in the distance?
- What does it feel like to be carried by angels?
- Do we realize that we are being carried by angels? Or, is it like a child that falls asleep and his father carries him and puts him in bed. When he wakes up, he’s in bed. He didn’t realize his father had carried him. Will it be like that?
Now, most of you are probably thinking, ‘You should just go to sleep and stop all of this wondering,’ but those thoughts are there. And, what’s even more troubling is that the Scriptures do not answer these questions. And, if the Scriptures do not answer these, we know all the stories people have claimed about seeing lights and floating are not true. Don’t trust the unproven words of man.
Why did Jesus tell us these things? Now our minds are running and we can’t stop. What’s it like to be carried by angels? Here are some things I believe Jesus was wanting us to see in this passage:
First, you’ll notice Lazarus isn’t called by his name. He is called the poor man. He was poor in finances. He was poor in health. He was poor in resources. So desperate, he was laid at a rich man’s gate. That’s not the place you take extremely ill people. You take them to the hospital. You call the doctor. You call family and friends. Leaving someone out in the elements with the hopes that some rich guy will have pity is truly desperate. It seems that Lazarus had no one. It seems that he died there at the rich man’s gates. It seems he died alone. No one surrounding him. No one praying. No one holding his hand. And, likely, his body was dumped in a pauper’s grave. Unmarked. Forgotten.
But he wasn’t forgotten. Heaven sent angels. God remembered. God knew. This poor man had no comfort in life, but in his death and when he crossed into the next room, he found the best care, love, and acceptance. God didn’t send a preacher. God didn’t send a priest, prophet or even an apostle. God sent angels. Poor Lazarus wasn’t remembered by God because he was simply poor. What catches the attention of God’s eyes is our faith. Implied and taught all over the Scriptures is the value of believing. Angels came because Lazarus believed.
Second, Jesus tells this story because the bulk of his audiences were like Lazarus. They were poor people. They were common people. They were simple laborers. Living in a big house, behind a gate, wearing purple and eating a feast every day, is something that Jesus’ audiences would never experience. And, the imbalance of the world would side with the rich man. He’s a success, the world would scream. He’s on top of the world. His funeral would have been elaborate. His grave stone, tall and impressive. Yet, on the other side, it was certainly a different picture. No angels are said to have come for the rich man. No tenderness is shown. No comfort is extended. No precious love. No God with him. This is a reminder to what really matters. Oh, we’d love to live behind that gate, eat that food, and wear those clothes. We’d have a grand time. But where does it take us? And, what does it do for us? We live here seventy, eighty, or possibly ninety years. On the other side, in the other room, we will be there forever. Poor Lazarus was now being comforted. The rich man was in torment and he had no help and no hope. Don’t lose sight of what is important. Don’t let the glitter and glamour of this world make you take your eyes off of Jesus. Lazarus who died alone by a rich man’s gates, was treasured, comforted and helped by God.
Third, this story reminds us that when we walk with God, we are never alone, not even in our death. The angels came. Now, in our way of thinking, we’d expect God to bring health back to Lazarus. Make him stand up again. Make him well. Rags to riches story—that’s what we want. But that’s worldly thinking. This world isn’t it. We are not physical beings who happen to have a soul. We are spiritual beings who happen to have a body. Jesus promised the apostles that He would be with them until the end of the age. The Psalmist said that even though we walk through the valley of death, God is with us. He comforts us. He is there. The journey for those early followers of Jesus would be hard. Many would have to make tough choices regarding their faith. Many would die because of their faith. God would be with them. They would be triumphant in Christ. Angels came. All was ok. There is nothing to fear. The future is bright and good.
Fourth, the expression Abraham’s bosom, signifies an embrace, a hug. You hug those you love. You hug those you haven’t seen in a long while. I’m a hugger. I’d rather hug than shake hands. And, here, poor, sick, dying Lazarus, who had no one, is embraced by the great father of faith, Abraham. Lazarus was loved. Lazarus was welcomed. Lazarus was accepted. He was where he belonged. He would never be sick again. He would never be alone again. He would never be hopeless again. He would never have to struggle with temptation, fear, worry, or the troubles of life. Safe. Home. Where he belongs. You know the feeling when you have been on the road for a while. Hotels are nice, but it’s not your bed. And, when you finally sink into your own bed, what a feeling that is. Indeed, there is no place like home. Spiritually, for the believer, that place is in the presence of God
When Herod ordered those young babies killed in the first century, angels came. They must have been busy that night. Angels came when Stephen was killed. Angels must have come when Antipas was killed. And, if you are a believer and a follower of Christ, angels are coming someday for you. They will carry you home. It may be a busy night for angels, but they will get the job done. They always do!
(We have three Jump Start books relating to the things in this piece. We have a Jump Start book on angels, another on the rich man and Lazarus and one on the subject of death. These are all free. If you would like a copy email me: Rogshouse@aol.com)