This Kind of Kingdom

We live in a society that promotes the life of the person living it. We look out for number one. So, to have someone come in and say that we’re doing it wrong would upset the whole order of our creature comforts. Not to mention to have someone come in and say that all of our theological approaches actually separate us from God. For this story, let’s define Hell as simply a place where one is separated from their Creator. Can we agree on that? So, Jesus was having a conversation in this guy’s house, and Jesus is on a roll. So he starts telling stories. One story, which actually might have been true was about a rich man and a beggar dude named Lazarus. The Rich Man is a picture of the Church now, but was also a picture of the religious system then. They would have got that when Jesus made the remark about this guy dressing up in purple. No, He’s not Chubby Checker, or a purple-people eater. Purple was used to represent royalty, deity, and even a priest. They would have been ecstatic that Jesus gave them a nod in his story. Then he turns the tables and starts talking about an outsider named Lazarus, at this point they would have gotten really smug and maybe even pissed off. Why would Jesus talk about this man, they would have wondered. Lazarus represents anyone who is unacceptable, especially in a society built on an oppressive caste system, but even worse, he had sores. He wasn’t just pore, he was contagious. Know anyone like that today? Then the story turns. The Rich Man dies and is separated from God, the outcast goes to be with God. We could keep going. But you get the point. The Pharisees believed once you were saved, you were always saved. Not that point in and of itself is a whole other blog. But, what Jesus is saying is this: “You have been usng our influence to preserve your “things”, you are more worried about your reputation than you are about those in need. If you continue down this path, you will be separated from God. This was a warning. The Rich Man was the 6th brother in the story, the number 6 meant something was awefully wrong. He lost the plot. They lost the plot. We lost the plot. We must recover the truth of Christ’s message, that the answers aren’t necessarily found in always looking for responses to our questions. It is running recklessly into the arms of those who are in need and being the love that Jesus was being to us. We must embrace this kind of Kingdom. Are you with me?

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