I’m now blogging about chapter eleven of my book. I’ve skipped a few chapters because they’ve either been dealt with in other posts or are too involved to blog about.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus is one favorite story about which people make a mountain out of a molehill. This story seems to deal with the eternal state of the poor man Lazarus. Many think that it is obvious for the dead to be able to see from their blissful eternal the suffering of those in hell. Much more has been made of this story than needed. In fact, if such a logic applies, we can well say that Abraham is one of the largest human beings every lived because his bosom alone could provide a place for Lazarus to cuddle like a baby.
Three issues will give us clue as to how this story should be interpreted. First, the story is an answer to the Pharisees who loved money in Luke 16.14. Second, the story is fictitious. In other words, Jesus could make this story up at random without having any semblance to reality. Jesus never explicitly claimed that this is how eternity looks like. Third, many focus on the salvation of Lazarus but this is surely a mistake based on Jesus’ storytelling art. Jesus never allowed Lazarus a voice in the story. Lazarus is the foil for Abraham to carry on this lengthy conversation with the rich man. Thus, Lazarus’ salvation has never been an issue for Jesus, in the way the story was told.
As I always say, the texts are not at fault. The interpreter is!