“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.
This story demonstrates Jesus’ understanding that God turns our values and expectations upside down. The “turn and turn about” of Lazarus and the rich man show that Jesus’ heart is with the poor and disregarded. This is characteristic of much of Jesus’ teaching and is a constant source of challenge to our comfortable lives. Jesus references to “Hades” are common through the gospels as a warning to those who equate faith with wealth and respectability. Does this mean Jesus believes in Hell? That’s an interesting question. A question that is begging for a sermon to be preached on it. Perhaps this Sunday?