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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: May 8, 2024

The great irony of Lazarus and the Rich Man is that it’s the poor beggar who has a name while the rich man doesn’t. Certainly that’s not how it went for men. Men would have known the rich man’s name. They would have rejoiced to call him by it, used it to flatter him so they could gain favor in his eyes and thus improve their standing in the world. But Lazarus, they wouldn’t have known. Lazarus was just that beggar, that poor man outside the gate who didn’t have a name or a face or value or any dignity because he had nothing to offer them. Among men, the rich man most certainly had a name but the poor man did not.

And yet, for God, this poor beggar had a name, not because the man had something to offer God, but because God had everything to offer Him. The man’s name was Lazarus, a name meaning “God has helped.” And after his death, Lazarus saw so beautifully how his God helped him, how God came to his aid and kept all His promises by sending the Son Lazarus longed for. There, Lazarus rested at Abraham’s side, waiting in splendor for the day when his Savior would lift him from the grave and grant him an imperishable body that would never break out in sores, a body that would never be licked by dogs but that would be cradled in the hands of God.

But in the rich man’s death, he saw that it doesn’t matter how many men approve of you on earth if the God who created the heavens and the earth doesn’t approve of you. He saw that, without Christ, there are no lasting riches, even for those whose wealth never expired in their lives. The rich man saw it, but didn’t really see it, which is why he spends his time in hell arguing with Abraham instead of believing him.

Remember the lesson well. When men cast you aside and treat you like you don’t matter, when the world forgets your name, God remembers that name because God gave it to you. He gave it to you in the waters of your baptism when you were clothed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And He will call you by that name on the last day when He lifts you up from the grave and clothes you in the salvation of the Lamb. Let men clothe you in shame. Your Lord will clothe you in glory on the last day because the Lord has always known your name.

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