A Great Chasm
Abraham told the rich man, "between us and you there is
a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will
not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' (Luke
There was no possible relief for the rich man who found himself in the agony
of the flame. A great chasm separated him from Lazarus, who was in the bosom
of Abraham. No water would be forthcoming to ease the rich man's agony and
cool his tongue. The finality of that conclusion is too horrible to comprehend
and we are reluctant to dwell upon on that possibility for ourselves or for
any one else for that matter. The chasm was fixed and therefore the destinies
of these two men were fixed, for one eternal comfort and for the other endless
Before these men died all options were still open, the opportunities endless.
There was a great chasm that separated them in life but it could have been
crossed. The rich man had an opportunity to cross that chasm and relieve the
suffering of Lazarus. It would have taken empathy and love on his part but he
was not lacking the means to make it happen. Discovering Lazarus at his
doorstep he could have chased the dogs away, lifted the man to his feet and
with the assistance of his servants he could have gently washed away the dust
and bandaged his wounds. In clean garments of purple and fine linen, free from
stench and stain, he could have brought Lazarus to his table to dine on the
sumptuous fare. The rich man's generosity and kindness could have lifted the
spirits of all who knew him. The brothers, that he was concerned about too
late, could have been influenced by their brother's attendance to one he now
treated as a brother. Upon their deaths Lazarus and his benefactor could have
continued to dine together around the Lord's table in the bosom of Abraham,
what a wonderful possibility but what a tragic reality.
Satan creates false chasms in our minds. Those chasms send too many to the
brink of that fixed chasm in eternity over which they, like the rich man, will
look with longing, but without hope. We cannot let Satan so deceive us. God
reveals to our hearts through His word the endless opportunities of a blessed
life. Greed, selfishness, shortsightedness, alienation and ignorance, are
chasms that can be crossed now if we will let God show us the way.
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1
Cor. 15:57, 58).
By Karl Hennecke
From Expository Files 16.4; April 2009