The Expository Files


A Great Chasm

Luke 16:26

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 16:26).

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 agony.

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