Anyone who understands the law and the prophets understands that Jesus is bringing them into completion in how he interacts with and loves on the marginalized and downtrodden. These “tax collectors and sinners” he keeps spending time with are those whom God loves. The Pharisees, who are lovers of money, power, and position, treat these people in the same way that the Rich Man treats Lazarus.
Many scholars believe that this parable was well known or at least the concept of the reversal of positions in the afterlife was well known. Where Jesus diverges from the common story is about the message to the living from the underworld. They would have expected the message to be granted. Jesus’ point is that even a message from beyond the grave will failed to be recognized if they cannot even recognize Jesus as embodying Israel’s call and identity. The law and the prophets are about to come true in a whole new way, when Jesus himself is resurrected from the dead, ushering in God’s new age in which all wrongs will be made right.
If Jesus is about ushering in God’s new age, what role should the church play in righting the wrongs of this world? What wrongs do you have in your life that need God’s new age to take hold of?