Many of the surrounding cultures In Jesus’ day had stories about the wealthy and the poor, and what might happen to each in the afterlife. Jesus once told a parable from this rich collection of afterlife stories, about a miserable beggar named Lazarus and a rich man who lived lavishly and never noticed Lazarus at all. In time both died, and in the afterlife experienced a grand reversal of fortunes. For the first time the rich man discovered the immensity of the gulf between himself and Lazarus…a huge gap in their experience of one another that the rich man simply never noticed in this world.
Jesus reminds us that the time to begin following the lifestyle of his Kingdom—indeed for keeping all of the law and the prophets— is now. For in eternity, God will make perfect in us whatever we have practiced in this life, be it the sharing of Christ’s spirit and compassion with others or the practiced indifference of those who see themselves as better than others. When we choose to believe in Christ, to follow him, our eyes are opened, walls come down, distances between us are bridged, and we see the Kingdom coming to life all around us.