The Lord Jesus often provides vivid details in His stories. We read: The dogs came and licked Lazarus’ sores. Vivid–and painful for us even to imagine. Painful, because something about this picture strikes us as tragically, utterly wrong.
Now, these little dogs: We know that dogs have a sense of love and pity. We know also that they like a salty savor for their tongues. And we know that dogs do not grasp the entire constitution of a man. Dogs are man’s best friend. But dogs do not know that man has an immortal soul.
The constitution of man. A character in a Jane Austen novel declares that the plays of William Shakespeare form “part an Englishman’s constitution.” Englishmen know Shakespeare. It’s part of one’s constitution.
What about the constitution of man? Man–Englishmen, Swedes, Chinese, everybody? Every man, woman, and child on earth?
The constitution of man: Made in the image and likeness of God. Endowed with an immeasurable spiritual dimension. Made for an eternal friendship with the Creator and Lord of all things. A man, a human being, endowed with these gifts, does not belong in a gutter with open sores being licked by dogs.
It’s not the dogs’ fault. Dogs don’t know anything about the constiution of man. The dogs didn’t realize that the spectacle of their licking Lazarus’ sores–that this was a heartbreaking scandal. An insult to human dignity. The dogs didn’t know any better.