” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “ Luke 16:30-31 (NIV)
Jesus tells us a story. He teaches us in parables. He tries to help us see using examples. In this case He uses men who lived out their fate here on earth then they die. One had a pleasing life here while the other had to suffer. In the life that is to come, does it seem to be reversed? Can we see the one who got all his desires and lavished himself here did not have much to celebrate there in the New Realm? For all his pleasure-seeking and luxury, had he failed to think of his relation to God and care for His people? Was his separation from God and God´s people now a torment to him and part of his suffering? Is there a wealth of instruction packed into this short parable for us?
What was the difference in this life between the two? How come Lazarus got to be on the side of the saints of God? Was it because his attitude in life was limited by his circumstances? Did he need to lean on the Lord more than the rich man? Could we too learn something vital for us today?
If we look past the description Jesus gives to describe a mysterious Spiritual Realm, can we see where He is going with His story? What messages can we find hidden within the words of Christ? In the rich man´s suffering he asks Abraham to send Lazarus to ease his torment. When he realizes that it is impossible he asks that the dead man be sent to warn his family. Are we nearing the point of the parable? Are we shown that no further testimony should be necessary? Have we already been given the Prophets and Moses to listen to? Is the rich man stating clearly what happens to most of us when we refuse to be affected by what we are told? In the response Abraham gives, can we also see that few will give sufficient weight even if we hear of Someone rising from the dead? Could this be a hint of what we do with the knowledge of Christ?
How do we open ourselves to these stories of Jesus? How do we receive them? Are we like the rich man and his family? Are we taking the Word of God seriously? Can we sense the urgency in the Saviour´s voice? Do His words point us past the descriptions and to a wonderful and marvelous God? Do those words come alive and burn in our hearts? Do they move us to repent and turn from our pleasure-seeking and enjoyment of our current environment? Are we giving sufficient credit to those who slaved and suffered to bring those words to us? Has the news of Someone rising from the grave impacted our lives? Can we truly say that it has? What proof is there to assure us? Are we leaning on the Lord as a suffering soul who lives off the morsels we begged for each day? Or are we continuing to celebrate this earthly life? Are we among those who listen? Or are we among those who just won´t listen?
Dear Jesus, thank You for Your instruction. But please help us today to go past the words and parables. Let Your message reach our very souls. Let us be affected. Let us be moved. Let us hear the warning and Your urging. Help us to take to heart Your encouraging and strive to make our relationship with You strong right now! While there is still time let us hear! Open our ears! Help us to listen and be sufficiently touched by the knowledge of One Who did rise from the dead! Let our lives here reflect that knowledge so that we resemble the man who finds himself on Your side in Your coming Kingdom! Help us to listen we pray!