"And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house-- 28 for I have five brothers--so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.' 29 But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead." Luke 16:27-31
Most of us are familiar with the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke. Essentially, Lazarus, a sickly poor man, spends his last days outside the gates of a rich man’s house, and then he dies. The Rich Man, always at ease, lives comfortably, ignoring Lazarus’s plight and he himself dies around the same time that Lazarus dies. Lazarus goes to Paradise and the rich man to a place of agony, flames, and suffering. I know what you’re thinking. This is not a story about rich and poor, or righteous and unrighteous. It might be about you and me. Let me explain.
The Rich man looks up from the flames and sees Lazarus in paradise, along with Abraham. He begs Abraham to send Lazarus to him with water because the flame is more than he can bear. Abraham explains that no one can cross over from Paradise to the place of suffering. Then the Rich Man asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his five remaining brothers of the fate and suffering that awaits them if they do not repent and put their faith in God (vv. 27-28).
Abraham refuses to send Lazarus back from the dead in order to warn the Rich Man’s five living brothers (v. 29). Notice his reasoning, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” What’s going on here? Abraham is telling the Rich Man that to find God and avoid suffering in the next life, the Rich Man’s five brothers need to seek eternal life in their Bibles (i.e. “Moses and the Prophets”): “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” “Moses and the Prophets” or “The Law and the Prophets” were euphemisms for the Word of God, the Bible. Abraham is telling Lazarus that they don’t need a miracle, or a vision, or people rising from the dead; they need the Word of God in order to find eternal life.
Notice Lazarus’ response to Abraham’s advice, in verse 30, “And he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Lazarus makes the same mistake that so many people make today. Many seem to want something more, something beyond, God’s Word to reach the lost. Abraham is telling Lazarus that God’s Word is what Lazarus’ five brothers need to hear in order to come to God. Sadly, Lazarus wants something more, “if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham’s reply is devastating to Lazarus and to many people today who put more faith in the miraculous than they do in God’s Word, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead (v. 31).”
Paul told Timothy that it was the Scriptures, learned from Timothy’s youth that made him wise for salvation. Jesus Christ, telling the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, instructs us that miracles by themselves cannot save, the Word of God saves. Jesus indicates that listening to (hearing) God’s Word is not enough for a person, then don’t expect some kind of miraculous event to save, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead (v. 31).” So let me ask you a question. Is the Word of God, that is the Bible, good enough for you? Have you read the Word of Life? Are you familiar with it? Can you share it with others? Will you share it with others? Here in this story, Jesus is talking about the sufficiency of God’s Word to bring people to repentance. ‘Hearing’ the Word of God often involves reading it, or sitting under good teaching (like in church).
If you’re waiting on a miracle to believe God, or if you are asking God for a miracle to bring those whom you love to Christ, think again. If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets (God’s Word, the Bible), neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead (v. 31).”
Remember this. Judas saw the miracles. He lived with Jesus day in and day out, but never received His Word. Judas saw Jesus do all kinds of miracles: give eyesight to the blind, cause the lame to walk, and raise the dead. In the end, Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. Is the Word of God good enough for you? Make sure you get a daily diet of it. It will renew and transform your mind. It gives life. It saves. It grows us. The Word of God has more power than any miracle. Make sure you store it in your heart. Men, you can jump start your diet of God’s Word, or supercharge it, by coming to the Men’s Conference May 30th: (http://tinyurl.com/oewx49r).
In the meantime, pick up your Bible and read it. Before you do, pray this prayer. “Father, show me wondrous things in Your Word.” Then start reading in the Gospels, 1 John, or Romans. Read for 15 minutes a day and it will change your life. Then, after you read, talk to God about what you read (pray). You’ll be glad you did.
Posted on Tue, April 28, 2015
by Sam Petitfils