The Rich Man and Lazarus II

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘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 16:25-31)

In the second half of this parable we see a conversation between Abraham and the rich man. Abraham was a man of great faith and the patriarch of Israel. He is the one God chose to become the Father of many nations. The rich man, who lived an opulent lifestyle ends up in hell. We know that in his life he ignored the needs of the poor man, Lazarus, who sat at his gate. He also must have neglected God and a relationship with him through his Son. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)

While in hell, the rich man pleads with Abraham. He wants him to have Lazarus go to his brothers and warn them. I wonder if they lived a life of luxury like the rich man and lacked a relationship with God. Abraham responds and says they have Moses and the Prophets. They should listen to them. God’s word would have pointed them to the Messiah, Jesus. The rich man is convinced instead that if someone would come back from the dead, then his five brothers would believe. The rich man was thinking that a miraculous sign would cause his brothers to have faith. Abraham then tells him if they won’t listen to the testimony of Moses and the Prophets, then they won’t believe even if someone comes back from the dead.

This parable was directed to the hard hearted Pharisees. They put their trust in money and were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah.(Luke 16:14) They were always trying to prove him wrong. The Pharisees were also prideful and thought they were better than the poor.

This is a sobering parable. The issue was not one of not enough evidence, but of the heart. Once someone passes from this life to the next without a changed heart through faith in Jesus, their destiny is fixed. There is no changing it. We need to be diligent to share our faith with others while there is still time for them to believe. Take time today to pray and reach out to someone who is still on the fence of unbelief. Today could be the day of their salvation!