April 6, 2022 – Wednesday
Luke 16:30 NIV
30 ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
The verse above makes no sense by itself, out of context. So, for context the man speaking to Father Abraham is an unnamed rich man, so rich in Jesus’ time he lived in luxury inside a walled and gated property. Outside the gate to his property was a beggar named Lazarus covered with sores who longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. But that is only the setting for what was to come.
The rich man and Lazarus both died. Now consider how Jesus described their deaths. First the beggar, The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. Then the rich man, The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment. In many versions, instead of Hades you will find Hell and here Jesus presents Hades as a place of torment, fire, and agony. Certainly not a place anyone would want to go to spend eternity.
What is not stated here is whether the rich man or Lazarus ever repented, but the nature of the story tells us the rich man never did and Lazarus did. In fact the rich man is in such torment he asks Father Abraham to have Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire. Abraham explains it cannot be done as a great chasm separates them and it cannot be crossed.
Upon hearing Abraham’s answer, the rich man now residing in Hell said (v27-28), 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. He wanted his family warned so they would not have to endure what he was enduring. Still Abraham replied, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them. The rich man knew his brothers would not listen to what Moses and the Prophets had said, for he had not. So, he makes one final request, our verse of the day, No, father Abraham, he said, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.
Would they? Jesus did not think so, at least no many of the rich and powerful. So Abraham replied, If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. Jesus was clearly being prophetic here as those who do not want to repent, who want to keep on living a live centered around their own pleasures, they will not repent, even if someone from the dead goes to them.
There is more evidence today of Jesus’ life, death on the cross, and His resurrection than there are for any number of major historical figures, but still people refuse to believe and repent. When Pastor Luke Stephens preached on these verses he concluded with a quote from JC Ryle, Unconverted people will find out the value of their soul when it is too late. They will be like the rich man who never repented and ended in Hell when it was too late to repent.
People today do not want to believe in either Heaven or Hell because that would require asking the most important question they could ask, Where do I want to go? And further, Do I want to risk going to Hell? Our culture does its best to deny Jesus risen from the dead, doing the work of Satan. But Jesus did rise from the dead on the third day just as He prophesied and was foretold many times over. For more details on prophesies of His resurrection go here.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected on the third day. This I know. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton