The Uncomfortable Comfortable: Second Helping
Posted on November 27, 2019 by Graeme Wilson in Freedom Fighters
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31 (NLT)
So…in picking up where I left off with Jesus sharing the parable of Lazarus and the rich man being told at the Thanksgiving celebration table. I made mention that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to ask if Jesus could pass the sweet potatoes while telling the parable. So, if His reply was, “and besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there” (Luke 16:26) while He grabs the bowl to pass to you, you may wonder where He was going with those sweet potatoes. But have no fear for I would like to try and share where I think He may be going with what gets said about the great chasm.
Herein lies a question…If the rich guy had used some of his wealth to help out Lazarus while they were both alive, and if Lazarus was willing to dip his finger to help out the rich guy in the afterworld, could Lazarus cross over the great chasm? It’s a possibility I can only suppose, Scripture doesn’t go there at all so Lazarus is given no ground to do such a thing. It would seem that our rich friend is in Hades with no friends and the only one to blame for that is himself.
And if we were to take the C.S. Lewis approach and say that the doors of hell, meaning the abode of the damned, are locked on the inside, (kinda reminds of a song that said “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”) crossing over to cool the tongue of the rich man isn’t gonna happen anyway. So, it would appear this chasm has been of the rich man’s own doing (we are all just prisoners here of our own device?). But in an interesting twist, this rich man turns his attention to his father’s house where there are five brothers who he wants to be warned about the place he is at.
The part of the parable that just slays me is the rich guy’s audacity in suggesting that Lazarus, yet, perform another favor for a man who didn’t consider him while he was alive. “Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28) If I was Abraham my reaction would have been, “Dude, you just ain’t pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down”, but like I said last time it’s a good thing I’m not in the parable.
Abraham’s response is where we find the hinge point of this whole parable, “Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.” (Luke 16:29) This isn’t just something that gets implied, this is a flat out, being told, “They can read it for themselves and make a choice.” But just like all the religious leaders of the time of the telling of this parable, the rich man demanded that they are given a sign to prove that doom is on the horizon. “No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.” (Luke 16:30) “Hey!! Puddin’ head didn’t YOU read Jonah!?” (oops, let myself jump in again)
At the end of the parable, Jesus will make it clear that if no one listens to what was already written down, then they aren’t gonna believe in someone who rises from the dead. Interesting, isn’t it? The Risen Savior is already telling those in earshot what is still happening to this day. That we can share the Gospel with people and they just might believe in it as a story but still not believe it as truth.
A man named James Denney paraphrased Luke 16:31 like this, “If they can be inhuman with the Bible in their hands and Lazarus at their gate, no revelation of the splendors of heaven or the anguish of hell will ever make them anything else.” As we approach our Thanksgiving tables let us all be thankful that we understand that we didn’t miss the boat and will find ourselves sitting at the Great Banquet with a Risen Savior. Hopefully, you’ll be sitting there with other family members who also read what you read and took heed to what you took heed to. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “Were men everywhere to ignore the things that matter little or not at all and give serious attention to the few really important things, most of the walls that divide men would be thrown down at once and a world of endless sufferings ended. “— Aiden Wilson Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. ~Jeremiah 17:9-10
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.