April 7 I Thursday
1 Samuel 7-9
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.” —2 Corinthians 5:20
Jesus taught using a story about Lazarus and the rich man, where when both men died, Lazarus went to Abraham’s bosom while the rich man went to hell. When the rich man was in hell, there were three things that we could say “burned” in this man’s life. Firstly, the rich man gave a burning confession: “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24). The rich man gave a cry for mercy even though during his life, he showed no need of mercy. He probably regarded himself as a self-made, adequate man. There was no need for God’s intervention, but now there was and the tragedy was that it came too late. There was a finality in this story as the author of Hebrews tells us, “...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment...” (Hebrews 9:27).
Secondly, the rich man’s burning conscience awakened, as Abraham reminded the rich man, “In your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16:25). The rich man enjoyed good things with no regard for Lazarus who enjoyed little. The rich man’s conscience was awakened and he had a heightened awareness of right and wrong, as well as of good and bad.
Thirdly, the rich man had a burning concern as he pleaded to Abraham, “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” (Luke 16:27-28). The rich man had a burning concern for his five brothers to be warned. There was no evidence that he had any concern while he lived for anybody’s soul, not even his own. His earthly concerns had been self-absorbed, but now he had a concern beyond himself for his brothers.
The rich man’s burning confession of his need, burning consciousness about his behaviour and burning concern for his brothers were all awoken when he was in hell. The startling thing is that his thinking has become totally “Christian” in hell, because people in hell will understand and know that there truly is a God who came in the form of a man to save humanity from their sins. Before we reach our earthly end, may we have a burning desire to share the good news of the gospel with those who have yet to hear and believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to reconcile our relationship with God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that You will give me a burning desire to share the good news of Your gospel to those who have yet to hear and believe in You. Please prepare their hearts to receive You. Thank You, Lord.