September 28 I Saturday
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’” —Luke 16:30
From Jesus’s teaching about the rich man and the beggar, this story begs the question, is it a parable or is it an actual event that Jesus talked about? Scripture reveals when Jesus begins telling this story, He did not call it a parable and neither did Luke, the writer of that gospel account. It is a curious matter, especially since the beggar was given a name—Lazarus—which may indicate this was a true event.
In the Gospel of John, we encounter the event where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead four days after he died. This incident mirrors the rich man’s burning concern to save his five brothers by requesting Abraham to “send Lazarus” and reasons, “if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent” (Luke 16:27, 30). It is plausible this was the same Lazarus that Jesus raised from the dead and as a result, “many of the Jews who…had seen what Jesus did, believed in Him” (John 11:45).
Yet, the rich man’s thinking was naïve. For one thing, the Pharisees would probably come up with some explanation to deny that Lazarus had really died in the first place. We find this to be true as “a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of Him but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in Him” (John 12:9-11). Far from believing the testimony of Lazarus who was raised from the dead, they tried to kill and put him back in the tomb? This is why Abraham told the rich man, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
God, however, not only sent Lazarus but His very own Son, Jesus, into this world to share this message of salvation. If Jesus Christ is true, then His credibility is intact and therefore what He is saying in this story of the rich man and Lazarus is real. Not only so, the story of Jesus’s death on the cross to reconcile us to God is also true. When we confess our sin, the Holy Spirit will indwell us and impart new life. We need to recognize now—in this life—that we have the mind and the opportunity to decide what our future will be: eternity with or separation from God?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus into this world to share the message of salvation. I confess my sin and believe it was nailed on the cross when Jesus died.