“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31
Here is a lesson given by the Master in the context of properly treating one another in kindness, dignity, and charity with a sense of being equally as destitute as they, no matter our financial or social level. You see, the Pharisees saw that Jesus was constantly in the company of not only the sick and the poor, but those whom the Pharisees and scribes saw as sinners. They were indeed such, but the Pharisees were so self righteous that they could not see that they, themselves, were also sinners. This produced a hardness of heart toward their fellow man because they considered themselves holy and righteous for publicly living by the rules set forth by their fathers before them.
So, Jesus addresses this by first explaining that every single soul is special to God. He did not create any in the hope that they would perish in the end, and so not a single one is written off. (Luke 15) So long as a soul breathes and lives, the Holy Spirit will draw them toward Jesus. It is His desire that all should believe and be saved. (John 3:10-21) Now, Jesus does not sugar coat the Truth in that after He acknowledges the Love of God toward the world, He follows it with the justness of God’s character, and the stubbornness of man’s. (Luke 16) It is of note then to realize that “though one rose from the dead” is referring to what the rich man suggested to Abraham in that he send someone back to warn all of his family where they were heading (Hell) if they continued down the same path he went. Abraham is the one who speaks in response that “if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
What Jesus was saying in this parable is that once we’ve died, the opportunity to choose Him is gone, and there is no turning back. He also is saying that the Law of God, as given through Moses, and the miracles performed by the prophets of God was, and still is, enough for anyone to see that Christ was coming and, in the Person of Jesus, had, indeed, already arrived. Yet, because the Pharisees so loved their lives of luxury amongst Israel, they refused to see the Truth, for the Truth would take from them what they cherished of this world. What they could not know was that what Jesus offers is so much better, but that’s not the point of this post today.
The point of today’s post is to show us the very Cross to which Christ was eluding. When He said they wouldn’t be persuaded even if one rose from the dead to warn them, what He was really saying is that they were so hard hearted, they would not believe after I go to the Cross, even after I resurrect Myself from death as proof that all I have said is True, even that I Am.
He knew how He was going to go out because that was the whole reason He came. But, He also knew that not all would believe and be saved, even though His one act was sufficient to do so for the entirety of mankind. It’s always been this way, since before creation. Man was destined to fall, and be redeemed by Christ. It is the ultimate expression of total dependance upon God. We must either surrender our own will and accept this Way or deny it and continue on our own selfish paths of destruction. It is a sad fact that the majority of men and women will choose to go their own way, but in this I take heart of what the Master said. Even though it is undeniably true that He is God, and that His sacrifice was necessary that we might enjoy relationship with the Father, most will never believe. He lived holy and perfect, without blemish, that He might be slaughtered for our Sin, and then He rose from the dead on the third day. Believe that and be saved, or deny it and be lost. No matter how foolish it seems, that is exactly what He did and why He did it.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18