“And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 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 16:30-31 KJV
In Luke 16:19-31 it speaks on the rich man and the poor beggar Lazarus. In the story the rich man shows off his riches and material things by what he wears and the parties or feast he hosts. While the poor man, who has nothing, is begging for scraps and has sores on his body which are licked by the dog.
They both die and Lazarus was seen in the bosom of Abraham (symbolism for with God/heaven) and the rich man was in hell. A lot of people stated it was because he was rich, but when you look more into the scriptures it was because he worshiped or idolized his money, riches and possessions over God. As well as the rich man didn’t do for others who were in need as is our duty as Christians, especially when when we have an abundance.
However, that’s not what I want to focus on. I would like to point out how the rich man had so many excuses on why he didn’t believe including he wasn’t given enough warnings. He then requested that God allow Lazarus to return to earth from the dead to warn his brothers and family members. He stated that certainly they will believe if a man “rose from the dead” came back and warned them.
Luke 16:30 -31 is in red which indicates God is speaking. In this parable God, informed the rich man that Moses and the prophets were giving the gospel to people and if they didn’t listen to them, they weren’t going to listen to a beggar (Lazarus) who rose from the dead just to provide them a “motivational speech” on why they needed to believe.
This scripture it two fold. The man implied that Lazarus returning from the dead would hold enough weight to get his brothers attention and persuade them to believe. Of course one would hope that a person returning from the dead to “warn us” that heaven and hell do await would definitely get our attention, but God told him in reality it wouldn’t.
I read these scriptures over and over everyday for a week until on the 7th day God opened up my understanding. At the beginning of the week, when I first read the scriptures, I believed that someone returning from the dead to warn us, may hold some weight. Maybe the rich man thought because his brothers were stubborn and hard-headed and seeing someone return from the dead would persuade them. I even agreed with the rich man for a moment, so why did God say it wouldn’t matter? And then it hit me….
God came down in the flesh as Jesus and preached the gospel with authority and power also sealing His doctrine with miracles and people still didn’t believe! Judas who walked right along with him witnessing this entire experience, betrayed Him, which means he still didn’t believe. Peter was extreme and appeared to completely support and honor Jesus and when the pressure was on, he denied him three times despite being in His constant presence. Jesus suffered a bloody, and horrible crucifixion, resurrected and returned to the disciples to warn them and doubting Thomas still wanted proof.
See what we miss in the message is that our will, will always prevail. God gave us free will and if we choose to believe, our eyes will be open to all the wonders and miracles God continues to show us every single day in our lives as well as the lives of those around us. But in contrast, if our will is NOT to believe, we will justify and give excuse on why any and every miracle is “fake” or “not from God” simply because our will is NOT to believe. We will discount and debunk anything related to God, because that is our will.
In the commentary on Biblehub.com, Barnes put it perfectly:
“The greatest miracle will have no effect on those who are determined not to believe.”
Therefore, when you are taking inventory of the things in your heart, when you are comparing your words and your actions against the word of God, when you are “working out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) the number one ingredient that has to be present, is that you must first BELIEVE because hearing and believing (accepting) the gospel is the ONLY way to be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)