Scripture: Luke 16:19-31
Then the rich man asks if Abraham will send Lazarus to warn his five brothers about the danger of hell. Evidently the rich man knew that they were pursuing the same kind of life he was and were doomed.
Abraham answers in verse 29, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” In other words, God has already provided ample information and evidence about the necessity of love and the danger of judgment. He is not obliged to give any more than what he has given in the scriptures of the Old Testament.
But the rich man knows that his brothers do not listen to the Scriptures. They may have devotions in the morning for a few minutes and they attend church once a week, but he knows that their whole mindset about money is shaped by the world not God. And so the rich man knows it is not going to do any good for Abraham just to say to them: read your Bible—read Moses, read the prophets!
So in verse 30 he advises Abraham (from hell!) about how to get his brothers to repent: “No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” If there could just be a resurrection from the dead—something really startling, some miracle—then they would wake up and repent. They would forsake their selfish luxury and start to live for others to the glory of God.
Then comes Abraham’s final, utterly stunning statement (v. 31): “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.” Isn’t that incredible! If a person is so in love with money that he is deaf to the commands and warnings and promises of Moses and the prophets, then even a resurrection from the dead will not bring about repentance.
So here we have the same point that we saw earlier in verse 14, only here it’s intensified because of the resurrection. Suppose Jesus should rise from the dead—this is what Luke wants his readers to think about—and suppose he should reveal himself to five brothers like these. Will they receive him for who he is?
O, they might be utterly knocked out of their senses by the miracle of an irrefutable resurrection. But the question is, Will they be knocked out of their sins? Will they repent? Abraham says no. They will not repent. Why not? What will keep them from receiving Jesus for the financial radical that he really is? Answer: the love of money, the love of things.