Saturday Morning Promises – Great Stories
Then he said, “I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.” Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And he said, “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (Luke 16:27-31).
The Other Lazarus Did Rise
Lazarus was a destitute man who lived a miserable life as a beggar. He suffered from sores that covered his body. Hunger was his constant companion. Dogs were his only friends. Death finally took his misery away as angels carried him to the bosom of Abraham. Around the same time of Lazarus’ pitiful death another man died. He remains unnamed with only the significance of a rich man. In life he lived at the pinnacle of society with all the finery and good health man could know. Friends were always close by and the rich man’s five brothers enjoyed the material life of splendor. Like Lazarus he died too. Now the story takes a profound change.
Before death the rich man was happy and Lazarus miserable. After death Lazarus was comforted and the rich man? The rich man would have begged to have the misery of Lazarus. What he experienced was beyond the imagination of suffering. In his pleas to Abraham he realized how his five brothers were living begging Abraham to send Lazarus to tell them of the awful place he found himself. God does not permit it. The rich man believed too late that if someone came from the grave his brothers would believe. Abraham explains that belief comes from hearing the word of God; not dead men.
Ironically Lazarus did rise from the dead. Not the Lazarus from our story but the Lazarus who was the brother of Martha and Mary, friends of Jesus. When Jesus came to Lazarus he had been dead four days and the tomb sealed. Calling him forth Lazarus came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes. The Lord tells the people to loose him and let him go. Martha and Mary were elated to have their brother back. Friends and family marveled greatly at such a great miracle. They knew that Lazarus was dead and yet he lived. What a testimony he could give about coming back from the dead. It would seem logical that everyone would believe in Jesus now. But there were many Jews who went away plotting to kill Jesus. Abraham was right. A Lazarus did rise from the dead but many did not believe.
After the resurrection of Jesus many dead arose from their graves going into Jerusalem appearing to many. Dorcas was raised from the dead by Peter in Joppa. The Hebrew writer speaks of those who received their dead raised to life again. Countless examples of exactly what the rich man pled with Abraham to do and yet more did not believe than believed. Dead people raised do not save – the word of God saves. Sadly if it were the will of God to allow the dead to be raised today the majority of people would not believe. Why? Because the resurrected Word – Jesus Christ – is proclaimed through the pages of the Bible and men do not believe. If men will not believe what the Bible teaches they would not believe if Abraham Lincoln rose from the dead. The other Abraham was right. Truth is in the Word. Now that is a great story.