“He said to them, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone returns from the dead.’”
Jesus tells a story of a rich man who lived in luxury every day. A beggar named Lazarus lived in misery at his gate.
Both the beggar and the rich man die. Lazarus is taken to heaven but the rich man goes to Hades to be tormented. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to him to cool his tongue with a drop of water. Abraham says that no one can cross from heaven to Hades.
The rich man then asks for Lazarus to be sent to warn his brothers. Abraham tells him that hey have the Law and the Prophets, and not even the testimony of a resurrected man will convince them.
We often think that if only God would do something spectacular then people would have to believe. There have been testimonies from around the world of people being raised from the dead. These experiences affect the person who has been raised and their immediate family, but seem to make little difference to the wider circle of people around them.
The rich man in the story remained unconverted even after death. He still thought that he was in control and that Lazarus was no better than a slave who was there to meet his demands. It seems that even judgement and hell will leave some people unchanged.
If spectacular death experiences leave people unchanged, what will change them? What does it take to persuade people? The key to changing hearts is prayer together with the story of God’s Good News. Only this will soften hearts that are closed to God.
Lord please show me who I should pray for and talk to about Jesus. Amen.