February 17, 2017

What If . . . ?

Luke 16:22-31

If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

—  Luke 16:31

What if . . . ? This question came to mind while I was thinking about the rich man’s plea to send Lazarus to warn his ­brothers. What if someone came back from the dead—would people pay attention?

What if someone like Mother Teresa came back from the dead to tell millions of viewers on TV and the Internet that there is life after death, that it matters how we treat the poor here on earth, and that someday we’ll have to give account of what we did for them? Would that lead people to obey God and make changes in their lives?

The rich man in Jesus’ parable seemed to think so. He asked Abraham to send someone back to earth to warn his brothers. In the response from Abraham, however, Jesus set the record straight: if people refuse to listen to God’s Word, they won’t be convinced of its truth even if someone returned from the dead to tell them.

Jesus knew the stubbornness of people’s hearts. Today we have not only “Moses and the Prophets” but also the New Testament, which makes clear that Jesus himself rose from the dead so that we can have eternal life with him. But not everyone believes they need a Savior. It takes the Spirit of God, working in our hearts, to convince us. So Christ calls us to live by God’s Word, share it with others, and ask God’s Spirit to reveal the truth to them also (see John 16:7-15).

Lord, thank you for your Word and for salvation in Jesus. By your Spirit, help us to share your love and truth everywhere. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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