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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him [Lazarus] 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.’”—Luke 16:27-28 (NKJV)
As we conclude the parable concerning the rich man and Lazarus, we come to an interesting and heartbreaking conclusion. By way of reminder, the rich man, who seemingly had it all together in this life, is now suffering in Hades. After requesting some relief for himself (and being denied), he asks that his family be warned of the consequences to come.
In a way, that’s a noble request. I mean, since his own fate is sealed, isn’t it a good thing to try and help those who still have a chance to change their destiny by correcting their course? It is, but take note of the means by which he expects them to be helped. He wants Lazarus to appear to them and sort of “scare them straight.”
Abraham’s answer is something we can’t overlook: “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 16:29-31 NKJV).
Notice that Abraham doesn’t say, “Oh, you’re right . . . a supernatural appearance by Lazarus will take care of everything. One look at him and your brothers will instantly respond as they should.” Instead, Abraham points to the written Word of God, which says, “That’s all they truly need.”
This is really fascinating, because I think we’d sooner side with the rich man than Abraham on this one. I mean, an apparition from the afterlife telling us to do something . . . that’d be enough for me! And yet, the reality is that God’s Word has, is, and always will be enough for those who are willing to believe it.
We live in an age that’s consumed by the consumption of more. Society is always looking for more . . . a better this or that. As soon as we lay hold of something new, it begins to feel old in our hands. It’s never enough.
In unapologetic contrast, God’s Word is presented to us as being “enough.” It’s all that’s needed to meet the greatest need anyone will ever have, even bridging the eternal gap between God and man. But for those whom God’s Word isn’t enough, nothing will ever be enough. There will always be the need for more, more, more.
What a powerful beat for this parable to end on! Where do we land with it? Do we put our hopes and expectations in the endless stream of substitutes for the one thing that’s enough according to Abraham? May God’s Word have its proper place in our lives.
DIG: What was wrong with the rich man’s request?
DISCOVER: What does Abraham’s response remind us as it relates to God’s Word?
DO: In what ways do you substitute the sufficiency of God’s Word in your life, and how can you break this tendency? Spend some time praying about this, asking the Lord to search your heart and reveal truths to you that you may not see in your own life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.