Posted by: arieliondotcom | May 3, 2009


Luke 16:31   “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’

I Told You So

Luke 16:31   “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’

JESUS was invited to the home of one of the Pharisees on the most important days of the week for the most important meal of the week, the Sabbath dinner.  When we pick up on Him here in Luke 16, JESUS has been speaking for two straight chapters telling parables, one after the other, with the Pharisees crowding around him, listening, and eager to catch Him at something.  They, like He, believe in the LORD and the Law, even angels and the resurrection of the dead.  But they just can’t understand how He allows Himself to be surrounded by the worst of society.  Or to scoff at riches when He is obviously a pauper Himself and should be happy for as much money as He can get.

It’s unclear whether all of the parables are told in the house at dinner or in various other spots, perhaps as they leave the dinner in the Pharisee’s house and move around town.  But they are all linked.  Humility in doing the right thing for others, like healing the sick or rescuing their livestock and livelihood, even on the Sabbath.  Humility in not assuming the best spots in front of others but considering others more worthy than yourself and letting others raise you higher. Being humble enough to seek those who are in need of you and what you have, what you know, running to the prodigal with forgiveness rather than waiting on the porch in resentment, and being faithful in the use of money because it shows faithfulness of spirit with spiritual riches much more valuable than any money.

JESUS reminds them of Moses and the prophets calling them back to faithfulness to GOD but that they have been unfaithful to the very laws of Moses and the prophets by twisting the laws and allowing divorce and remarriage and justifying it.  Their confusion of priorities, earthly pride and riches that back it up over spiritual purity and strength, is leading them to hell.  Then JESUS tells them one more story to explain His authority in warning them about all of these things.

JESUS tells the story of a very rich man who could afford to dress himself in the best of the best and lavish every luxury of the day upon himself.  He lives in the best part of town and those who care for the poorest man in town, Lazarus, hope to provoke his mercy by placing Lazarus, so poor he can’t afford a doctor for the sores covering his body, at the rich man’s gate.  They hoped that the rich man could not help but notice Lazarus as the man went in and out of his house.  But he ignored starving Lazarus just the same.  The only attention Lazarus got was from dogs who licked his sores because he was too weak to fend them off.

Both men die and the rich man who had ignored Lazarus is in hell suffering flaming torment but can see Lazarus through the flames and smoke as if across a great canyon in coolness beyond, being hugged by Abraham the father of the Jewish faith.  The man cries out for mercy he never had to Abraham to send Lazarus (whom he still ironically considers unworthy of addressing) to help him.  But Abraham explains that they are each receiving the results of their actions.  The fruit has been harvested and it is too late to put it back on the tree.  The rich man in hell cries out for mercy again, this time on behalf of his family, but Abraham says they already have the Law and the Prophets and that if they do not believe those they will not believe even if a person comes back from the dead to warn them.

JESUS intentionally names Lazarus, perhaps thinking of one of his best friends.  But He deliberately doesn’t give the rich man a name.  We are each the rich man.  Each of the Pharisees listening to Him tell the story could put himself in the rich man’s place with his own name.  Even if we are not materially wealthy (though most of us are compared to most of the world), we are spiritually blessed with having all of the law and the prophets to study.  And, in them, to find JESUS, as He said that they spoke about Him.  (John 5:39)

Abraham and the prophets were calling to the Pharisees of the day.  They are speaking to you now from the Bible somewhere in your memory, in a hotel room drawer, in your house, in a church near your home, on the internet.  They are saying “I told you so.”

We have chosen what GOD is not and sought death instead of life.  Only the sacrifice of blood could atone, symbolized by the blood of a lamb and fulfilled by JESUS, the Lamb of GOD who came to take away the sins of the world through death on the cross.  Fully GOD and fully man.  He rose from the dead to give us life.  By faith in Him alone we can have eternal life and be restored as part of the new creation of His bringing all things back to GOD the Father through the power of GOD the Holy Spirit in us, all for the asking.

Ironically, JESUS is telling this story just a short time before He will die because of these same Pharisees with the same mindset as we have (had), denying Him.  He would die and come back from the dead.  He will be the One to come back from the dead to persuade them to choose Life in Him.  But would they believe Him?  Will you?

Those who choose Christ choose to die to this life in order to live His life in and for Him.  If you’re reading or hearing this, you now have the choice to either believe and accept that life in Him or have no excuse because I told you so.

In the movie “The Never Ending Story” a boy finds a magic book where the characters seem to come to life.  He can’t help reading about their adventures and suddenly one day sees them cross the barrier, looking through their reality into his, telling him that he must accept that he is the one being addressed.  He is the point of the story  He must accept his place in that life and existence he was destined for.  This reflects what JESUS says in John 17’s High Priestly prayer where He says that He prays not only for those disciples who where standing around Him.  He looked through the ages, through the pages of the Bible, and into your eyes as those who would believe because of their witness, like the prophets before them, of Him.  He is calling you to Life.

On that someday day after, when we find ourselves no longer in this world, how many will find themselves saying “If I had only known…” to hear Abraham, all the prophets, all of the disciples, all Believers throughout the ages and JESUS Himself looking at them as He looks up through this Scripture today across time, saying “I told you so.”


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