Friday, March 14th, 2014
Skeptics (Part 11)
The Stubborn Kind
Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
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 16:25-31 (NKJV)*
As told by Jesus, The Rich Man and Lazarus is one of the saddest stories in the Bible.* It paints a sobering picture of hell--along with who might go up or down, and why. Consider it written to future Christians: those who would read the New Testament and follow Its Star.
In It, a rich man died and went to hell. A former beggar at his gates (Lazarus) went to Heaven. The rich man spoke with Abraham and called him 'father' while Abraham called him 'son'--indicating the rich man's birth status among God's chosen people. Obviously, birth status (being a Jew or a Christian) does not guarantee entrance to Heaven.
But the rich man's five brothers still lived--and he loved them. He asked Abraham if they could be warned of the coming danger that they might repent, but Abraham said they would not believe 'Though one rise from the dead.' Stubbornness is the most extreme kind of skepticism.
'Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry' (1 Samuel 15:23); 'So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels' (Psalm 81:12). When applied against God, stubbornness can be fatal.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: you're the opposite of stubborn. You're supple. You apply your talents to the world's most important mission field: arts and entertainment. But descendants of the rich man still live; they cling stubbornly to what the world says is valuable, because they don't know any better.
Although they might not believe in the One Who rose from the dead, they might come to believe in you: His stars who rise in media. Jesus, they cannot see, but you--they can. If you act like Him, shine like Him and love like Him, who knows? God said 'Love never fails' (1 Corinthians 13:8), and...
When love is applied to the concrete of a stubborn heart, who knows if it might not break? 'If God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the Truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will' (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
To Be Continued...
* The Rich Man and Lazarus: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+16:19-31
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Skeptics series.