Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 8th

The Main Thing

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

These words conclude a parable Jesus tells of a rich man, and a poor Lazarus who lay at his gate, desiring to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. When they both died, Lazarus was brought to Abraham's bosom, while the rich man went to hell. In hell, being in torment, the rich man saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. He called out to Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool his tongue. But Abraham refused, reminding him that between them lay a great fixed chasm that no one may cross it. The rich man begged Abraham to send him to his father's house to warn his five brothers, lest they also go to hell. But Abraham replied, They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them. But he said, No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead they will repent. Abraham replied, If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke 16:16-31)

Here in hell, for the first time, this rich man feels concern for his brothers. Yet his torment is increased since he can do nothing about it. Many feel this is unfair; if God really does not want men to go to hell, then why not allow a warning to help keep them from hell? But that misses the point of Abraham's words. This rich man's request is not denied because God is unwilling to give as much opportunity as possible; he is denied because it is useless; it will not work. As Abraham points out, if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, they won't be convinced if someone rises from the dead.

How accurately this portrays our desire for the spectacular! Many feel that if they could only see a miracle, or be spoken to by an angel, then they would believe. But how many who saw the miracles in our Lord's day still believed in him at the end of his life? Even when Jesus himself returned from the dead, men did not believe. Abraham is right. The most convincing proof is Moses and the prophets — the Word of God, especially that Word made flesh, come to dwell among us.

The rich man was in hell because he refused to heed the words of Moses and the prophets. Lazarus, on the other hand, was in heaven simply because he did believe Moses and the prophets, and he made God his helper and trusted in him.

The main thing in life is to heed what God has said, to heed Moses and the prophets. You and I are the five brothers who are left behind. You may be young, sauntering through life like these five brothers thinking, I'll enjoy life now; I'll handle the next life when it comes along. But the point of this story is that our then is determined by our now. You are here now to learn reality, to distinguish good and evil, and to appropriate God's method of deliverance. Unless you learn these things now, there will be no glorious life to come. Thus the main thing is Moses and the prophets, especially the last and greatest of the prophets, who tells this story!

Lord Jesus, thank you for these clear words that bring life into focus again. May I listen to Moses and the prophets, and the One of whom the prophets spoke, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Life Application

Am I looking for a convincing sign from God or preparing for the life to come by listening to Moses and the prophets?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Main Thing

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