19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-29)
No father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent. He said to him, ‘If they don not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”
To true. This is actually the problem with Judaism from a Christian perspective. They in fact do not believe Moses and the Prophets. This is what Jesus gets at in another way in John 5: “ You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” It is also a problem we have within Christianity today, and not so much among the liberal churches, but with the fundamentalist churches. Judaism as you have it today is the Pharisaic Judaism that rejected Christ, and therefore did not believe Moses and the Prophets who pointed to Jesus. In some cases the Pharisaic sects have broken off into that which would more aptly describe the Sadducees. And these are the two ditches that also infect Christianity, legalism and liberalism which is really just it’s own type of legalism but at the opposite spectrum.
Moses and the prophets pointed to a man who rose from the dead. If you didn’t believe them you would not be convinced by the man who rose from the dead. Sinful man has a hard time with this, because the man who rose from the dead is not interested in you finding life through the law. He wants to forgive your sins, and bestow grace upon you.
The Pharisees did not think they needed Christ’s grace. They were rich, this was a sign of God having blessed them in their minds. That they were rich was proof enough of their sanctity. They could not see their sin. And this in turn made them treat others poorly, especially if they were poor. They would not know grace, they would not take charity, and therefore could not see themselves through to extend charity. This is a problem even today.
On the other hand, there are plenty who read this and think that somehow being poor is a sign of sanctity. That poor people are without sin and the only ones who don’t need the grace and forgiveness of Christ. They look at the rich as if it were the rich that were greedy, and do not see their own greed. This is not the moral of this story. Lazarus is in heaven not because he was poor and oppressed, but because he believed Moses and the Prophets, he trusted in God and therefore believed in the One who was raised from the dead.
The truth of this story is that it is only by grace, and not the law that man is saved. So we have no right to look down on another for being poor or for being rich.