Luke 16:29

ESV But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
NIV Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
NASB But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
CSB "But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.'
NLT But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’
KJV Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

What does Luke 16:29 mean?

This story is replete with meaning and irony. A rich man in Hades wants Lazarus, a former beggar who is now in paradise, to return to Earth to warn the rich man's brothers that if they don't change their lifestyle, they will wind up in torment with him. In life, the rich man ignored Lazarus and did nothing to allay the conditions that probably led to the poor man's death. Now, the wealthy man treats Lazarus much like a servant for himself and his brothers, who likely treat others the same way (Luke 16:19–28).

Abraham flatly refuses. Lazarus isn't going anywhere. The rich man's living brothers have Mosaic law. They have the messages of the prophets (2 Kings 17:13; Luke 16:16). So, they have everything they need to teach them how to live in a way that will please God. The rich man insists, no, "but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent" (Luke 16:30). Abraham responds, "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

Jesus is telling this story to a group of Pharisees. He had been teaching His disciples how charity characterizes the lives of God-followers. In fact, it's impossible to love money and God. The Pharisees love money and claim to love God, and ridicule Jesus (Luke 16:1–14). The Pharisees also claim to be devout followers of the Mosaic law. In fact, they devoutly follow manmade rules that seem consistent with the Mosaic law but allow for big loopholes. The Pharisees use their rules to justify their cruel treatment of others (Luke 11:46). They also claim to value all the Jewish Scriptures—our Old Testament. Somehow, however, they always seem to miss the myriad places where Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the Messiah. Instead, they determine that Jesus performs miracles on Satan's command, not by the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:14–15).

Abraham and the rich man go on to argue about the power of the witness of someone who has been raised from the dead. The rich man insists that if his brothers receive a message from Lazarus, they will believe. Abraham tells him if they don't believe the Law and the Prophets, they're not going to believe someone who rose from the dead (Luke 16:30–31). The Pharisees prove Abraham's point. Not only do they disbelieve when Jesus is resurrected, when Jesus raises the real-life Lazarus of Bethany, the Pharisees try to kill him (John 11:38–53; 12:9–11). The same concept applies to many skeptics today: "I do not have enough evidence, I need a miracle and then I will believe" is almost always an insincere, untrue claim (Romans 1:18–20; Psalm 19:1; Matthew 7:7–8).
What is the Gospel?
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