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Luke 16 v 31. “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Many bible scholars will attest that this story does not fall into the category of parable at all. Parables are based on things in this world such as wheat, tares and so on, which are then used to point to higher realities. But heaven and hell, to which the rich man and Lazarus went respectively, are not parables of higher reality because they are themselves the higher reality.

But obviously even if it is not a parable, it is a figurative description of the two men’s ultimate condition. Both in chapter 13 verses 22-30, and here in Luke 16, those who are locked out are presented as being able to see those who are admitted to the eternal feast or who are by Abraham’s side. In this story Jesus tells us, there is no door between them, but rather a huge gulf which prevents any crossing over between heaven and hell.

Now remember, there was no gulf between the rich man and Lazarus here on earth. Nor was it possible for the rich man to be ignorant of Lazarus’ condition. He could easily have loved his neighbours as himself. If he had treated Lazarus correctly it would have helped to develop his own moral character and brought joy to his life. But, instead, the rich man put a gulf between himself and the sick beggar.

Perhaps, unconsciously, we do this too, with our walls and locked doors. Notice that now in the eternal world there is a gulf of another kind that separates them forever. The rich man can now do nothing for Lazarus, nor does Lazarus need it. But look at this fact. The rich man died and he had to leave all his wealth and luxury living, behind. He has however brought one thing with him – his character. Such as it is, it is now fixed forever. Even his concern for his brothers is now a futile desire. He now sees what matters most but it is too late. And that thought torments him.

Here is a great lesson for us. Time is so valuable. We all have only this one life. In this one life we must do all we want to do. We must build our character, live our lives and prepare for eternity.

How foolish for anyone to reject Christ and his offer of salvation. It is our only hope.