Luke 16 – The Great Gulf

If you didn’t like the word HATE in chapter 14 look away now.

The concept of hell is very unpleasant – it doesn’t sit well with our modern world view of tolerance and respect.  In one sense it doesn’t fit at all with Jesus message of hope for the lost.

But Jesus talks of the reality of Hell.  Of a place of punishment.  We have to take this seriously.

Many bible teachers hold a view that those who die without accepting Jesus simply remain dead – they are gone.  Others preach of a place of conscious separation from God, whether a place of increasing isolation (in CS Lewis excellent book The Great Divorce) or a more literal place of fire and torment.

This is uncomfortable reading and it would be wonderful to see this parable simply as allegory – a story to help us make good decisions.

Except Jesus doesn’t always speak of Hell in stories.

Uncomfortable yet?  Me too!

But what does this parable say?

I heard it read by Stuart Matthews, then the Rector of Sprotbrough .

I was stood holding the Gospel book (I was an altar server) and as he read this parable it came to vivid life in my head.  And the last words ring in my mind again as I write this.  The truth of this parable made clear to me simply by hearing it read well – no sermon – no exposition.  simply hearing it read, I am sure, as Jesus would have told it.

Luke 16:31 NIV

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.’ 

Even if someone rises from the dead.

If our hearts are dead set against what God says, then even a resurrection will not convince us.

Those who demand proof have already decided that the proof they already have is not enough.

What will it take to convince them?

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