Lent Devotional: Luke 16:19-31

by Jonathan Haefs

Luke 16:19-31 (click here)
…he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 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 16:27-31)

I’ll believe it when I see it!

How many times have we said that? It’s almost like a mantra in our post-enlightenment age of empirical evidence. We want “just the facts Mam.” You know… some solid, demonstratable, scientific evidence. That is the kind of stuff that earns our trust.

But, this is not necessarily a “modern” demand. Even in the parable of Luke 16, we can see the dead rich man in torment cries out for his living brothers to be given proof. “If someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!” But will they? Do we really believe once we “see” with our physical eyes? Or… is there a different kind of seeing altogether that is required for believing?

That’s what the response of Father Abraham indicates. It doesn’t really matter if they see someone back from the dead… rebellious hearts will find a way to reason out such an encounter. “I imagined it… it was somebody else… I didn’t see what I thought I saw.”

The rebellious heart is blind… even when the physical eyes are fine.

What is required are the eyes of faith and sight is granted to them through the Word of God! “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).”

You see… someone has risen from the dead… Christ himself… and the rebellious still refuse to believe. But, through the Gospel, the Word of Christ, the Holy Spirit shines a light into dark hearts so that they may see the glory of God in the face of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6).

What the world needs… what we need… is not more proof, more evidence, more facts, and figures… what we need is more faith that comes through the Word of God. What we need is the Gospel!

The faith-filled heart believes… for through the Gospel it can see!

*All previous devotionals may be found at 
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.