Talk of post-life experiences seem to be flooding our media channels. Movies and books about the afterlife are best sellers. I would recommend a new book on this topic from a Northern Seminary professor. In October, Scot McKnight’s book about heaven hit the shelves. The Heaven Promise offers a scriptural understanding of heaven. If you would like to explore this topic, I would highly recommend this book.
In this week’s parable, Jesus tells a story that includes a post-life scene. We find a rich man and a beggar. In this life, they live in striking contrast. But when death comes, the tide turns,
(Luke 16:22 NIV11-GK) The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.
The story involves a conversation between Abraham and the rich man across a great chasm.
(Luke 16:26 NIV11-GK) between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.
As we prepare to study Luke 16:19-31 on Sunday, it is important to understand this story as a parable. Jesus is not attempting to describe the details of the afterlife. This story should not form our doctrine of heaven or hell. Yet, this story exposes characteristics of life after death. In short, our earthly lives will impact our eternal destiny. In this story, we see a great reversal. The beggar suffers in this life and is rescued in the afterlife. In turn, the rich man lives in luxury in this world only to suffer in the next. In the end, the rich man pleads with Abraham to send the beggar to warn his family. Abraham responds,
(Luke 16:31 NIV11-GK) If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
This is the point of the story. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day are rejecting God’s movement in the world. While Jesus is breaking the laws of nature (calming storms, healing the blind and lame, even raising people from the dead), the religious leaders continue to reject Him. Join us Sunday as we explore the fascinating story of Luke 16:19-31.