Pentecost 19 Friday
“Then the rich man said: I ask you, father, to send Lazarus to my father’s house–for I have five brothers left–to testify to them, lest they too come to this place of torment. Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them.”
The rich man and Lazarus–these are the two examples we should never forget throughout our lives. In this way, we could have sure comfort in suffering and affliction and we could walk among temporal goods so as not to lose the eternal goods. It serves such teaching that our Lord Christ says furthermore that the rich man, when there is no hope for help for him, thinks of his brothers and asks Abraham to send Lazarus to them lest they follow the rich man’s example and be condemned as well. Yet Abraham simply denies him such request and says: “They have Moses and the prophets; let
them hear them.” Yet when the rich man keeps on asking, thinking that it would be more effective among them if a dead man came to them and preached to them than if they simply heard it in church, Abraham replies again and says: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, they will also not believe if someone rose from the dead,” Luke 16:30-31. The rich man realizes that, in order to escape such judgment, you would have to repent and have a different attitude than he. He also considers that other people could fare just as he did: Although they have God’s Word and preaching, they despise these and do not get better. This is why he thinks that nothing better could happen to his brothers than that an impressive preacher came along of whom people knew that he had died and that he is now in the future life so that he could really let people know how things are in the future life. And it is true, we ourselves think that the people would not despise this kind of sermon in the same way a sermon preached by ordinary men is heard and despised. Yet Abraham absolutely denies this and says: If you want to escape this eternal judgment and be saved, do not wait for another warning; just hear Moses and the prophets. They are the only way to escape eternal damnation and to get to salvation. Yet if you do not want to hear Moses and the prophets, it would be in vain if a dead man arose, or even if an angel or God himself preached–they would not believe it. This is what it means to praise the preaching office highly and faithfully to
exhort the people to hear the ordinary sermon; for there is no other means, by which to protect yourself from the horrible judgment of eternal damnation.