Most historians agree that Benjamin Franklin never used Snapchat. So when you get a friend request from Ben_Franklin1776, it’s probably a fake account. But what if the real Benjamin Franklin sent you a snap? The dog-mask one that licks everywhere. He thinks it’s hilarious. He loves dogs I bet.
That’s ridiculous. Benjamin Franklin is dead, and dead people can’t Snapchat dog videos.
We’d listen to him if he came back to life though…right? If the real Benjamin Franklin showed up in your living room, and said, “Greeeeetings! I have a message betwixt us fellow knaves.” You wouldn’t shush him and say, “They’re about to do the rose ceremony! I know Justin’s going to pick Samantha. She’s perfect for him. And he’s willing to move from Atlanta so she can keep her job. They’re going to make it. I know they will. After the rose ceremony, Ben.”
You think we’d all listen to someone who came back from the dead, but you’d be wrong. Jesus told a much more serious story about it in Luke 16. There were some men who claimed they were quite religious. They even looked so on the outside, but Jesus knew their hearts.
The men worshipped money and fame rather than the God of love and grace. In Jesus’ story, one of the men looked an awful lot like them. His name was “rich man.” Not much of a name, really. The other was named Lazarus. He loved God and God’s Word.
When the men died, Lazarus went to be with Abraham in Heaven and the rich man was separated from them in a place of torment. He realized how wicked his life had been and said this across the chasm,
“I beg you, Abraham, send Lazarus 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.”
Abraham said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Spiritually deaf people won’t listen. They heard the Bible (Moses and The Prophets) for years, but hadn’t obeyed it. His story was a mirror in their face. But like the five other brothers, it wouldn’t bring repentance.
A life of hearing and a lack of faith are the two markers of spiritual deafness. Nothing – not even a Man rising from the dead – can convince those who have stopped up their ears with disobedience. May it not be so with us. By the grace of God, let us hear Moses and the Prophets testifying about the One who would set us free (John 5:39-40).