Luke Ch 16 verse 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
This verse comes at the end of the story that Jesus told about a rich man and the poor man Lazarus, who both die and find themselves in different places, Hades, and in the arms of Abraham. Upon the rich man’s request to send word to his 5 brothers to warn them, Abraham responds with the words of this verse, which as we all know became a reality.
The books of Moses [the first 5 books of the Bible] and the Prophets formed a large and important part of the Old Testament, and it is to these that Jesus is alluding in this story. He is making the point that if those who read and studied these books were not persuaded by them, then nothing would convince them, not even if someone rose from the dead, as he ultimately did.
That last fact means that there is a certain irony to this verse, because don’t forget Luke’s Gospel was written some years after the resurrection, and he was writing to other believers who knew of the event.
We should also be reminded that if there were those who knew the Old Testament, and were around at the time of the resurrection, and yet still did not believe, then we should not be surprised at the apathy that we often receive in telling the same story.
As I said in a recent sermon, it was not information that transformed the lives of those 1st-century disciples, but revelation, as the risen Christ revealed himself to them. It is our personal experiences of the risen Christ that will ultimately prove to be the more powerful witness to those who do not believe, than any information.
Dear Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to those around us as our lives witness to the powerful transforming impact you continue to have on us, even today.