In this update, I would like to share with you what I knew about Lazarus, what I wanted to know, and what I learned.
What did I know about him? He was a friend to Jesus, and as many others in Jesus life, he had a purpose that lead to God’s glory. He got sick and died. Jesus brought him back to life, and Lazarus would serve as an example of God’s power in a way that others could not. I think that Jesus wanted to heal his friend when he was sick, but there was a purpose and he couldn’t go against God’s will. I believe that because Jesus “groaned in the spirit” over the loss he and everyone else felt.
What did I want to know? Why was John the only one to record this miracle Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God,” so was it a sickness that was allowed to take his life? As with Job, did the Devil cause this sickness to come upon Lazarus? If his death and resurrection pointed towards Jesus’, then we know every moment was known to Him, right? Why was bringing Lazarus back to life such an offensive act to the priests? Was his sorrow for everyone’s loss and the knowledge it would lead to His own death? By saving Lazarus, Jesus was condemned, so is it symbolic of Jesus saving all sinners?
What did I learn? Jesus was put to death as a result of the miracle, because raising the dead was more than the religious leaders could accept. I believe John is the one to talk about this miracle because it was more intimate. Jesus often stayed with Lazarus and knew his family well, and John was the “disciple Jesus loved.” Maybe this was to prepare them, the inner circle, for what was to come. John’s experiences of Jesus’ love were so personal and deep, he was sensitive to the words and actions of Jesus that express how the one who is love loved others. I think he had more personal experiences to include in his account based on his relationship to Jesus.
Lazarus lived in Bethany and, while his death isn’t mentioned, Jesus’ visits there are mentioned in Matt. 21:17 and Luke 10:38. I believe the sickness was allowed to run its course, because in John 11:5 it says, “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next 2 days. Despite loving them and knowing what would happen, he stayed away. Sickness entered into the world with sin, so Lazarus was in fact under attack. Jesus knew he would become sick, the suffering and death before him, but He knew he would be raised. Jesus did what he must to carry out God’s plan. Love takes sacrifice.
Learn more about Heath and his story on his website.