Take a moment and think about the most infamous brothers in the Bible.  I bet names such as Joseph, Jacob, Esau, Cain or Abel come to mind quite easily.  Or maybe even the New Testament’s thunderous pair James and John?!  I am willing to bet that the name Lazarus never crossed your mind.  As a brother to the pair of sisters Mary and Martha, he often fades into the background as a supporting character who is simply necessary for the story.  However, he never faded into the background in the eyes of Jesus and the sisters knew this. When things started to get bad, they sent word to Jesus with the simple phrase, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”  They didn’t even need to mention his name, they only had to mention His love.  It was this love that compelled Him to change His plans and immediately return to Bethany.  No—that’s not how the story goes!  Instead, it was His love that compelled Him to stay two more days.  Can you imagine how that must have felt to Lazarus as he waited… did he feel like the forgotten brother?

Let’s keep our creative thoughts focused on Lazarus for a moment longer.  What kind of sick person was he?  Was he an Ecclesiastes 1:2 kind of man quoting “everything is meaningless” while his sister’s spoon fed him quail noodle soup?  Or did he reach to the Psalms for encouragement, meditating with great passion “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Psalm 18:1) as his own strength began to fade.  Regardless of how he spent those last moments, he was a man whom death came for.  Think about that.  Lazarus was dead.  What did he see and experience in his days apart from his body?  The Bible stays silent on this issue, so let’s focus on what it does say.

We know that those who believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11: 25) will never die and that “He will wipe every tear from their eyes and that there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).   There will be a new order of endless love, joy and perfect communion with God. Was that what Lazarus was drawn away from when Jesus called his name and brought him back to life?  What a bummer of a miracle to leave such a wonderful place!  Though I’ve got more questions than answers, I think the sight of the Son, when the grave clothes were stripped from his face, was breathtaking as he saw the light of men and the glory of God giving light and life.

Jessica Klootwyk
Groups and Women’s Discipleship Director

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