In today’s gospel we proclaim the Lord’s raising of his friend Lazarus, from the dead.
While little more is known about Lazarus, there are a few things we can infer, as students of human nature, and from the totality of the scriptures.
First, it appears that there was more than a simple “friendly” relationship between Jesus, Lazarus, Martha and Mary. They interacted much more as cousins would … or at least, some type of closely related “kin”.
Next, it is clear that Jesus knew full well that Lazarus was ill, that Lazarus would die, and that his sisters (and neighbors) would be wracked with grief, yet Jesus deliberately delayed his journey to Bethany, so that Lazarus would not only certainly be dead, but already in a state of decomposition.
Jesus knowingly permitted all these people to suffer, for the greater glory of God.
John 11:14 Then Jesus therefore said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Martha was so upset that she actually scolded Jesus. Mary was so upset, she wouldn’t come out to greet Jesus. She didn’t even leave the house. (Another reason to think they might have been in some way, related.)
John 11:21 Martha therefore said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died.
The others were so upset that they could hardly speak. They were too broken up even to explain where Jesus could find the tomb.
John 11:33-34 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see.
Jesus was not unaffected by this.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
Of course, Jesus called Lazarus out from the tomb, and Lazarus came forth alive (from all accounts, looking like a “mummy”.)
Yet, many still did not believe in Jesus. The Pharisees continued to plot against him, and the high priest prophesied (correctly) that Jesus would die for the people.
The gospel accounts pretty much explain all that happened next, except for one thing:
What eventually became of Lazarus?
The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us: The Saturday before Palm Sunday, Lazarus took part in the banquet which Simon the Leper gave to Jesus in Bethania (Matthew 26:6-16; Mark 14:3-11; John 12:1-11). Many of the Jews believed in Jesus because of Lazarus, whom the chief priests now sought to put to death. The Gospels tell us no more of Lazarus (see ST. LAZARUS OF BETHANY). But some unverified legends did spring up.
How many times is a man obliged to die?
Hebrews 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment…
So, did Lazarus taste death again … or not?
What do you think?