Monday, July 03, 2006

Lazarus

No ladies, there's not a holiday sale at your local department store. There's this story in the Bible that's got me to thinking. It's the story where Jesus' friend, Lazarus, dies and four days later Jesus comes on the scene and brings him back to life. I've used this story numerous times for funeral messages as it shows a Jesus who is close to the broken hearted. But this week, as I studied this passage in order to teach it on Sunday, I thought of something that I had never before considered.

Stay with me on this.

If I'm right in believing that our spirit departs from our body upon death and immediately enters either Paradise or Hades [based upon our faith or lack there of], and Lazarus went to Paradise to be in the presence of God, then when Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead he actually removed his friend from the presence of God in order to extend his physical life on earth.

If that be true, am I the only one who thinks that Lazarus may have gotten the short end of the stick? Sure, his two sisters were tickled pink, but Lazarus has just been hanging out in the presence of God for four days and was no doubt lovin' it and all of the sudden he's jerked back to earth and life as usual. Bummer.

The only way I can make sense of it is to think that maybe God graciously gave Lazarus a dose of heavenly amnesia and therefore he was unable to recollect how incredible the other side really was.

Just a thought. I'd love to hear what you think.

7 comments:

Sandi said...

Well uncle Bill said when he gets there, he wants to stay! Yes that is an interesting thought.

And, uncle Bill says, "Chad is a very impressive young man, and uncle Donnie should be very proud".

And, you have a wonderful way of writing your thoughts.

And, likes your messages!

Lazarus represents to me - faith.

Aunt Sandi

Matt Coulter said...

Much deeper than my Poison post :)

That does make you think... alternately, what if that gave Lazarus a different impression of Jesus once he came back to his body. I mean he would be the only person to experience that presence of God and then apply that to the earthly Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Chad, one of the things I love about the story of Lazarus is John 11:4, says "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it." God was using the healing power of Jesus to show HIS GLORY. Jesus could have healed Lazaurs right away, but He had more than one purpose in doing so.....He was still trying to teach his discpiles about the events to come with HIS death and resurrection and the witnessing of Lazarus resurrection only reiterated even more to the disciples what they would experience with Jesus and the belief that Jesus is all and above all and in all. The second thing I think Lazarus healing accomplished is....Jesus knew that Lazarus was going to resurrect, but yet He wept knowing the greif and pain of Mary and Martha. God gave us this story to show that even though Jesus is God, He is perfect, "he wept" because I weep and God wanted us to grasp the deep love and compassion Jesus has for us. He had to weep to feel what we feel, grief, so that He could die for 'our sins' that we might know true healing ONLY through Him! I really don't think Lazarus went to Heaven, but if He did he knew God's plan and His glory was what needed to be accomplished. I am sure Lazarus would "give up" Heaven knowing that others were brought to Jesus because of his resurrection.

Wow dude this stuff is way too deep for me! By the way I do like the Lazarus store, but it now called Macy's. I hope you have a good 4th. Say Hi to Emrie for me!

Ms. Heather

AngieS said...

We've discussed this in our small group studies. Even though I do think that God must have given Lazarus some sort of "buffer for re-entry"--amnesia or whatever--still, when he was first realizing that he had to go back, that had to be an excruciating moment!

And what a great thought, MattC, about how Lazaraus would have been the only person to experience the presence of God and then apply that to the earthly Jesus. Wow! That's something to think about.

keith said...

Do you think, in Heaven, they had a welcoming party for Lazarus?

And then a going away party for Lazarus?

And then when he died the second time, another welcoming part when he came back the second time?

On a serious note, while you make the point that Lazarus might have got the short end of the deal, Jesus CHOSE to leave that bliss and glory to come here an be rejected, suffered and crucified for us.

chris Jones said...

I have thought that before also. I think that there must be something that keeps Lazarus from remembering or understanding what he experienced after death. If not then I am sure that he would have been very busy telling people exactly what Heaven was like. This is also true for all of the people whom God brought back from the dead. Euticus, the little girl.

I wonder though how it would change the way we live if we could visit heaven like Lazarus did and remember it?

CHris Jones

Evan said...

I've always wondered what Lazarus thought when Jesus told him to come back. An Elder at our church said there's a song about it.

I have read Max Lucado's somewhat humorous, but insightful comments on the subject of Lazarus. You can see it for yourself, in his second most-recent book--"Come Thirsty." It's chapter 4, and the chapter is entitled "When Death Becomes Birth."

It's worth checking out at the library just to read it.