Lazurus –what an amazing life –then death –then life –then death –and now life.

In John 11, Jesus raised him from the dead. (This is the passage where Jesus wept).

In the next chapter, John12, Jesus returned to Bethany to visit Lazurus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha six days before Passover. Naturally, large crowds gathered to see Jesus and to see the guy He had raised from the dead (Lazurus was famous now).

And then, as if Lazurus hadn’t had enough stress already (sickness/death/Jewish Paparazzi), the Bible gives us a disturbing piece of news:

So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. (John 12:9-11)

Wow. The chief priests just didn’t like Jesus –or anyone He had impacted.

New life in Christ simultaneously secures eternal life and jeopardizes earthly life. Think that’s extreme? Check out what Jesus says in John 15:20.

That’s not to say that believers don’t experience abundant life while here on earth. It just means that abundant life is much deeper than what is on the surface. After all, we find life in losing it! (Matthew 16:25)

It reminds me of missionary James Calvert:

When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.” To that, Calvert replied, “We died before we came here.”
-David Augsburger, Sticking My Neck Out

I can only imagine Lazurus saying something similar when his friends might have asked, “Aren’t you worried that the chief priests will kill you?” Maybe Lazurus would have said, “I already died.”

For those of us in Christ Jesus, we too have already died. And, similar to Lazurus (spiritually speaking), we have been raised to new life (Colossians 3:1). Death has no grip on us! “Whom shall [we] fear?” (Psalm 27:1)

That puts today’s trial into perspective, doesn’t it?

  • The ridicule from co-workers about my faith cannot harm me –I’ve already died.
  • The attacks on my counter-cultural worldview cannot destroy me –I’ve already died.
  • The persecution on my brothers and sisters in the underground church cannot rob them of their joy –They’ve already died.
  • The pain you experience for holding onto truth when your spouse hasn’t will not defeat you if you are in Christ –You’ve already died.

And so on…. Its just hard to kill someone who’s already died. After all, even Lazurus, who eventually “died” again, is still alive.

Because Jesus defeated death, and rose from the dead –you and I too can have the same testimony:

We lived, we died, and we will live –forever.