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July 12, 2005

The Lazarus Connection

OFF TOPIC:: I know a few things about Lazarus. I first became interested in him when I was researching for my book Touching A Dead Man.
Lazarus got sick one day and died. The Bible doesnt say what his illness was which is great because it allows you to self identify with him by inserting your own "illness" into the prognosis of the riveting story. The behind the scenes story line is that Lazarus and Jesus were very good friends, intimate in a nonsexual way, I would even venture to say. I know this because after Lazurus died and Jesus came to see the family and he "wept". The Jews remarked with awe "see how he loved him." The personal pain and conflict in a story like this is difficult to digest. Here is Jesus with the demonstrated ability to heal sickness, but when the sisters called for him to come, he didn't. Even though he held them in high regard and loved Lazarus, he didn't budge. I'm sure they thought that Jesus just didn't understand the seriousness of the situration. What kind of friend is that? Most of us wouldn't have spoken to Jesus again as long as we lived, had he snubbed us like that during a time of crisis. Perhaps you have fallen out with a friend because they didnt show up when you needed them. Are you sure you understand why? You have to know this man's heart...and his purpose though. His heart beat hard and fast to rush to Lazarus' bedside, lay his hands on him and lift him up, but God had a greater purpose for this. Even though the disciples (clueless) warned him not to go back, Jesus revealed this was about something on the grander scheme of things. This is for the glory of God.
Anyway, as the story goes, Jesus calls Lazarus from his grave of four days and in front of all the traditionally correct (tc) Jews he told them to "loose him and let him go." This was akin to saying "Go eat 3 slices of bacon". Levitical law stipulated that to touch any dead thing would instantly defile. But Lazarus was alive wasn't he? He was, but not to the traditionally correct. So they had a BIG problem with that.
There are far too many deep, life changing lessons stitched into John 11:1-44 (I suggest you read it from the Message Bible version) for me to tell you about here. Get my book for the full Monty.
The other day, I read an unlikely story in which Billy Graham's evangelistic heir apparent, Bishop TD Jakes of Dallas made reference to it. He was speaking to the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a liberal black media group. During his address to the group, Jakes used the Lazarus analogy to compare Lazarus' sickness to the ills ( among them homosexuality) plaguing many young blacks. Its refreshing to know that there is still a balm in Gilead and there is hope for those sick with sin. His name is still Jesus.

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