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Lazarus [Lăz'arŭs]—god hath helped or without help.

  1. The beggar in the parable of the rich man. This is the only instance where Jesus gives a name to a parabolic character, and there was an idea in early times that it was not a parable but a story from real life (Luke 16:19-31).
  2. The brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 11; 12:1-17).

The Man Who Lived Again

Alexander Whyte comments,

Lazarus of Bethany comes as near to Jesus of Nazareth, both in his character, and in his services, and in his unparalleled experience, as mortal men ever come. Lazarus'name is never to be read in the new Testament till the appointed time comes when he is to be sick, ...to die, and to be raised from the dead for the glory of God. Nor is his voice heard. Lazarus loved silence. He sought obscurity. He liked to be overlooked. He revelled in neglect...The very Evangelists pass over Lazarus as if he were a worm and no man.

I. He is the subject of the greatest and most startling miracle of the gospel story.

II. He was the friend of Jesus, being loved by Him. Jesus wept at his grave.

III. His resurrection threatened the life of Jesus. The Sanhedrin were determined to put Him to death.

IV. His attendance at Simon’s banquet excited the enthusiasm of the people (John 12:9, 17, 18).

After his presence as an honored guest at Simon’s house, Lazarus vanishes from the gospel story. Of all men, he should have stood by Jesus at His trial and crucifixion. Doubtless Lazarus was forced to flee, seeing that the infuriated elders determined his death (John 12:10, 11). With a deep affection for his Friend, Lazarus would withdraw more for His sake than for his own. He felt his presence only increased the Master’s danger.

Devotional content drawn from All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. Used with permission.

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