Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Other Lazarus

The following is not meant for so-called babes in Christ, nor those weak in faith.  Nonetheless, be assured that our Heavenly Father will come to the rescue of all who will accept His help with their struggles against doubts and fears.

NOTE: I really messed this up before.  Hopefully, it will flow much easier now.

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

The Lazarus Christ Jesus raised from the dead is the one foremost in the minds of most in the Christian community, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.  There is, however, another Lazarus we would do well to not ignore.

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’  But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” [Luke 16:19-31 NAS]

Yes, many a sermon has been preached about how the materially rich man found himself in Hell after his time as a part of this world came to an end while the materially poor Lazarus went straight to Heaven, and there is a good reason for this.  For there is no denying what Christ Jesus said about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a materially rich person to enter into His Kingdom of Heaven [Matthew 19:16-24], but it should be noted that Abraham was the richest person (both in regards to material wealth and having a very close and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father) in this entire world at the time of his physical death, and that he received even more when he entered into our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom of Heaven to spend all of eternity with Him as a full and equal heir to all that is His in glory.

Be assured that I have been given more to say about that, but what I am supposed to be focusing upon at this time is the rest of the materially poor Lazarus’ story.  For he died an apparently horrible physical death from starvation and over-exposure to the elements.

Now, if you are not familiar with my story, be assured that this message is not being given through someone in a place of relative comfort and security in the eyes of this world.  In fact, the best way to describe my life in this world for the last 20 years or so is that it has been torturous.

No, I am not afraid of dying—neither physically, nor Spiritually.  I am, however, terrified of having to face even more misery than I have been.

Oh, but I do have a very specific promise to cling to.  For a while back, I clearly heard our Heavenly Father distinctly tell me, “I will take care of you.”  Still, did He not also take care of Lazarus?

The plight of the materially poor Lazarus should be taken into account whenever we want to assume that everything is going to be what we naturally consider to be all right.  For it is made obvious that our Heavenly Father loved him just as much as He does any of us.

No, none of this is meant to suggest that our Heavenly Father really is as cold-hearted as He has made Himself appear to be in the eyes of this world, but nothing should be taken too much for granted.  For the examples given in His Holy Scriptures of Him coming to the rescue of different individuals are just examples of what He MAY do for others.  Woe be it unto those who make promises in His name that they are not authorized to.

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Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Great post brother. That story about Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha and the story about the rich man and Lazarus are both very important stories. All of the Bible is filled with very important stories.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead we are able to see how merciful and wonderful and powerful He is, and how the heavenly Father worked through Jesus for His will to be done here on earth and is still doing so today, through each of those created for His glory.

That story about the Rich man and Lazarus has a very profound message. It gives us hope as poor people and it shows us how we must, while we are still physically alive, seek Jesus and trust in God before the time we have in this body in this side of life has ended. We can no longer repent after we are physically dead, there is no repentance from the grave, you can only repent from spiritual death while you are still alive and are able to.

Right now we have Gods mercy through all His longsuffering. He wants us to trust in Him, to turn to Him and confess of our sins now, so we too can inherit the promise.

Great post dear brother. It is true that we should not forget about the second Lazarus. :-)

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Thanks for stopping by, my dear Sateigdra!!! As you already know, the key is to want to truly have a very close and personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. For there is a big difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing them, and it is only because of the very close and personal relationship that I have been allowed and enabled to have with Him that has kept me from blowing my brains out long ago. For He keeps personally reassuring me that my suffering has not been in vain.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Praise God, the enemy want's us to take the easy way out and kill ourselves or harm others. I used to have thoughts of suicide myself long ago, but by the grace of God I am here, and I am here to say that He is real I have gotten to know Him and daily I'm learning more and more about how loving He is. I'm so glad you mentioned the difference between knowing someone and only knowing about them. Since I was a child I only knew of God, from church and places like that, but it wasn't until I repented, it wasn't until I was drawn by my Father that I was able to really know God and I'm still learning about Him. Many don't know the difference and that is going to be the destruction of many. Lets keep spreading the truth and pray God provides the increase in these people.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Thanks for stopping by again, my dear Sateigdra!!! Be assured that I greatly appreciate the encouragement. Have you had time to go over those three chapters of Bittersweet Refinements yet?