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The story of Lazarus, part II
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Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.

John 11:3 The name Lazarus is somewhat of a different name, apparently not a common one and not used popularly.

It is associated with only two men in the Bible. Luke records the story of a beggar named Lazarus in chapter 15 of his gospel. It is a compelling presentation of the life and after-life of a man who suffered much in this world, only to joy in the presence of the Old Testament Patriarch Abraham following death. This story has nothing to do with the only other man named Lazarus mentioned in the Bible except for the death experience and the powerful description of what happened next. Yes, both died, but one went to heaven and the other came to life again. However, I am getting ahead of myself, which is probably better than getting behind myself.

What I want to point out in this lesson is the fact that the sisters of Lazarus sent to Jesus this message, “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick” (11:3). We usually don’t think of Jesus as having friends. Disciples, yes. Followers, many.

Worshippers, lots. But friends? Not so much. We see Him as the Teacher, the Healer, the Miracle-worker, the Great Shepherd, the Provider of food for the multitudes. He who angered the money- changers in the temple was Public enemy number one for the Pharisees. But friend? When? Where?

Who? How? When did we ever see our Lord take time out to be friends with anyone? We tend to see Him as work-driven, all about the Father’s business, day and night pushing ahead with the Father’s plan. But friend?

That’s hard to see. But that’s what He was. Though never mentioned by Matthew, Mark or Luke, the story vividly presented by John reveals Jesus to be a deeply caring person who left His work to go see about His friend Lazarus.

There are others in the Bible who are called friends. Abraham was called “my friend” by the Lord in Isaiah 41:8, and the “Friend of God” in James 2:23. Moses was compared as a “friend” by God in Ex. 33:11. Jesus was the friend of Lazarus as evidenced by the words of his sisters, and also the very words of Christ when He said, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth” (John11:11).

It takes time to develop closeness and to become friends, but it happened between Jesus and Lazarus. No doubt eating together and talking with one anoth-er, the openness sharing of hopes and dreams brought about this relationship. You can also be a friend of Jesus. It will take time. It will take developing a relationship. But, you can do it.

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