Imagine being friends with a simple carpenter, only to find out one day that this seemingly ordinary man was, in fact, the Messiah. Imagine learning that your friend is more than just a man: He can heal lepers, He can call crowds of thousands, He can move hearts with just a word, and He has made powerful enemies. What would it be like to be this man’s friend as all this goes on? What would it be like to grow ill and need your friend’s healing? You grow sicker, but your friend never arrives to help you. What would it be like to lay dying and have your friend, the one who could save you with a word, not show up?
How would you feel? Angry? Betrayed? Would you still have faith?
This is the story of one such man, Lazarus, who was indeed friends with Jesus. While Jesus ministered to thousands, Lazarus became ill. Jesus could have healed him, but didn’t, and Lazarus died. Four days later, Jesus finally arrived and was greeted by Lazarus’ grieving and angry sisters, accusing the Savior of forgetting his friend. Jesus wept. Then, Jesus went to Lazarus’ tomb, not to mourn, but to raise His friend from the grave. Jesus hadn’t forgotten Lazarus. It was all in God’s time.
This is a story for everyone who has felt abandoned and betrayed by God, when things kept getting worse and God would not answer. Sometimes the answer is not “No,” but “not yet.” Faith is easy when things are going right, but much more difficult in times of trouble. This story is about knowing that God never forgets us. He does have a plan for us.
Eventually, we are all Lazarus.
This tale is more than just the Lazarus story we know and love, though. It is also a story of forgiveness and redemption. It is a story of seekers and their quest to understand who this Jesus is. It is a story of the faithful and the doubts they experience when things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to. It is about having our faith tested, our worldview shaken, and the bonds of friendship that carry us through.
Cast of Characters
Lazarus: A simple fisherman with no particular desire to be involved in anything out of the ordinary. He gradually grows sicker until he dies, only to be raised by Jesus.
Jesus: Son of God. He is a friend with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. He is pained to the core about having to let Lazarus suffer and die. While fully God, Jesus is also human.