I have been stewing over something for a couple of weeks now. It's about Lazarus.
In John 11, we find Christ performing the final miracle of His public ministry. This event profoundly impacted the culture of the day. But the thing that I've been chewing on is: what did Lazarus experience while being dead for 4 days? Was he sleeping? Was he in Paradise? Biblical scholars have held differing views on the state of death. My view on the moment of death is consistent with reformed theology. We leave this body to instantly enter the presence of Christ. No sleep state. No limbus patrum. This, I believe, is true for the Old Testament and New Testament faithful (OT examples: Enoch and Elijah). For more on this, check out Grudem's Systematic Theology, Ch. 41.
So, Lazarus, being dead for 4 days, enjoyed the unfettered presence of God. What must it have been like? And, what was it like to be yanked back to this world? Did he know he was coming back? Did he ask, as Clarke asserts, if he would have to die again? One thing is for certain: this event so changed him that he became a threat to the religious leaders of his day. In John 12:10 - 11 we find that the chief priests were plotting the death of Lazarus as well, because, "on account of him many Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him." A close friend once said, "Death is a life-changing experience." That was certainly the case for Lazarus, and I think is an important lesson for me: my death and new life should be a life-changing experience. It should be one that makes me dangerous to the enemy, the establishment, and the brokers of religion. Can't you just see Lazarus sitting with different groups of people in the bars or city places telling them with great fervor and urgency about what he had seen, and what waits for those who have trusted Christ? God, drive me with that same urgency and fervor, to share with those who need to know, what waits for them on the other side of the grave!
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