Most people don’t read on, or hear about what happened after he was raised from the dead. They are satisfied that he is alive and nobody is crying anymore. BUT, the next chapter we get insight into the rest of the story….
Lazarus is a target.
In John 12, right after the Lazarus story, it says: …they not only came to see Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus too.” As if dying wasn’t traumatic enough, now the life he has come back to is treacherous and the threat level just went through the roof. Or is it? How did Lazarus live the second time around? Seriously, what was different? You can’t just die, and I mean we are talking Dead DEAD – at least four days. – and come back to life and go on about your business as if nothing happened. Kind of reminds me of a question asked in a song: "Will I be different now? Or the same? Have I learned anything? Was it just a day or two set aside for thinking thoughts about You? If that’s all it was, I had a good time, but that won’t be enough for me. Not this day. Not anytime soon.”
It says right after this, “because of Lazarus many were coming to believe in Jesus.” (All the flannel-Jesus people read this and quickly go to that horribly cheesy place of, “Aw, look what Lazarus did for Jesus” kind of crap). Not today, please. I think Revelation 12:11 has something of how Lazarus lived: they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. He’d been dead once. What good would it do to be afraid of dying, again? Not only that, it is obvious, now, that he can’t be killed, permanently. So how does one live when the odds are in their favor? How does one live when there is nothing left to fear, to lose?
The beauty of the story is we are not given any details to the answer. Only the outcome.
Lazarus was living in such a way that he was a threat – a dyer threat – to the enemy. And isn’t it just like the enemy to think that killing him would solve the problem…forgetting that he had already been dead once? Isn’t the definition of insanity something like trying the same thing over and again expecting a different result? They have no other options.
Now there is a way to live. To be such a threat, to live so alive that you leave the enemies of life no other options. And the beauty is that even then, they still lose. ‘Cause you’ve died once, what’s your life to you to die twice? Live in such a way that you do not love your life so much that you are afraid to die.
Then you will be surely, fully alive, and probably piss a lot of people off, but what do you care? You are alive.
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die…He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death life wine.” – G. K. Chesterton.