Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lazarus and Jesus



Introductory Note: According to the Bible, Jesus raised Lazarus from death.  What follows is mere fiction inspired by a friend’s questioning me on love. 

Fiction

“You’ve taken away my death, you’ve appropriated it,” Lazarus tried hard to suppress his anger.

“I gave you life,” said Jesus calmly, “new life.”

“You had no right to do it,” Lazarus was almost contemptuous.  “Look at me, Jesus, look into my eyes.  You had no right to bring me back from death.  Do you realise the gravity of what you’ve done?  You’ve destroyed the peace that I had found in death.  I can forgive you for that.  But you’ve upset the whole world of my sisters.  They were getting used to my death.  They were learning to accept it as an inevitable fact of life.  Do you know how absurd it is for anyone to live with someone who has come back from death?  What am I now to them?  A ghost?  They want to ask me what it is like there – beyond death.  They don’t ask because they are sensitive enough.  When they do, as they surely will in due course of time, what am I to tell them?”

“Tell them the truth,” said Jesus rather enigmatically.

“Truth!  What’s truth?”

Jesus did not answer.

“Ha!  You can’t answer that,” said Lazarus. 

“They love you, Lazarus.  I love you,” Jesus sounded consoling.

Lazarus became restless.  “Love had become unbearable,” he said.  “How could I ever reciprocate the love my sisters and you bore me?  My ailments were taking away all my love to themselves.  When did I ever have time to love anyone after taking care of my decrepit body?”

Lazarus had become calm.  “And now you say you’re going to die.”

“I’m going to be killed,” said Jesus.

“You chose death,” Lazarus paraphrased it.

“It’s not my choice, Lazarus.  It’s my destiny.  This is what I was born for.”

“What?  What were you born for?  To question the priests and their laws, to arouse their anger so much that they would demand your crucifixion and nothing less?  What will you achieve through that?”

“I won’t achieve anything.”  Jesus was quiet for a while and then he added, “The world will.”

“What will the world achieve?”

“The meaning of surrender.”

“Surrender!  Is that all what you have got to teach?  Is that the great destiny you came to fulfil?  You are a big fool, Jesus.  Love, sacrifice, surrender... You should have been born a woman.”

Jesus remained silent.   Was he really effeminate?  He asked himself.  Hadn’t he driven out of the synagogue the money-lenders and the traders of sheep and oxen?  Hadn’t he dared to question the priests and the Pharisees? 

Yet he knew that Lazarus was not entirely wrong.  At the bottom of all that fury lay the detachment of compassion.  What else prompted him to save the adulteress from the blood-thirsty crowd?  Why did he forgive everybody’s sins?  Why did he imagine himself as a shepherd who left the entire flock in order to seek out the lost sheep?  Why the sermon on the mount?  Why the miracles?

“You’re capitulating, Jesus,” said Lazarus.  “Perform one more miracle,” he pleaded.  “Transform yourself.  Stop teaching love to people.  Your love is a burden.  It demands the impossible.  At best people will start worshiping you as a god for teaching them that kind of love.  Nothing will change except their god.  Jesus in place of Yahweh.  An effeminate god in place of a vindictive god.  What use is that?  Change your teaching.  Teach them the merit of reason and wisdom.  Teach them to think.”

No, Lazarus, no.  Jesus said to himself as he got up and walked away.  The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.  It is love that my god hungers for.  It is love that all his creatures hunger for.  And that love is very demanding.  Endlessly demanding.  My death is a sacrifice on the altar of love. 

A few days later rose the cry from Calvary, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Lazarus was not alive to hear that cry.  





16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I wish you told me why it's interesting. Thanks.

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  2. Gem of a post...absolute gem! :)

    Regards
    Sammya

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  3. Wow! Loved it. I am becoming a big fan of your blog!

    Thanks,
    Ranjana

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  4. Your posts are such a breathe of fresh air ... there is something always interesting to read here ... Loved it !! Sharing it :D

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    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that, Sangeeta. Sometimes my writing tends to become obscure because of allusions not known to many. I'm trying my best to keep the writing simple and easily comprehensible.

      Thanks for the appreciation.

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  5. :)


    I waited for a few comments. Yet no one seems to have completely understood what you have written about, sir. It is only my humble assumption. Not a final verdict. But one thing is sure. They have understood the hunger for love in every human being...in your blog that makes it so demanding and charming.

    By the way, I feel happy that some friend of yours questioned you on love. I too admire love, not blindly follow it. :)

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    Replies
    1. This post, which I thought was one of my best, seems to be obscure for my readers; pity! Perhaps Biblical allusions make it difficult to understand.

      Jesus stood by love. I make Lazarus question its validity. Would rational human beings be better than loving human beings, given the fact that human love has always been very limited and conditional - that's the question I raise here. My personal choice is reason above love.

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    2. Oh, no sir not obscure. It is really too subtle that it takes some skill to understand. That's what I meant to say. Your conviction is valid. My choice is love with reason. ;

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  6. According to the Bible, how many Old Testament prophets raised people from the dead? Answer: Two. Elijah and Elisha.

    That's it. And they only did it three times. So the act of raising someone from the dead would have been seen as a very, very big deal. It was not like healing someone of a disease or casting out demons. Lots of people, it seems, could do those miracles. Nope, raising someone from the dead was the big kahuna of all miracles! Is there any instance in the Bible of a false prophet or a prophet of another god raising the dead?

    In the Gospel of John chapter 11, we are told that Lazarus had been dead for four days. His body was decomposing to the point that he stunk. Lazarus death and burial were very public events. His tomb was a known location. Many Jews had come to mourn with Mary and Martha and some of them were wondering why the great miracle worker, Jesus, had not come and healed his friend Lazarus; essentially blaming Jesus for letting Lazarus die.

    Let's step back and look at the facts asserted in this passage: Only two OT prophets had raised people from the dead, and these two prophets were considered probably the two greatest Jewish prophets of all time: Elijah and Elisha. If this story is true, the supernatural powers of Jesus were on par with the supernatural powers of the greatest Jewish prophets of all time! If this event really did occur, it should have shocked the Jewish people to their very core---a new Elijah was among them! This event must have been the most shocking event to have occurred in the lives of every living Jewish man and woman on the planet. The news of this event would have spread to every Jewish community across the globe.

    And yet...Paul, a devout and highly educated Jew, says not one word about it. Not one. Not in his epistles; not in the Book of Acts. Think about that. What would be the most powerful sign to the Jews living in Asia Minor and Greece---the very people to whom Paul was preaching and attempting to convert---to support the claim that Jesus of Nazareth himself had been raised from the dead? Answer: The very public, very well documented raising from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany by Jesus!

    But nope. No mention of this great miracle by Paul. (A review of Paul's epistles indicates that Paul seems to have known very little if anything about the historical Jesus. Read here.)

    And there is one more very, very odd thing about the Raising-of-Lazarus-from-the-Dead Miracle: the author of the Gospel of John, the very last gospel to be written, is the only gospel author to mention this amazing miracle! The authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke say NOTHING about the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Nothing.

    To continue reading:
    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2016/01/the-story-of-lazarus-is-blatant.html

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