My name is Lazarus and I’m a believer of Christ. Jesus and I became great friends after meeting outside a synagogue once. I heard him at the synagogue and loved the way He preached. He was so energetic and commanding at the same time. He even smiled as He preached. His messages were so powerful! What more is that I’m from Bethany and he’s from Nazareth. I met him when He was on one of His trips. He said He used to be a carpenter and now He goes around telling everyone about God the Father. (Yes, we have a Father!) Believe me when I say I was blown away by Him. He travelled and preached all the time! And He was so passionate about what He did. (I guess you could call Him an influencer of my time. Haha!) I knew then that we’d be great friends.
And that is exactly what happened. Despite Him travelling so much, He would always remember my sisters and me. He would stay over at our house when He would pass by Bethany and we were delighted to host Him. He said a lot of things that made me think; a lot more that inspired me to change my ways. No wonder everyone loved Him so much. He told us we are loved, cared for and valued. Those are the things we long to hear. But of all the things He said, there was one in particular that was stuck on my mind for long. I believe it is recorded in the gospel according to John, 10:10? He was preaching about the shepherd and how He is our shepherd and then He said He’s there to give life and give it in abundance, unlike the thief who comes to steal and kill. It is true I felt liberated practising His way over mine, but I never fully realised the meaning of this teaching until I died.
One day, out of the blue, I suddenly fell ill. I assumed it was a fever and didn’t bother too much. But it slowly started getting worse. Within a day I got so weak that I couldn’t get out of bed. My sisters called the physician to come see me but he could not understand what was wrong with me. I slowly started to feel hopeless, but this one message would constantly come to mind. By the end of that day, I couldn’t eat or drink. The fever made me murmur and I imagined seeing Jesus there for me. My sisters said I, with my eyes closed, would repeatedly say ‘Life… In abundance’. By then even they lost hope. They tried to contact Jesus but before the message reached Him, I breathed my last. Shattered, my sisters laid me in the tomb.
Everyone said I died young. I believed my passing was sudden. I thought, believed and hoped for a long life. Especially after hearing Jesus speak, I thought I’d live a long life. And believe it or not, I did! But I didn’t think of that when I died. I was upset that Jesus didn’t come. Upset that it all ended so fast.
I remember feeling darkness. Yes, feeling darkness. Fear was my only friend and nothingness surrounded me. I felt trapped. I don’t remember much of what happened there, but if you ask me I’ll tell you it felt like I was stuck there for years. But being stuck gave me a lot of time to think; think about my life, my family and friends. About things I could’ve done better and people I could’ve loved more. And yet, the message of Jesus ran through my mind. “Life in Abundance”
Suddenly I heard my name. I thought I was imagining it. There was no one with me, who could be calling my name? And I heard it again. This time more distinctly. It sounded like Jesus! My friend Jesus was calling out to me! He said “Come Out” and I was so confused. In that moment I believed in life and suddenly I could breathe again! (It smelled awful and I realised that I was the source of the stench) I opened my eyes and moved my fingers. I got up and saw a light. Slowly I started walking towards it. I could hear Martha still crying and Mary’s quiet sobbing. I saw a person who looked like Jesus. No, wait! It was Jesus! He embraced me so tightly and I could’ve sworn I saw tears in His eyes! I trusted Him enough to believe and He loved me enough to bring me back.
The second time I lived, life was a lot more meaningful. Most times people would stare at me in horror and I would assure them at I’m not a ghost. The constant whispers soon turned into shouts of victory when they realised I’m back. (Some even believed I faked my death!)
As for you living in a world that only believes in YOLO, I can tell you that you live again and again and again every time you believe. I’m Lazarus of Bethany and I’m telling you that Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said He is the way, the truth and the life! I am the living proof of it.