This has to be the strangest story in the Gospels: the “raising” of Lazarus.
From beginning to end it is vague, ambiguous and at one time just plain silly.
It has Jesus not being able to make up his mind and not seeming too bothered about this person he “loved”. It has suicidal followers and confused women and there are even hints that it all could have been a staged affair. And in my opinion for this story to be included in the scriptures it has to mean something other than the “miracle” the gospellers want us to believe it is.
The first thing anyreader of the gospels will notice is that this “miracle” appears only in John’s Gospel although, it is now known that the story once appeared in Mark's gospel but has since been expunged. So here, right away, we have a why? And a why?
It begins with Lazarus falling sick and his sister Mary (the one who had anointed Jesus Earlier) sending word to Jesus of the “sickness” and who had decided it was a nice day and would take a stroll down to the river Jordan for the day which was about a mile away. John 11:1-3 KJV.
On arrival they blurted out that Lazarus “who he loved” was sick. Jesus’ response is somewhat dismissive with him saying Lazarus is not going to die and decided that there was no urgency to Lazarus’ “sickness” and decided to extend his holiday down by the river for another two days and even contemplated taking an excursion into Judea were it was known that the Jews wanted to “stone him”. 11:4 -8.
Jesus then makes comment about a man stumbling around in the dark
But then tells his disciples that Lazarus is asleep and then he tells them “plainly” that Lazarus Is now dead!
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death:but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly,Lazarus is dead.
So above, so far we have Lazarus, sick but not in any critical danger of dying, Jesus not worrying too much about and tarrying & dallying a further “two days longer”. Lazarus“asleep” and then, Lazarus is dead which is in complete contrary to what Jesus said at verse 11:4. He is not going to die.
How did Jesus even know that Lazarus was dead? When they were still at the river location?
Then there is this enigmatic and ambiguous statement from Jesus himself:
“And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him”.11:15. ?????
“And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there” ?
Why was he “glad”? And why for their sakes”?
“to the intent ye may believe”?
“Believe what”? This Is beginning to sound all put up in advance.
Still, they“go to him”, the now dead Lazarus.
But not before saying this enigmatic and outrageous statement:
““Let us also go,that we may die with him.”!!!!!? 11:16
Yes, you read that correctly. These apparent suicidal disciples or at least one, wanted to “die”with Lazarus!
Why? They were one minute having a nice relaxing tarry and a chat down by the river where there was no sense of urgency about his “sick” friend who he “loved”, next minute, this disciple suggests he and all those that were there should go die too.
And it simply has to be recognised; that there are absolutely no mentions or indications at this point that Jesus is even contemplating raising Lazarus from the dead! Or even spoke of raising the dead Lazarus or anyone else.