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How would what Lazarus experienced affect his perspective on the events that followed?


I had been so miserable. The pain kept growing worse, and the fever was raging. Then, it stopped. I could feel myself rising. I looked back and saw my sisters grieving. I ached for them, but I kept being carried away from the world I had known, and toward a world of light.


The light surrounded me. I couldn’t see a sun or other source for it. It was just there, everywhere, brighter than anything I’d ever seen before but somehow it didn’t hurt my eyes. I felt light myself, weightless. It was as if my body had been holding me down to earth, and now I was free to soar.

Patriarchs and Prophets

I saw others there. They came toward me, calling out “Hail, beloved friend of the Son! Welcome to Paradise!” I don’t know how, but I recognized them. These were the great men of our history: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Moses and Elijah; King David; Isaiah and Jeremiah; Daniel and Jonah. How did they know me? Why did they call me “friend of the Son”?

They led me to a kind of portal where others were watching something very intently. David explained: “We can watch events as they happen on Earth. We can see any place or time that we choose, but this is a favorite. These people are watching the Son’s life. It’s the most glorious, incomprehensible, incredible, amazing thing in history!”

Abraham said, “Remember when I was willing to sacrifice my own son when God asked?” Isaac spoke up, “Yeah, thanks for that, Dad!” They all laughed, but then Isaac sobered and said, “Really, thank you for trusting God that much. He came through for us, didn’t He?” Jacob answered, “Yes, God Himself provided the sacrifice.” 1

Everyone looked thoughtful. “Yes, He did. Remember that I wrote about it?” said Isaiah. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given…He was crushed for our iniquities…The LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him…By His stripes, we are healed.2

I didn’t understand. Obviously, they all knew something that I was missing. “Don’t worry”, said Daniel. “You’ll catch up very soon. Remember what I said about the Messiah: “After the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing?3 That prophecy is about to come true in your life.

“In my life? Isn’t my life over? Isn’t that why I’m here?” “Not exactly”, responded Jonah. “When you get back, though, remember me. My time in the belly of the fish is a sign for your generation.” 4 I started to ask what he meant, but….

Just then, I heard — and felt — a command. “Lazarus, come forth!” 5 It was irresistible. The others all nodded. “Your Lord is calling you back. Go to Him. But remember: He is the Resurrection and the Life!” 6


I suddenly felt so heavy. All the lightness of Paradise was gone; the weight of Earth was back. I still heard that command, though. It was my friend Jesus who was calling out, “Come forth!” I struggled to get my bearings, to stand up and go to Him. All the cloths wrapped around me kept getting in the way, tripping me up. Finally I made it to the opening of the tomb. I heard Him tell the others to set me free of the cloths.

It was such a jolt, dropping back into life like that. My sisters were screaming and crying with joy. Jesus was there, grinning from ear to ear. I ran to Him, then hesitated between lifting Him in a bear-hug of thanks or falling at His feet in worship. He held me and whispered, “Soon it will all make sense. Remember: ‘If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days.'” 7

Grief and Gratitude

He was right. Just a little while later, after He was arrested and while He was being crucified, I thought back to what those in Paradise had said: “Son given” “God provided the sacrifice” “Cut off and have nothing” “His stripes” “We are healed“. And then what Jesus had whispered: “Render Himself as a guilt offering“. I was overwhelmed with grief at what my friend was going through. But I was also overwhelmed with gratitude. He was doing this for me!


After Jesus was buried, all the other disciples were in disbelief, dismay, despair. They thought that everything was over. All the promise was crushed. All hope was ended.

I knew better. Paradise wouldn’t have been excited to watch the Son’s life if it ended like this. There was a plan in motion. Something else was coming, but I wasn’t sure what. That feeling kept building for three days. I drove my sisters crazy, fidgeting with anticipation. They wanted to sit the shiva mourning period. I couldn’t. All I could do was wait…but for what?


Then the waiting was over. Mary and Martha raced into the house with news that the tomb was empty! 8 That was it, the part of the plan that I had anticipated without understanding completely. This is what was meant by the “sign of Jonah“, “prolong His days“, “the Resurrection and the Life“. The grave couldn’t hold the Son. His sacrifice was complete, and Death was defeated!


I am still here in this world-heavy body, for now. But I know that I will return to the light, because the Light has come to me. That is something that I will always remember!

And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

Matthew 26:27-29; 1 Corinthians 11:25

Footnotes and Scripture References

  1. Genesis 22:1-14
  2. Isaiah 9:1-6; Isaiah 53
  3. Daniel 9:25-26
  4. Jonah 1-2; Matthew 12:38-40; Matthew 16:4; Luke 11:29-30
  5. John 11:38-44
  6. John 11:25-27
  7. Isaiah 53:10-12
  8. Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10