In reading John’s account of Lazarus being raised from the dead, it is striking that the focus is totally on Jesus and His power as “the resurrection and the life.” Lazarus never speaks. In fact, in all of Scripture there are no recorded words of Lazarus. He comes out, bound with grave clothes, is loosed, and, except for a couple brief mentions in John 12, this is the last we hear see of him. The focus is on Jesus. So what about Lazarus? What happened during the four days he was dead? Where was he? What did he see? Who did he meet?

I guess I find it all very ironic, especially given the recent rash of books about people’s near-death or death and resurrection experiences. People who may have been dead for minutes or hours (not nearly four days!) return to the land of the living with detailed accounts of heaven or hell that everyone needs to hear about. I’ll admit that it is hard to argue with a person’s experience, and who am I to deny the facts of what they saw? Yet who is right when their visions differ from each other? And what should I infer about the substance of their stories when they conflict with Scripture?

I can understand why such stories are attractive and intriguing – who wouldn’t want to know more about life after death, whether as a warning to unbelievers or an encouragement to God’s elect? But I can’t help but wonder where Lazarus’ book is. I guess Scripture must be complete without it.

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