Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lazarus (and others) rising

Last Saturday was Lazarus Saturday. If you have never heard of it, you are not alone, I wasn’t aware of it until Graham, who runs the weekly trivia nights in which we have a team, brought it to my attention. 

According to Wikipedia: 
Lazarus Saturday, in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, is the day before Palm Sunday, and is liturgically linked to it. The feast celebrates the resurrection of Lazarus of Bethany, the narrative of which is found in the New Testament Gospel of John (John 11:1-45). It is the first day of Holy Week. 
I mention this because our trivia team name is Lazarus, so named because we put the team back together after a couple of years’ hiatus. It was therefore appropriate to have some sort of celebration on our namesake’s day, which we did with dinner and which doubled up as a birthday celebration for Graham. 

I also mention it so that I can show you our birthday card to Graham since I love the cartoon that was on the card: 

The card

The cartoon

Some Lazarus information: 
  • Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus or Lazarus of the Four Days, is the restored to life four days after his death in the Gospel of John. The raising of Lazarus both illustrates and symbolises Jesus’s power over death. 
  • There is another Lazarus mentioned in the Bible who is generally regarded as being a different person to lazarus of Bethany. He appears in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 16:19-31) where it is told that a rich man went to Hades when he died whereas a beggar, Lazarus, went to the bosom of Abraham,. The latter explains that whereas in life the rich man had all the good stuff, now he gets the crap; Lazarus had the crap in life and now is comforted. Seems a bit unfair to me, not even a yellow card first.
  • The name “Lazarus” in Latinised Hebrew means “God is my help”.
  • There has been speculation that Lazarus may have written the Fourth Gospel, not John, or that at the least he may have provided written source material. 
  • When John Howard lost the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia, he rated his chances of regaining it as "Lazarus with a triple bypass". Howard did regain the leadership and went on to become prime Minister of Australia.
  • Lazarus syndrome or autoresuscitation after failed cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the spontaneous return of circulation after failed attempts at resuscitation. Its occurrence has been noted in medical literature at least 25 times since 1982. It is also called The Lazarus Phenomenon. 
  • The Lazarus sign is a reflex which can occur in a brain-dead person, thus giving the appearance that they have returned to life. 
  • The scientific term “Lazarus taxon”, which denotes organisms that reappear in the fossil record after a period of apparent extinction. It should not be confused with "waxon", which is a means of learning karate.

By the way: 

Lazarus isn’t the only person who Jesus brings back from the dead. There are other corpses that Jesus raises, plus various other resurrections in the Bible: 

Widow of Zarephath's son 
(I Ki 17:17-24) 
Raised by Elijah 
Elijah, a great prophet, raises the son of the widow of Zarephath by laying on the body three times and then praying. Penn and Teller would be envious. 

Shunamite's son 
(II Ki 4:20-37) 
Raised by Elisha 
Elisha friends in Shunem had a son who died. They summoned Elisha who he laid himself over the boy's body and paced back and forth in the house. The boy came back to life. What is it with laying on bodies? 

Man tossed into Elisha's tomb 
(II Ki 13:21) 
Raised by God's Spirit 
People about to bury a man saw a band of raiders coming and so threw the dead man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the corpse touched Elisha's bones, he revived. 

Widow of Nain's son 
(Lk 7:11-16) 
Raised by Jesus 
Jesus stopped a funeral procession as they were carrying the casket to the cemetery. Feeling sorry for the mother of the deceased He told her to stop crying and raised her son from the dead. 

Synagogue ruler Jairus' 12-year-old daughter 
(Mk 5:35-43) 
Raised by Jesus 
Jairus asked Jesus to come heal his dying daughter. By the time Jesus arrived she had already died. Jesus sent the mourners out but took the girls' parents and Peter, James and John into the room where the dead girl lay. He said, "Little girl, get up." She did. 

(Jn 11:1-44) 
Raised by Jesus 
Lazarus had been in the grave four days when Jesus approached his tomb. Jesus asked the people to take away the stone. Then Jesus called out, "Lazarus, come forth." Lazarus came out, still wrapped in the strips of cloth. Mental image of Zombie Apocalypse, did anyone see that movie? 

Tabitha also known as Dorcas 
(Acts 9:36-41) 
Raised by Peter 
Tabitha (not the daughter of Samantha and Darrin Stephens), a seamstress who did many good deeds, became sick and died. Since Peter was in a nearby town they asked him to come. Peter had everyone leave the room where Tabitha lay. He knelt down and prayed and then he said to the body, "Tabitha, arise." She opened her eyes and then sat up. 

(Acts 20:7-12) 
Raised by Paul 
One night Paul was speaking to a group of believers. A young man sitting in the window, listening, fell asleep.
Rule No 1: Don’t fall asleep sitting in an open window 3 floors up. 
Rule No 2: If you break Rule 1 and fall to your death, have a holy man nearby who can raise from the dead. 
When the man fell to his death, Paul ran down, laid himself over the body (there we go again!!??) and then embraced him. The man was alive again. 

Men raised upon Jesus' death 
(Mt 27:51-53) 
Raised by God 
When Jesus died there was a violent earthquake and the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. The Bible says tombs were opened and many bodies of saints arose from the dead. It also says that after Jesus' resurrection they went into Jerusalem where many people witnessed their return to life. Now that would be a zombie movie scene. . . 

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