Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Second Chances

When Lazarus of Bethany died, it was a scene so heartbreaking that even Jesus wept (John 11:35). But Jesus also delivered his friend from the bonds of death, even though Lazarus had been dead for four days (John 11:39). His body healed and reanimated, the resurrected Lazarus was full proof of Jesus' deity (John 11:45).

Lazarus has to be on the shortlist of greatest possible interviews ever. I have often imagined the questions soon asked of him after Jesus raised him from the dead. "What was it like on the other side?" "How does it feel to experience death?" "What do you remember?"

The Bible does reveal some things about death. We know that Lazarus was still conscious after death. We know his soul left his body. We know he went into the Hadean realm. We know that he was unaware of the happenings of the world he left behind. We know he was in one of two places awaiting judgment, paradise or tartarus.

The Bible does not reveal which of the two places Lazarus went. If he went to Abraham's bosom (paradise), he was in a place of rest and peace, where faithful and godly people reside while waiting for the reality of heaven. If he went to torments (tartarus), then he was in a horrible place of punishment and pain, with no relief and no hope of any good thing, only the certainty of hell.

It occurs to me, that wherever Lazarus went - he must have been more motivated to be a disciple of Jesus than ever before. If he was able to get the smallest taste of the comforts only God's people can know, he would have known that being a child of God is worth every sacrifice on earth. And even though the Bible does not tell us, my assumption based on his friendship and support of Christ makes it seem more likely that he was in fact in paradise for this span.

On the other hand, if Lazarus went to tartarus, what a second chance to get his life right with God!

We will never get to experience what Lazarus did. No person has ever been dead for four days and come back to life except for him. But God does give us second chances. And if Lazarus were here, no doubt he could convince you what to do with yours!

"Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" ~ Romans 2:4


  1. Hi, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for a while... Just wanted you to know about a website i started ReadYourBiblesChurch.com... It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless!

  2. Thanks for the comment - thanks for the info and thanks for the kind words....my email is jeremiahtatum@bellsouth.net

  3. I second Anoymous....

    Just stumbled up on your blog this morning and am blessed for it. You have a way with words that move me and inspire me. I have been away from the church for many years and am "coming home" this Sunday... Its brothers like you that inspire me to go back and do more than warm up the pew on Sundays...Thank you.

    1. Thanks, John. God bless you and be with you!