The title is my playful way of referring to that wonderful parable in Luke’s Gospel commonly known as Lazarus and the Rich Man. This parable is unique because Jesus gives the main character a proper name. Usually he refers to the characters as “a Pharisee”, or a “Samaritan”, or a “tax collector”.
But here is a case – the only case I know of – where the main character is given a proper name, and the name he gives him is Lazarus.
It’s even more interesting that one of Jesus’ closest friends was a man named Lazarus (John 11:5). Was this just a curious coincidence?
The key to this might very well be found in the last words in the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. The rich man laments that if only someone were to visit his brothers from the other side of the grave, surely they would repent! But the parable ends with: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:31)
So I ask the question, who was it that rose from the dead, and yet the people still wouldn’t believe, but instead wanted to kill him all over again, and in fact did crucify the one who raised him?
Of course it was Lazarus (John 11:43-57).
This parable was Jesus' way of warning those who were lining up against him. They were getting awfully close to being hardened beyond redemption, where even one rising from the dead could not convince them.
Quite a warning about how hardened people can become.