Lazarus (in Greek, Lazaros or Eleazaros, meaning "God hath helped") is the name of a person in the New Testament of the Bible who was resurrected in one of Jesus' most spectacular miracles and certainly the most poignant one. According solely to the Gospel of John (John 11–12), when their brother Lazarus fell deathly ill, Mary and Martha of Bethany send for their friend Jesus. Four days later, upon his arrival, Jesus finds that Lazarus has already died. Weeping, the sisters insist that had Jesus been there, their brother would not have died. Jesus goes to the tomb where Lazarus is buried and weeps. Then he asks that the stone of the tomb be removed and cries: "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man comes out and is freed from his burial cloth. Soon thereafter, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, Lazarus takes part in the banquet that Simon the Leper gives for Jesus in Bethany (John 12:1–11). No other mention of Lazarus is made in the Gospels. According to a tradition in the Orthodox Church, however, Lazarus later became Bishop of Cyprus.

Although enigmatic (experts do not know much of him before or after his resurrection), the figure of Lazarus is of paramount importance in Christianity. This miracle definitely established the "divinity" of Christ (only a God or a son of God could resurrect someone), which later is confirmed by Christ's own resurrection. Lazarus has since become a metaphor not only for resurrection but also for rebirth, recovery (e.g., the Lazarus Data Recovery company), and rehabilitation.

See also: Jesus ; Necromancy ; Reincarnation


Broderick, Robert C., ed. Catholic Encyclopedia. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Incorporated, 1987.


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