THE GREAT GOSPEL OF JOHN
VOLUME 4

Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

Jesus near Caesarea Philippi (cont.)

- Chapter 138 -
The life story of old Lazarus.


 
S
ays I: "I will explain it to you; but all of you must be very attentive, otherwise you will not understand the whole matter! Since this death is a quite peculiar case, has not occurred for a long time and will not appear for even a longer period of time.
 
2
The old Lazarus as a great, primordial created angel spirit, was according to his very own will incarnated into the flesh of a person, namely under the most difficult living conditions imaginable everywhere on this earth. From the cradle until his forty-seventh year on earth he had to endure things and trials, which cannot easily repeated here. How many times did he had to fight with many dangers of life! Who from you is familiar with the life history of Job, can only form somewhat of a picture from that which happened to our Lazarus.
 
3
Several times he was promoted to the highest world honours and came to great wealth, had a wife and the most beautiful and most well-behaved children, five in number, who loved him dearly as a good and wise father. When he was nineteen years of age he married the only daughter of one of the richest people in Bethlehem; his gold and silver and the most beautiful pearls and precious stones could not be easily carried away by a hundred camels. However, this his great earthly luck lasted for only a short time. His treasures evaporated from year to year because as a good and too lenient person he was quite often seriously robbed; finally a fire erupted in his out of cedars built house, and from all of his treasures he could not save anything else except the life of his wife and children and was forced to live from alms for three years.
 
4
During the three years his wife and all his five dear children died. He himself became full of leprosy which he suffered from for a full year. Finally a doctor from Egypt came with an arcanum and cured him completely from this illness. After that, as still an attractive man of thirty-four years of age, on his way he was attacked by secret henchmen from outer Persia and was brought there as a slave without any consideration and sold to an extremely hard master.
 
5
But since he was among all the many slaves of his master the most loyal one, and has endured all the hardness of his master with the biggest patience and abidance, his master called him after ten years and said to him: 'I have watched you during all my hardness against you, that you were most loyal to me and did not shy away from great troubles and work to bring me quite often great fortune. If I requested a lot from you, you always did more and quite often to my advantage. I am a hard master - all the world gives me this testimony -, nevertheless I'm not without eyes and not without insight and recognition; and since I'm not that, I give you the full freedom! You can go safely back to your home in your country. In addition, as a token of my appreciation for your loyal service, I give to you one-hundred camels, ten of my most beautiful female slaves and ninety servants; and so that you everywhere can buy something, can live and trade and carry on, my treasurer must pay you thousand bags of gold and two-thousand bags of silver! See, this is how a hard master rewards a most loyal slave and double this a most loyal servant, which, however, I unfortunately never had! Go safely with everything you have received as a gift from your hard master!'
 
6
Lazarus bowed deeply in front of his master and wanted to thank him. But he said with serious words: 'Friend, who earned his reward like you, does not have to thank the giver after reception! Therefore go in peace; so be it and it happens!'
 
7
Moved in tears, Lazarus left the hall, and when he came to the large palace yard, everything was ready: Camels, the ten female slaves and the ninety servants, and each of the strongest camels was loaded with gold and silver.
 
8
Lazarus mounted his camel, and the march started. After ten quite joyful days of travel, he reached Bethlehem, stayed at an inn and enquired about his earlier property. But this was, according to Roman law, because the legal owner, despite all proclamations by special heralds, did not respond, sold as government property and became already three years ago the full property of the new owner. Since for seven years he was so to speak only a tenant; if the previous lost owner returned during the seventh year, he still could exercise the repossession law, - he only had to repay the new tenant the highest offer including interest, since he was seen as a manger without contract and had to be rewarded for his troubles to run the estate. However, after seven years the tenant becomes the untouchable, full, new owner of such property. And this was also the case in Bethlehem with the property of Lazarus. The tenant was now the full owner, protected by Roman law, and our Lazarus, achieving nothing, had to move on.
 
9
For a whole year he had to live in the inn, until finally a considerable piece of land became available for sale in Bethany which belonged to a Greek. For fifteen-hundred bags of silver Lazarus became the full owner and married in his forty-seventh year one of his most loyal female slaves, who also was a Jew, and with her he fathered the young Lazarus and his two sisters. After ten years he also gave the fullest freedom to all his servants from Persia; but nobody left Lazarus and today fifty-three of the servants are still alive. Already after two years all converted to the Jewish faith and became even more valuable and pleasant for Lazarus. The wife only died two years ago, and was an example of female tolerance and devotion; and since then the three, very well-behaved children managed everything alone; except for God they nearly have no needs and do a lot of good for the poor."