The parable was a sly way to illustrate a serious problem. Jesus used it to warn His people of the inherent danger of placing their trust in perishable things. The fool was a hoarder. He stored up substance for an easy life. He had no idea that he would be leaving it all to someone else. Thirty-seven years later, the Romans took what Israel had built to Rome. That was the third time Israel had labored or saved for others (Jer.50: 17). Will there be a fourth time?
I was young, a ruler and very rich. In spite of my accomplishments at my young age and the acquisition of wealth, I was discontent and unhappy. There was something missing in my life. It was as if a part of me was missing. I tried to fill it with material blessings, but I still felt empty. I took my place among the leaders of our people, but that too did not satisfy my longing for more. I lived a law-abiding life and pleased my belief, but not my soul. No matter what I did, there was this emptiness inside of me. It was my soul that was crying out. So, I began to inquire and search after this life that must exist somewhere? There had to be more than what I had. Yet, I could not lay my finger on it neither could those whom I consulted for insight. There were plenty ideas and suggestions but no one was able to tell me how I could obtain this life that was forever. I had reached a point in my life when I just had to know. I was not content with vague possibilities. And I was not too proud to go to people that were below my social standing. Of course, I was not too anxious to identify myself. When I heard that Jesus taught as no other man before him, I sought Him out, humbled myself and fell on my knees before Jesus and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
For the life of me, I never realized how controversial our legal system was. What was even more controversial was that it was all about me. I ended up playing a major role in the dispute between our leaders and Jesus of Nazareth. I never could figure out how a good deed could be taken to be an act against God and His Laws. It was the Sabbath, our day of rest. As usual we gathered for worship. On this Sabbath, we had a special treat. We were pleased to have with us a new teacher and healer, a Prophet from Nazareth. When it was rumored that Jesus was in town, our Pharisees and religious experts made it their duty to show up. This was suspicious because they belonged to the religious elite. We were the simple country people and not good enough to be in the same room with them. What were they doing here and why had they come? While Jesus was teaching, these experts were looking about and whispering among themselves. At first I thought they were bothered by my presence. I had a dried up hand and I would not have been permitted to be in their assembly. I noticed that they also kept glancing at Jesus. Jesus, too, threw me a glance from time to time as if He had some special purpose for me. He also kept looking at those that had come to find fault with Him. I had this dreary feeling that something was about to happen and I was going to be in the middle of it. I had heard that Jesus could read man's thoughts and I felt that He knew what was in my heart. And if He knew what I had come for; then, He certainly knew why the Pharisees and law experts were there. I had not quite connected, when I heard Jesus telling me to stand up. I obeyed and stood up.
Yes, I am that disobedient leper. There is nothing that I can say that will ever justify what I did. I was carried away by my emotions. I was so overwhelmingly appreciative and grateful for having been healed, that I lost my head. I wanted all the credit go to Jesus, regardless as to who got hurt. I wanted the world to know who the Man was that had been so good to me. Jesus did not want me to do that because He knew what I did not know. The world was not ready for Him and I drove Him away from the world. My blubbering tongue drove my Lord into the desert. Because of me, He could no longer live in towns or pray in our synagogues. He had to hide in lonely places and pray in seclusion. I robbed many people of His services. My problem was that I could not hold my loose tongue, when I was ordered to do so.
Day in and day out, I watched my son being tortured by some power that made absolutely no sense. It was an evil source that sapped him of all his energy and left him lifeless. It was ugly to see him foam out of his mouth, gnash his teeth and disfigure his face. I had to keep him away from fire and water because when the seizure came it threw him down on the ground or into the fire or water. It began when he was a child and grew progressively worse. Now, he was being seized several times a day and rendered helpless and dependent on others. I had consulted all the physicians and medicine people in my day. I turned to our priests and they acted as if my son was contagious. They were afraid that his demon would infest them. They had concluded that my son was incurable. And whenever I heard of a new medicine or doctor that offered some hope, these scribes and their leaders would always show up and argue that it was useless even to attempt to help my son. This was the situation when I had taken my son to the followers of Jesus. They, too, were swayed by arguments that my son was hopelessly doomed. To add insult to injury, I too had lost faith in ever seeing my son freed from this ugly and merciless demon. I had become a desperate father and had little faith to go on. I could not see clearly anymore.
I am Lazarus, the man that had died, and Jesus did the unbelievable; He brought me back from the dead. I became ill and my physical body just gave out. My soul took its flight to the bosom of Abraham. My body was wrapped in burial sheets and committed to the earth. My sisters were in disarray. They just could not make out without me. Even before my spirit left my earthly body, they had send messages to my friend Jesus telling Him about my illness. By the time these messages reached Jesus, I was already dead. Jesus was in no hurry to come and comfort my sisters. He had something quite unbelievable in mind for all of us that were in any way close or related to my family. Through me, Jesus was going to prove His lasting friendship and demonstrate His power over death. The friendship we made with Jesus in this life would continue in the next.
Jesus told His followers, "If you obey my teaching, you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Jn.8: 32). "I am the way and the truth and the life" (Jn.14: 6).
I guess the introduction says it all. I was the man, in the desert, preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins. I was sent to prepare the way for someone much greater than I was and point Him out as the One that could take away the sins of the world. But I did have a name. It was John. And since I baptized many sinners, I was also called the, "Baptist." I was also born with the help of an angel. My parents were past childbearing and my father was a priest. He was performing his sacrificial duty when an angel appeared and told him that he was going to be a father and that this son of his would grow up as a Nazarite (like a recluse) and announce the presence of the Messiah (a man that would save us). He was so shocked and in such disbelief that he lost his voice until I was born and he named me John. That was what the angel had predicted.
My day of execution had come. I was not really that bad. I was just a victim of my society. No one would hire me with my record. The only way for me to live was resort to stealing. Since I had helped myself to a few more times than I should, I had accepted my sentence and resigned myself to the ultimate. My partner and I were to be hung on crosses outside Jerusalem as a reminder that crime did not pay. Only on this particular day, we ended up as the sideshow. All the attention was focused on a man called Jesus. We had heard that He was a man of peace and good will. The people liked Him but the leaders were afraid of Him. Still, He had done nothing wrong. What was He doing here? What did anybody have against Him? I began to watch and listened and came to the conclusion that there was absolutely no justice in this world and that it would be a pleasure to enter eternity with this humble and unassuming man from Galilee. It was a perfect example of not having a reason to hate someone.
I am Jairus and a headmaster of a school. My daughter was at the point of dying. This was not a time to debate whether Jesus was who He claimed He was or what people believed He was. I needed His help. When I heard that He was coming our way across the lake, I hurried to meet Him and threw myself at His feet and begged, "My little girl is dying. Please come and lay your hands on her so that she will get well and live." Without a word, He pointed to me to lead the way. We had walked a short distance when Jesus stopped and asked who had touched Him. There were all kinds of arguments until a woman confessed and gave her account that seemed endless to a man whose child was dying. When at last He dismissed her and blessed her, a messenger from my home arrived and told me not to bother the teacher any longer for my daughter had passed on. My heart sank into my knees and I must have looked as if I too had died. But Jesus paid no attention to my messenger's report and said, "Don't be afraid, just keep on believing."