"Beloved Disciple is Lazarus"?

I attended a lecture today in which the lecturing professor claimed that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” from the Gospel of John is not John, but rather Lazarus. The primary basis for this argument were Martha and Mary saying to Jesus concerning Lazarus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill” (Jn. 11:3) and the line “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (Jn. 11:5) and then the Jews saying, when Jesus weeps outside Lazarus’ tomb, “See how he loved him!” (Jn 11:36).

The lecturer also claimed that Lazarus was at the Last Supper because it says at the beginning of John 12, “Lazarus was one of those at table with him,” but I looked up the full quote when I got home and that passage isn’t referring to the Last Supper, as far as I can tell, but to a meal a few days before, so I think what the professor said was misleading.

In any case, I’d be interested to hear arguments AGAINST Lazarus being the beloved disciple, since I know that Tradition identifies him with John. The only one I can think of at present is that Lazarus is never referred to (I don’t think) as a disciple, and wasn’t one of the twelve. However, Joseph of Arimathea wasn’t one of the twelve, but he is called a disciple (Jn 19:38).

The 12 apostles are also referred to as disciples. (See the Mt. 10 passage). The gospels list these 12 by name - and Lazarus is not one of them.
Matt 10:1 And he called to him his** twelve disciples **and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. 10:2 The names of the **twelve apostles **are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb’edee, and John his brother; 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 10:4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

The key is the number 12 - and the gospels clearly state that it was the “twelve” who were present at the Last Supper. There is no listing of 12 that includes Lazarus. “Twelve” was so recognized as applying to the apostles, that sometimes the number was used as a noun and not an adjective. See the Mark quotes below.
Mark 14:17 And when it was evening he came with the twelve.
Mark 14:20 He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.

Well, the evidence is overwhelming from Scripture and Tradition. You can start with the fact, that while the other three gospels tell us John is an apostle, and one of the three most important apostles (e.g. Luke 9:28), the Gospel of John never mentions him by name. And another very good reason to believe he is John is this:

John 21 (NIV)

20Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

24This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
And then we see:
Revelation 1 (NIV)

9I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,”**dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!”
So you see, Jesus returned to see St. John, the author of both his Gospel and Revelation, before he died - as Jesus foretold. Your professor, scoffer that he is, will probably say that these two books have different authors because the style of writing is different. Don’t worry about that, just remember that God is the ultimate Author of Sacred Scripture. So hold fast to Tradition, and also keep this in mind:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20)


God bless.**


A bible study on Lazarus (available at LazarusComeForth.com) presents some unique biblical facts about Lazarus that highlight some often overlooked things about this “friend” of Jesus that you may want to check out as you weigh the scriptural evidenced on the question that you raised here.

PS You are, of course, right to doubt propositions that suggest we ignore the sequence of biblical events and assume that items/events talked about in one passage are the same as in another passage. For example, you mentioned that it was suggested that “Lazarus was one of those at table with him” was at the same event as Jesus’ last Passover meal even though scripture actually tells us that the Lazarus supper occurred six days before the Passover.

Rather than taking the words of God’s inspired writers at face value, those who claim to respect the word of God seem far too ready to think themselves a better judge of the sequence of gospel events than the original writers were. And, since these words are true: “**Every word of God **is **pure: he **is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Pr. 30:5-6), one is always better off conforming their hypothesis to the scriptures rather than the other way around.

Thanks for the replies. Also, I noticed something else that seemed to strongly contradict the idea that Lazarus is the beloved disciple - after Lazarus is raised from the dead, the scripture says that the high priests wanted to arrest him as well as Jesus. But when Jesus is arrested, the beloved disciple waltzes into the courtyard of the high priest, because he knows the high priest. Presumably, Lazarus would not have been able to go into the courtyard because he would have been arrested immediately. It’s also hard to imagine Lazarus standing publicly at the foot of the cross when the priests were seeking to arrest him!

Very good point. Unless Lazarus was a nut I do not think that he would be around after he found out that the high priest was after him. As for the argument made by the prof, that is a new one to me. I have never heard of any such thing.

And the pupil becomes the master - good call! Of course, the only reason none of us thought of that is because we’re used to proving that Mary Magdalene isn’t the “beloved disciple” - that’s the ticket! :stuck_out_tongue:

It is noticed that the query is either/or,wheras in fact it is both.Both were beloved of Jesus and Mary.In as much as Jesus was the second Adam and Mary was the second Eve could it just be that Lazarus and John were Cain and Abel their beloved sons.For Jesus said “woman[wife and not mother] behold thy son and to John he said"son behold thy mother” - jimc

You need to take another look, because what it actually says is that they wanted to KILL Lazarus.

Furthermore, the idea that the religious leaders would have bothered with Lazarus after they had Jesus in their clutches fails the logic test. It is clear that the REASON that they wanted to have Lazarus killed was because he was causing people to believe on Jesus – not because they held anything against Lazarus himself. Jesus was ALWAYS the focus of their ill will and once they killed Jesus, Lazarus would mean nothing. (But then again, you would have already known this if you had read the information on the LazarusComeForth.com site.)

You’re right, ItIsWritten, they wanted to kill Lazarus, not just arrest him. My mistake. I’m not moved by your argument, though. Lazarus was a proof to the people of Jesus’ power, and consequently a danger to the Pharisees’ influence, whether Jesus was alive or not. Besides, for Lazarus to assume that because Jesus had been arrested, he was free to go hang out in the high priest’s courtyard, would be foolhardy.

It would also be curious, if he were so influential, that he was not mentioned in Acts or in any of the Epistles.

Yes, well, the phrases “behold your son” and “Lord, what about this man?”(Jn 21:21) makes that one easy, doesn’t it? :smiley:

Nonsense. When Jesus was dead, the people would not be moved by Lazarus (or anyone else for that matter) to believe in Jesus. And, as scripture makes clear, that the fact that people were believing on Jesus because of Lazarus was the reason that the plot to kill Lazarus was even raised in the first place.

This is a silly stray-man argument. By your caricature of the facts it is clear that you have not either read the material that is available on the LazarusComeForth.com site, nor have you fully recognized the reality of the situation that Lazarus was in - he was unlike anyone else in the circle of friends that Jesus had.

And, though I have said nothing about Mary Magdalene here, for some strange reason you decided to quote a reply to the idea that Mary Magdalene was the beloved disciple in this response. And all I can say about the Mary Magdalene idea is that (A) there is not a single verse that would justify teaching that idea and (B) the facts in scripture can prove that the idea is false. Amazingly, the Mary Magdalene idea fails on both counts, exactly like the unbiblical John tradition does, and yet those who promote the man-made John idea see the fault with the Mary Magdalene idea but they can’t get the beam out of their own eye when it comes to the false John tradtition.

The truth is that both ideas can be proven false by the facts in the plain text of scripture and yet both ideas will continue to be promoted by people who quote this-or-that NON-Bible source in order to justify promoting that idea (because they cannot cite a single verse of scripture that would justity teaching the idea). WHOEVER the beloved disciple was he was not John – because that unbiblical idea forces the Bible to contradict itself, which the truht cannot do.

But I will leave off replying at this point, and let you to do what you will with the biblical evidence that has been offered. Ignore it or consider it, it is up to you.

ItIsWritten, I am curious how you interpret this Scripture:

“I tell you, you are Peter (Rock) and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:18).

so Lazarus was not at the last supper - twinc

Christ said “behold thy son[Cain/John]” and to John/Cain He said “son behold thy mother Eve” - twinc

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