Who Is Lazarus From the Bible?

In the Biblical book of John, Jesus raises Lazarus of Bethany from the dead. In the book of Luke, another character named Lazarus appears as a beggar. This second parable compares the circumstances of a rich man and a beggar during life and the afterlife.

Chapter 11 of John tells the story of the sisters Mary and Martha who approach Jesus about their brother's illness. Jesus comforts the sisters by telling them that the sickness may serve as a means of glorifying God. Although Jesus' life was endangered by his return to Jerusalem, he travels to Bethany and finds Lazarus' family already in mourning.

While Mary remains faithful throughout the encounter, Martha accuses Jesus of causing Lazarus' death because he didn't immediately journey to Bethany. Jesus then performs the miracle of resurrection, and when his religious opponents hear of the incident, they plot Jesus' death.

The parable known as "The Rich Man and Lazarus" tells the story of two men who die and experience drastically different fates. The wealthy man lives in splendor but finds himself facing eternal torment in the afterlife. Lazarus lies at the rich man's doorstep and lives in such a pitiable condition that even the dogs behave empathetically by licking his wounds. Upon death, the beggar is taken to heaven, leading the tormented rich man to ask Lazarus to take pity on him. The angel refuses the rich man's request to warn his brothers about their potential fate.