Dialogue with Father James Martin– Part Three

Dialogue with Father James Martin– Part Three September 19, 2023

Q. What has impressed you about the argument that the Beloved Disciple is Lazarus, as in fact John 11 rather plainly says?

A. Well, I have you to thank for most of my understanding of that!  But I think that the most compelling argument comes in John 21, when the Risen Christ appears to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee.  As I’m sure readers of this blog know, the Risen Christ offers Peter the opportunity to say, “I love you” three times, as a counterbalance to his triple denial of Jesus during the Passion. So far, so good.  And so far, so understandable!  

But then, seemingly out of nowhere Peter says, about the Beloved Disciple, who is standing there, “Lord, what about him?”

It’s such a bizarre question.  In fact, I sometimes use this passage with people as an example of getting distracted in the spiritual life, as in, “The Risen Christ is focusing all his attention on Peter, in a life-changing moment, and Peter wants to know about the other guy.  Pay attention to what’s important!”

But then Jesus says, “If it is my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”  And John writes, “So the rumor spread among the brothers and sisters that this disciple would not die.”

Now, as you and several other commentators point out, this makes no sense if it’s about some fisherman from Galilee, like Andrew, or James and John; or some tax collector like Matthew.  Only Lazarus—the one raised from the dead—makes any sense in this context.  The one that people thought “wouldn’t die” would most likely be the one that Jesus raised from the dead.

For me, that’s the most compelling evidence.  For even more evidence, people can read my book—or yours!


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