Good question...

...did John invent the story of the raising of Lazarus?!

This question came in...

Dear Glenn

I sent you an e-mail asking this once before, but got no response. I am trying once more because 1) I have really enjoyed and profited from your page to this point and 2) I would really like an answer. (I am beginning to wonder if you only answer certain types of questions or only those from certain types of people.) Would you please consider investigating why it is that the account of Lazarus' rising from the dead is only in St. John. John writes that that event was the key to Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and therefore to His Passion. If it was the key John says, why don't any of the other Evangelists go into it, even if only to name Lazarus? Banking my faith in discourse (just as you have asked) on your response...XXX

I replied:

I dont know if I ever replied to this, and I don't have time to do much on this now, but let me point out:

    1. there is NO requirement for ANY gospel to contain ANY specific events at is ALL a function of what the authors were trying to focus on
    2. Luke eliminates MUCH information that he probably knew, just so he could fit his material onto one scroll (a media limitation).
    3. Matthew is proving Jesus was the Son of David and the Messiah and already HAD plenty of material to work with
    4. Mark was simply recording the preaching of Peter, with a focus mostly on the Ministry in Galilee...
    5. John does NOT say that the Laz piece was 'key' to the Tri.Entry at all...he mentions that part of the crowd was swayed by it, and that the enemies were upset by it, but this was only one among many reasons for the responses on that day...
    6. John points out that there are MANY events that were not recorded in his gospel---there is no reason to believe that the other gospel writers believed their accounts were exhaustive!!!
    7. There are many, many events in the Synoptics that are NOT mentioned in John...and there is evidence that John KNEW the Synoptics, and simply supplemented them, mostly with material they did NOT select to include.
    8. Jesus did resurrections in the Synoptics that are not mentioned in John; therefore, we should not be surprised that John has some that the Synoptics didn't mention.

In short, we don't have any real reason to 'suspect' John because the Synoptic authors were good authors, not trying to put too much in, nor including material that was oblique to their main points in presenting their Lord.

I hope this helps...let me know if I misunderstood your questions,

The Christian ThinkTank...[] (Reference Abbreviations)