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Who were the rich young man, the two Lazaruses, and the robed youth?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by rakovsky, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. rakovsky

    rakovsky Newbie

    Eastern Orthodox
    (Question 1) What is the relationship, if any, between the rich young man whom Jesus urged to sell his own possessions, the rich man and Lazarus in Jesus' parable, Martha's brother Lazarus, the youth who lost his robe in Gethsemane, and the youth with a robe in Jesus' tomb?

    For example, was the rich young man whom Jesus urged to give his wealth to the poor the same rich man in Jesus' parable who died and wanted to come back to life to warn his brothers, and was he the youth in Gethsemane and at the tomb whose change of clothes symbolized resurrection and announced the good news, whereas the poor Lazarus who died in the parable was the same as Martha's brother Lazarus whom Jesus raised? Or was the rich young man whom Jesus loved the same as Lazarus whom Jesus loved, and did he give up his riches and become the poor Lazarus in the parable?

    Wikipedia notes Miles Fowler's theory that the young rich man was Lazarus:
    However, the youth at the tomb cannot be the Beloved Disciple as Fowler claims. This is because the women met the youth who told them to announce the good news to the disciples, whereupon in John 20, the women tell the Beloved Disciple the news and the latter runs to the tomb. Instead, the Beloved Disciple is John as John 21 shows.

    Listing the persons in question according to their chronological order in the gospels' story, we get:
    I. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31);
    Ii. The Young, Rich Man whom Jesus loved (Matthew 19:20/Mark 10:17–22) ;
    Iii. Lazarus whom Jesus loved (John 11:5);
    IV. The angel in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43)
    V. The fleeing youth who loses his robe in Mark 14:51–52;
    VI. The youth in the tomb of Jesus (Mark 16:5)/the angel at the tomb (Matthew 28:2) /the two angels at the tomb (Luke 24:4)

    I. The Church fathers seemed to think that the Lazarus in the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16) was a real person, well known among the Jews for his sickness and poverty, or that this is just a parable where the name of Lazarus is given because he is in heaven. St. John Chrysostom, in his commentary below, seems to imply that he is the same Lazarus as the one raised in John 11:
    Here is St Cyril's commentary:
    II. In the story of the young rich man, the man asks how to inherit eternal life, and he tells Jesus that he observed the commandments, whereupon Jesus loved him, according to Mark 10:21-22:
    The Church fathers take the view that Jesus loved him because he succeeded in obeying the commandments.
    A problem with equating the rich man with the youth in the robe is that the story ends without saying that he became Jesus' disciple. And it's hard to equate him with the Lazarus in the parable of Luke 16, who was poor.
    However, like the rich man in the parable, he refused to give his wealth to the poor, even though both had the example of the prophets. Whereas the rich man in the parable went to hell, the young rich man went away sad about this obstacle to inheriting eternal life.

    III. The story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11) sounds a bit disjointed or sudden in that Mary announced to Jesus that the one whom Jesus loved, Lazarus, was sick, but the text doesn't mention Jesus meeting Lazarus before. If one takes the gospels chronologically, the rich young man is the only one whom they already say that Jesus had loved. This suggests a possible relationship between the story of the young rich man and the story of Jesus raising Lazarus.
    Here is the story in John 11:
    One can also sense that since Mary and Martha were believers, Lazarus was too, and this would by extension explain Jesus' special love for and resurrection of Lazarus.
    The story of Jesus raising Lazarus overlaps with the parable of the poor man Lazarus in that Lazarus was dead in each story.

    V. Mark 14:51-52 has this to say about the robed young man in Gethsemane:
    The Greek word used here for linen cloth is "sindona", which is also the word used for burial shrouds. This helps relate this youth in my mind to the youth in the tomb in Mark 16. What reason could there be for the youth to be wearing only a "sindona" cloth?
    In Aquinas' Golden Chain commentary, three Church fathers proposed that this robed, fleeing youth in Gethsemane Mark 14 was either (A) from the house of the Last Supper (I think there is a tradition that this was Mark himself as a youth), or (B) James, or else (C) the Beloved Disciple, John. Who do you think this youth was? Here are two selections from the Golden Chain about the youth:
    (Question 2) What is the significance, perhaps allegorical or spiritual, of the youth losing his robe in Gethsemane and the youth having a white robe in the tomb?

    When Mark 16:5 gives the story of the young man at the tomb, his white robe in place of his earlier "sindona" (used for burlals) reminds me of the concept of a white, pure, radiant resurrection clothes, perhaps symbolizing transformed resurrection flesh:
    (Question 3) What is the relationship between the robed youth at Gethsemane, the robed youth at the tomb, and the Angel's at Gethsemane and at the tomb?

    The resemblance of the youth's words at the tomb in Mark 16 to the words of the angel(s) at the tomb in the other canonical gospels is noteworthy. Theophylact and St. Gregory thinks that the youth in Mark was the angel in Matthew, whereas Augustine allows for them being either the same or separate:
    Bp. Peter Chrysologus sees the angel in Matthew 28 as a supernatural being that descended from heaven and spoke about the same words to the women that the youth in Mark 16 had.

    So in conclusion, I see that the white-robed youth in Mark 16 appears to be the supernatural angel at Jesus' tomb in the other gospels and is probably also the running youth in Gethsemane, as well as a comforting angel there. And I see that John the evangelist is the Beloved Disciple. But it's harder for me to be more specific about the identities of the rich young man who won't give up his possessions in Luke's story and of the angel/ robed youth at the tomb.

    Jesus tells a parable of a rich man who goes to hell for failing to help the poor man Lazarus. The rich man wants to return from the dead to warn his brothers, but Jesus says that they already have the prophets, and if they don't listen to the prophets, they won't listen to a resurrected person either.
    Later, a young rich man wants eternal life, Jesus loved him, but the man won't give up his riches, even though he follows the commandments (and therefore knows the prophets), so he leaves grieving. It seems like this young man relates to the parable about the rich man, but the connection is not explicit. Since Jesus makes prophecies, I suppose that the parable could be a prophecy of his later interactions with this man and with Martha's brother Lazarus.
    And on a side note, I suppose that Jesus' comparison of a rich man entering heaven to a camel entering the eye of a needle is related to the fact that prophets like Elijah and John the Baptist were garments made of camel's hair. In order to make the prophets' clothes, the weavers had to put the camel's hair through the eye of a needle.
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  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary was real, the Lazarus of the parable might have been. from what I was taught, the youth stripped naked was Mark, but was not an angel since they are immaterial. I have not heard that the rich young man and the rich man in the the parable are the same.