Sunday, March 17, 2013
Lazarus is Raised from the Dead
Bethany was a small town on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives. It is only two miles from Bethany to the Temple Mount but it is a steep climb from Bethany to the top of the mount of Olives and then an even steeper drop down into the Kidron Valley and then another steep climb up to the Golden Gate leading into the temple complex. It took two days for Jesus to get to Bethany from Jericho so apparently he wasn't in too much of a hurry. Large crowds surrounded Jesus every where he went so it is almost certain that as he entered into the town of Bethany he was greeted by a lot of people. Like any small town, word traveled fast that Jesus was in town and when Martha heard this she came to meet him on the road into Bethany and was obviously very distraught. She pointed out that if he had been there then Lazarus would not have died. She still showed faith however when she mentioned that she knew that God would still grant Jesus anything that he asked. He told Martha that her brother would live again but Martha assumed he spoke of the resurrection. He then told her to go get Mary.
When Martha returned with Mary she ran to the Savior and fell to her knees and repeated the exact same words as her sister saying, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus saw her there sobbing and was filled with compassion and weeping himself he asked her, "Where have you laid him?"
A crowd of several hundred people followed Mary and Martha to the tomb where Lazarus had been laid. The funeral preparations had all been completed four days earlier so Lazarus laid in the tomb completely wrapped in linen clothes much like an Egyptian mummy.
The tomb was sealed with a large stone that could be rolled away and as they arrived at the tomb Jesus asked Martha to have them remove the stone. She was shocked and responded that he had been dead for four days. Jesus said nothing so she then added that by this time he would stink. He then went to the two women and said, "Did I not say unto you that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?"
The stone was rolled away and Jesus went to the entrance of the tomb and lifting his face to Heaven and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me, I know that thou hearest me always . But I say this because of the people who stand by here. I say it that they may believe that thou has sent me."
He then said, "Lazarus! Come forth!"
I imagine it was a few moments before Lazarus, still wrapped tightly in the white linen burial cloths made it to the door of the tomb. Imagine the reaction that must have been made by the crowd gathered to witness this wonderful miracle.
Jesus finally commanded those with him to "Loose him and let him go."