In John 11 we read the fascinating story of the death and resurrection of one of Jesus’ friends, a man named Lazarus. Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, lived in the village of Bethany, about 2 miles east of Jerusalem. Jesus often stayed with these three single adults when He made pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the three major feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Jesus loved these three siblings.
Interestingly, Lazarus in Hebrew means “God has helped.” God the Son helped Lazarus fulfill his name when Jesus called him to come back to life. Lazarus’ story is fascinating. In the last week of Jesus’ life on earth, Mary sends word to Jesus that Lazarus has fallen sick and is near death. As His friend, you might assume Jesus would make a bee line to Bethany and heal Lazarus. That’s probably what we would do were we Jesus but that’s not what the Savior did. Instead He waited two more days before leaving for Bethany. By the time He arrived at the home of the trio, Lazarus had been dead for four days and was now buried. As was the custom of the Jews of that day, Lazarus’s body had been wrapped in about 100 pounds of linen wrappings with embalming spices covering the body and stuffed between the layers of linen. He was buried in the family cave with a heavy stone covering the entrance to prevent grave robbers or animals from breaching the tomb.
Jesus ordered the stone rolled away. He then prayed to His Father to glorify the Son that those witnessing the miracle might believe in Him. With the voice of authority, the Son of God called to the dead man, “Lazarus, come forth!” Out of the cave came Lazarus, walking very stiffly in the grave wrappings. Jesus orders those at the tomb to unwrap him and “let him go” (John 11:44). The dead man was now alive and walking! This amazing miracle caused many who saw it to believe in Jesus as the Messiah sent from God.
The next mention of Lazarus is six days prior to the Passover where we find him and Jesus dining together at a dinner held in Jesus’ honor. It is at this dinner when Jesus is anointed for burial by Mary. It is also at that dinner when Judas Iscariot was taken over by the devil and went to the Jews with an offer to betray Jesus to them. The word was spreading and multitudes heard that Jesus had raised Lazarus to life. Now many were coming not only to see Jesus but also Lazarus, the living miracle (John 12:9,17). It was because of jealousy over their popularity that the Jewish leaders determined that both Jesus and Lazarus had to die (John 12:10).
This is the last mention of Lazarus, the man whom “God has helped.” The Scriptures are silent on whether he continued to live in Bethany with his sisters or whether the Jewish threat to murder him was carried out. We simply don’t know but one thing we do know. Jesus has power to resurrect the dead. If He can do it for Lazarus; He can do it for you and me. Believe in Him for He is God, the Son. It’s time to . . .
Take off the grave clothes of your old dead life and put on the new clothes of Christ’s righteousness,