The story of Lazarus is heavy with elements that emphasize the love Jesus had for this Bethany family Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in particular. The gospels record that he spent a lot of time in Bethany.
- “Lord, Your dear friend is very sick.” (11:3),
- although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, (11:5)
- Our friend Lazarushas fallen asleep (11:11)
- See how much He loved him! (11:36)
Are you getting the message? Jesus loved this family. They had a special place in His heart. He had visited them many times. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling Him of Lazarus illness and He stayed where He was for the next two days. . . . for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there . . . Doesn’t sound like the words of a friend, does it?
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days – many people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. Jesus wasn’t so concerned about consoling the family. He planned to give them back a living brother. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” It is the nature of human bodies that in four days a great change will take place. After seventy-two hours the body of a person naturally tends to putrefaction; and the Jews say that by the fourth day after death the body is so altered that one cannot be sure it is a person. The pharisees and teachers of the law believed the soul stayed in the body for three days. Jesus deliberately waited beyond their time scale to demonstrate Lazarus was indeed dead and rightly the soul should have left him. He was stinking, no doubt that he was dead.
Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”John 11:43-44
Imagine being there that day. That is pretty spectacular. Would you rather have Jesus come and consoled you in the loss of your brother or come sooner so that he didn’t die in the first place? Or alternatively would you rather see a demonstration of Jesus’ power over the grave? I think I would choose the latter. Imagine how the memory of that would be imprinted on your mind forever more. No wonder Mary is willing to give anything to Jesus in her gratitude; no gift would be held back, which is exactly what we see in the next chapter.
Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.Anon
Cancer is a word not a sentence.Anon