Mary and Martha were Lazarus’ sisters and all of them called Jesus their friend. He’d been a guest in their home. Mary couldn’t get enough of His words and Martha was more concerned that the house was in order and food prepared for the Master. Their house was always open to their friend. As Jesus passed through the little town of Bethany He knew that His friends would always be there to welcome Him.
As time went on and Jesus was moving from place to place, Lazarus became ill. The sisters sent word to Jesus to come and do something to restore his health, but Jesus didn’t come immediately. He waited for two days. He then told the disciples that Lazarus was asleep and He needed to return to waken him. His men didn’t understand. It was much too dangerous to return. Jesus was a marked man in Judaea.
Now it was Martha’s turn to do the right thing. She ran to greet Jesus, when she heard He was on the way, and said to Him , “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. She expressed her faith in what she knew God could do through His Son.
When they arrived at the tomb, Lazarus’ body had already begun to decompose. Can you imagine the stench? Here lay a man, dead for four days and Jesus went in and rose him from death. Every time I hear that part of the story, it makes my heart wonder how Lazarus felt. He had experienced paradise and now Jesus was restoring him to life. What mixed emotions he must have had. Certainly he would eventually die again, but he was more confident than ever that he would see his Savior again in paradise.
Jesus spoke in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The crowd was silent, but within seconds Lazarus walked out of the tomb, alive and well, still cloaked in his burial cloths. No one had ever been raised from death to life, except for the prophet Elijah. His body was restored and alive!
You could hear the crowd come to life as well. They couldn’t stop talking about the events of the day. Many believed that Jesus indeed was the Son of God. Some returned to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Word spread all over the country and undoubtedly Mary, the mother of Jesus also heard about this astounding miracle.
It had started. From that day on, a plot was set in motion to get rid of this man who claimed to be the Messiah. The final days were coming to pass.