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If any among the disciples of Jesus were potential targets of persecution, it would be the one who looked like Jesus. So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
He had already been in the tomb four days: Why did He wait four days? Jesus did this in light of the Jewish superstition of that day that said a soul stays near the grave for three days, hoping to return to the body. Therefore, it was accepted that after four days there was absolutely no hope of resuscitation.
Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died: Martha plainly states her disappointment in Jesus' late arrival. Even if she doesn't show total confidence in Jesus at this point, her honesty with Jesus is refreshing.
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Martha isn't confident that Jesus will raise her brother, rather she says that she still believes in Him despite the disappointment. Can we say the same thing? Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? I am the resurrection and the life: With this statement, Jesus overthrows everything thing we know about the law of entropy and the way things work in this world. For a long, long time, death has ruled over men like a tyrant.
This is not the land of the living, but the land of the dying. Humorists and philosophers have understood the basic fear of death, and the basic dilemma of death. I want to achieve it through not dying. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live: Jesus is the champion over death. While the ancients feared death, the Christian can only fear dying.
The believer will never die, but simply make an instant transition from an old life to a new life. Think about how grand the claim of Jesus is here. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me , though he may die, he shall live. Who but God could possibly say such things? Jesus challenges Martha not to debate or intellectual assent, but to belief. And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you.
Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there. Lazarus had two sisters, Mary and Martha.
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Martha has already spoken to Jesus regarding the death of Lazarus, but now Mary speaks for the first time. Her words are remarkably similar to what Martha told Jesus John My brother would not have died: This is one of the places in the Bible where we wish we could hear the tone of voice and see the expressions on the face.
This could be a noble statement of faith, saying that if Jesus were here they have no doubt at all that He would have healed Lazarus. On the other hand, it can be seen as a criticism of what seemed to be the tardiness of Jesus. Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, "Where have you laid him? Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!
He groaned in the spirit and was troubled: Coming to the scene of Lazarus' tomb, Jesus intensely groaned in the spirit. In the ancient Greek, this literally means "to snort like a horse," implying anger and indignation. It means that Jesus wasn't so much sad at the scene surrounding the tomb of Lazarus. It's more accurate to say that Jesus was angry.
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Jesus is angry and troubled at the ravages of the great enemy of man: He won't settle for this domination of death much longer. But, "Christ does not come to the sepulchre as an idle spectator, but like a wrestler preparing for the contest. Therefore no wonder that He groans again, for the violent tyranny of death which He had to overcome stands before His eyes. Jesus saw her weeping … Jesus wept: The contrast between the tears of Mary and Martha and the tears of Jesus is insightful.
Weeping the word used for Mary in John Wept the word to describe Jesus' expression of grief in John Jesus is greatly moved, but not out of control. This shows that Jesus is not unfeeling, nor stoic, but with strong feeling He prepares to strike a blow against death, the enemy of God and man. Jesus is a passionate enemy of death. To the mind of the ancient Greek, the primary characteristic of God was apatheia: The Greeks believed in an isolated, passionless, and compassionless God. That isn't the God of the Bible. That isn't the God who is really there.
It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone. Take away the stone: Everybody thought this was a strange thing for Jesus to ask. People probably thought that Jesus was so taken with grief that He wanted one last look at His dear friend Lazarus. By this time there is a stench: In any case, the condition of the body provides an irrefutable confirmation of Lazarus' dead state.
If you would believe you would see the glory of God: Jesus is fully capable of this miracle without the belief of the Martha or Mary. But if they would not believe, then they would never see the glory of God. They could see the end results and be happy in that, but they would miss the glory of working together with God in the accomplishing of His plan.
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go. He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!
Jesus speaks to a dead body as if Lazarus lived, because He is God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did Romans 4: This is how Jesus can call forth the person dead and defeated in sin and deception to a new life in Him. He is still calling the dead forth from their tombs today! And he who had died came out: Jesus fought death at Lazarus' tomb, and plundered the grave, serving it notice that shortly He would completely conquer it.
This was "coming attraction" for what would happen at the empty tomb of Jesus. His face was wrapped with a cloth: Lazarus was not resurrected, but resuscitated. He arose bound in grave-clothes, for he would need them again; Jesus left His grave-clothes behind in His tomb, never again having need of them.
He did what only God could do, and looked for men's cooperation for the completion of Lazarus' deliverance. Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. Many of the Jews … had seen the things Jesus did, believe in him: This was undeniably an impressive work of God, and for many it helped them put their trust in who Jesus said He was by seeing what He did.
But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.
And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, "What do you think; that He will not come to the feast? Everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away our … place: Their fears revealed a complete misunderstanding of the motives of Jesus, who had no political ambition, whatsoever.
The Romans will come and take away both our place and nation: In ironic fact, this rejection of Jesus resulted in the political ruin and ultimate destruction of the nation. It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish: Caiaphas gives an unconscious and involuntary prophecy, but it is attributed to the office , not the man being high priest that year he prophesied.