In chapter eleven of John, we see the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Herein lies the eighth sign of Jesus’ authority and prophesy fulfilled.
Martha, Martha… How I can so identify with her. Not that I worry so much anymore, or that I have a dust-free, immaculately kept home, or worry about what to feed a group of people when they drop in; I do not. I figure if someone drops in, they can jolly well have what I’m having. She knew Jesus could have prevented the death of Lazarus. She doesn’t exactly chide Jesus for not coming sooner, but in essence she does.
“Lord, if you’d been here, I know he would not have died.” That is faith spoken. She knew it beyond a shadow of doubt. She had seen Jesus at work; she knew His compassionate nature; and she knew Jesus loved Lazarus. Interestingly, she must have known about the servant over whom the Centurion asked Jesus to just speak his healing. Yet, grief causes great passion in the heart and mind and we just do not think clearly when we are overcome with grief.
“But, even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, He will give to you.” That is trust expressed in hope of a future happening.
Jesus said, “He will rise again.” Martha thinks Jesus is speaking of the resurrection and affirms her trust in that event. Jesus says, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.” It is a reminder to her of his authority. Then He reminds her that anyone who believes in Him though he dies, yet shall he live.
The importance of this one proclamation is astounding. Jesus was about to perform a physical illustration of the forthcoming Resurrection of the First Kind: A mere shadow of what is to come. He is reminding Martha, and again Mary, that He is the First Fruit of the Resurrection that is Eternal Life. The illustration of Lazarus rising from the dead and walking out from the tomb is an astounding physical miracle, and an astounding spiritual truth.
Lazarus’ body was decayed and stinking. The blood had pooled in all the lower parts of the body in supine position. His lungs were collapsed. Bacteria in his body multiplied sharply and began devouring the tissue creating a green tint to the skin because of the greenish liquid waste produced. The fluid in his eyes had seeped into surrounding tissue. The brain, without oxygen, had suffered such damage there would be no sensibility, the cells dead and blood draining to the back of the head. Insects such as bacon beetles, checkered beetles, cockroaches, snout beetles and other bugs have been found in tombs in the Middle East therefore such insects had most likely begun the process of body breakdown – dust to dust and ashes to ashes.
This made raising Lazarus the most miraculous event in the New Testament except God raising Jesus from the dead into His glorified body.
The purpose of waiting past three days is because people of the time believed strongly the soul of the person stayed with the body for three days then went to either Abraham’s Bosom or to the place of the dead, or as the Sadducees believed, dissipated to nothing with no resurrection possible.
Jesus shouts out, “Lazarus, come forth!” I believe with every fiber of my being that if Jesus had not specified Lazarus as the one single person to come out, then every body in the tombs would have risen and come forth. Only one person rose that day, only one person was restored to perfection with flowing blood, air in the lungs, no infection, no decomposition, brain fully functional and eyes that could see clearly. A physical, yet supernatural event that depicts, in part, what we will experience when a shout comes from Heaven for us to rise to meet Him in the air, the Resurrection of the First Kind of which Jesus was the First Fruits.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it was not yet revealed what we shall be. But we know that if He is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.
Even before Jesus rose from the dead, He had the authority over life and death. This was fulfillment of prophesy that the Messiah would raise the dead. 19" target="_blank">Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead.
What an amazing thing Jesus did that day, and yet still the Jewish religious leaders chose not to believe and conspired to kill Him. Jesus knew from the very beginning it would be so for in His story in Luke 16, told as from an eye witness perspective rather than from the usual parable story perspective where no names were given the characters Jesus said,
27" target="_blank">Luke 16:27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' 29 Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "
Of course there are different interpretations of this passage. I have given you my opinion of it’s significance and how it pertains to Jesus’ authority rejected by the Jewish leaders. If you have a different conclusion, please let me know. I’m open to discussion.
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