The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 121

Yeshua Returns to Judea to Raise Lazarus ~ Part 2

In our last post, we explored Yeshua’s Returns to Judea to Raise Lazarus. In this post, we continue to examine His Raising of Lazarus.

Yeshua Talks to Marta

17 On arrival, Yeshua found that El’azar had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 No Beit-Anyah was about two miles from Yerushalayim, 19 and many of the Judeans had come to Marta and Miryam in order to comfort them at the loss of their brother. 20 So when Marta heard that Yeshua was coming, she went out to meet him; but Miryam continued sitting shiv’ah  [1]  in the house.

El’azar had already been in the tomb for four days and had already begun to decay (see v. 39). Yeshua raised others from the dead – Ya’ir’s daughter (Luke 8:41–42, 49–56) and the son of the widow in Na’im (Luke 7:11–17). The Tanakh reports that Elijah and Elisha had raised people from the dead (1 Kings 17:17–24, 2 Kings 4:17–37). And indeed, doctors today bring back people who have been “clinically dead” for many minutes, perhaps hours. But nowhere in biblical or secular history is there an instance of anyone medically dead for four days – to the point where there would be an odor – being physically raised from the dead.

This incident is reported in such a way that no one misses its significance: Yeshua has physically brought back to life a four-days-dead, cold, stinking corpse, and this miracle crowns Yeshua’s career before His own death and resurrection. This produced a profound reaction among the populace and authorities, as reported in the rest of this and the following chapter.

21 Marta said to Yeshua, “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23 Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Marta said, “I know that he will rise again at the Resurrection on the Last Day.25 Yeshua said to her, I AM the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; 26 and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I AM the Resurrection and the Life. In addition to Yeshua’s absolute I AM” statements, Yochanan reports seven predicated “I AM” statements: I AM the bread of life (6:35), the light of the world (8:12, 9:5), the gate (10:7), the good shepherd (10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (here), the way and the truth and the life (14:6), and the real vine (15:1). The book of Revelation adds that Yeshua similarly spoke of Himself after the resurrection as the “A” and the “Z” (Revelation 1:8) and as the first and the last (Revelation 1:17).

27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Yeshua Talks to Miryam

28 After saying this, she went off and secretly called Miryam, her sister: “The Rabbi is here and is calling for you.” 29 When she heard this, she jumped up and went to him. 30 Yeshua had not yet come into the village but was still where Marta had met him; 31 so when the Judeans who had been with Miryam in the house comforting her saw her get up quickly and go out, they followed her, thinking she was going to the tomb to mourn there32 When Miryam came to where Yeshua was and  saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

My brother would not have died. Miryam, like Marta, is convinced that Yeshua could have saved El’azar from dying if there had been an opportunity for Him to come (compare Yochanan 11:22). They are both unaware that Yeshua intentionally waited for El’azar to die so He could perform the miracle of raising him from the dead.

33 When Yeshua saw her crying, and also the Judeans who came with her crying, he was deeply moved and also troubled. 34 He said, Where have you buried him?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Yeshua cried; 36 so the Judeans there said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “He opened the blind man’s eyes. Couldn’t he have kept this one from dying?”  [2]

Although Yeshua intended to use this situation as an example to glorify God, it still disturbs Him. Yeshua feels the hurt emotions of one who has lost a friend, and He is sympathetic toward others who grieve.

I highlighted verse 35 not only because it is the shortest verse in the Bible but also because it displays His humanity.

In our next, we conclude (hopefully) our exploration of Yeshua’s Return to Judea to Raise Lazarus.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Shiv’ah means “seven,” and the phrase, “sitting shiv’ah,” refers to the Jewish custom of sitting in mourning for seven days following the death of a deceased parent, spouse, sibling, or child.

[2]  Yochanan 11:27-37.

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