We should attend to the details in this story, because for the most part, the Gospels are silent about Our Lord’s private life. Here we can glimpse into that private life as we follow the story of his three friends: Lazarus, Martha and Mary.
With the temple guard trying to jail them, Jesus and his disciples had fled to safety across the Jordan; but Lazarus, Martha and Mary were such close friends that Jesus and Thomas were willing to risk their lives to be with them in their time of need.
It is good for us to put our imaginations to work in picturing this party’s thirty-mile uphill hike from the Dead Sea Valley. We should form vivid mental pictures of them cooking and sleeping at the side of the road.
There was a Jewish belief that the soul of a dead man hovered around his body for three days after his death. By waiting four days Jesus was making sure that everyone knew that Lazarus was completely dead. Still, he said their friend Lazarus was asleep. Early Christian tombs always marked the place where a beloved was buried as the place where he or she was asleep. It is a thought to strengthen our beliefs.
Our Gospels says that Jesus was perturbed, but what John actually wrote was that Jesus was angry. He was angry with death, but along with that anger, he was sobbing in a very human way.
For all his humanity, Our Lord’s divinity was always there. He was so sure of his ability to call forth the dead man, that he thanked the Father for the miracle before it happened. And, what a miracle! We should picture the tightly wrapped corpse sitting up, and undoing the wrappings enough for him to stand. Isn’t Our Lord’s power magnificent? “Lazarus come out!”
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