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The Raising of Lazarus
The shortest verse in the Bible is a two-word sentence: “Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35). (Sometimes the verse is translated as “Jesus began to weep.”) Jesus cried when he learned of his friend Lazarus’s death, but the story does not end there. He brings his friend back to life.
As you read this story, pay attention to the reaction Jesus had when he saw the people crying.
Jesus received a message from his friends Martha and Mary who lived in Bethany in Judea. They said that their brother Lazarus was ill. The sisters seemed very afraid. Jesus was confident that God would be glorified through this illness.
He told his disciples they would go back to Judea even though people there wanted to kill him. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him,” he told his disciples.
“Lord, if he has only fallen asleep then he will be just fine,” they replied.
Jesus said very plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. Let us go to him now.”
By the time Jesus and the disciples arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in a tomb for four days. Many people were there to comfort Martha and Mary for the loss of their brother.
Martha saw Jesus coming first. “Lord, if you were here then he would not have died,” she told him.
“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus replied.
“I know that he will rise again on the last day,” Martha said sadly.
“Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” he asked her.
“Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world,” said Martha. Then she called her sister Mary to join them.
Mary quickly came to them. The many people who came to comfort the sisters followed closely behind her. She knelt at Jesus’ feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus saw her weeping. The people wept with Mary, too. He was greatly moved.
“Where have you laid him?” Jesus asked.
“Lord, come and see,” they said.
Then, Jesus wept.
“See how he loved him!” the people said. “If only he was here to stop this man from dying.”
Jesus came to the tomb and stood outside the entrance to the cave where a stone laid against it. “Take away the stone,” he said.
They took away the stone and Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.”
Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”
To the amazement of everyone there, Lazarus emerged from the tomb with his face, hands, and feet still bound in burial cloths.
His sisters were filled with joy. Many people there came to believe in Jesus on that day. They rejoiced because Lazarus was alive again!
Why do you think Jesus wept?
When someone loses a loved one, how can you comfort them in their sorrow?
Do you ever think about Jesus weeping with you when you are sad?