The Death of Lazarus
There was a man Lazarus in Bethany who is ill. Mary and Martha are his sisters, Mary is the one who anointed Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. They sent word to Jesus asking for help. He heard that Lazarus was in trouble, so he decided to stay put for a few days and then head back to Judea.
I'm confused, is Bethany and Judea the same thing or something? Shouldn't he be heading toward Bethany? Does he perhaps have to travel through Judea?
The disciples say that he is crazy because in Judea the people want to kill him. Jesus tells them he needs to go because Lazarus has fallen asleep. They say he will wake up so why worry about it. Then Jesus says more plainly that Lazarus has died and they need to go to him. Thomas then says to his fellow disciples "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
I suddenly like Thomas. Seriously though, why is Jesus being confusing on purpose? I feel like he does this all the time and it just serves to make things harder to follow.
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
When they get to Bethany Lazarus has been dead and in the tomb for 4 days already. Martha said that if Jesus had been there Lazarus would not have died. Jesus said Lazarus would rise again, Martha said she knows he will rise on the last day. Jesus said he is the resurrection and the life, everyone who lives and believes in him shall never die.
I'm curious what exactly this really means. Lazarus is dead right there. And people die all the time. We commonly interpret this as life in heaven after death, but that doesn't seem to be what Jesus is really saying here, he is saying people won't die.
Mary heard the Jesus was calling for her, so she went to him and the disciples followed. She was weeping and said if he was there Lazarus wouldn't have died. He asks to be shown the body and he was so overcome that he wept when he saw how moved she was. Some people ask why Jesus let Lazarus die since he is able to heal a blind man.
Seems like a big leap, to expect that if you can heal blindness you can stop death. It actually reminds me of an episode of TNG.
Jesus Raises Lazarus
They get to the tomb, which is a cave with a stone in the way, and Jesus says to move the stone. They say that he has been dead for days and there will be an odor. Jesus asks if they believe in him, if they do they will see the glory of God. They take away the stone and Jesus talks to God and presumably asks for Lazarus to be brought back to life. Then they yelled for Lazarus to come out and he did, his hands and feet were wrapped with linen.
It occurred to me while I was reading this, is Lazarus a rich man? It seems that way as he is buried in a cave with a boulder at the entrance. Certainly this isn't how they bury everyone right? How does that mesh with the idea that rich people can't get into heaven and that people are supposed to give away all of their stuff?
The Plot to Kill Jesus
Many of the people who witnessed this believed in Jesus, but some went to the Pharisees and told them what happened, they didn't want him to do these things as it might make them lose power. So they worked on a plan to capture and kill Jesus
[Edit] If you want a much more thorough look at this passage, you should check out The Wise Fool post about it]