Jesus had been a very close family friend of Lazarus and his sisters. They knew who He was and what He was capable of. When Lazarus became very sick, his sisters sent a message to Jesus, fully expecting Him to come immediately to help. They were somewhat surprised, and perhaps a little resentful when Jesus did not come straight to their home in Bethany, near Jerusalem, on the east slope of the Mount Of Olives. Although relatively nearby, Jesus in fact deliberately stayed away for a time!
When Jesus arrived, He was greeted by an emotional scene. Lazarus had many friends who were still there grieving with Martha and Mary. Jesus himself was affected, as described in the simple verse, "Jesus wept."
Jesus then went to the tomb where Lazarus had been taken, and ordered that it be opened. Apparently not realizing what Jesus was about to do, Martha suggested that it would not be such a good idea because by then the body would have "a bad odor." Nevertheless, the stone across the front of the cave was rolled away.
After a brief prayer to The Father, Jesus simply said in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" Immediately Lazarus awoke and came out, still covered with his grave coverings, healthy and alive. To have actually witnessed this scene must have been thrilling to say the least.
Jesus intended the entire incident to be a demonstration of the power and glory of God and His son Jesus Christ. He allowed His friend Lazarus to die from whatever illness that he had contracted so that he could be brought back to life before witnesses. The matter was for the record. He said so Himself.
Incredibly, some of the local authorities who learned of this miracle thereafter became even more bitterly opposed to Jesus. They feared that the people would follow the Savior instead of them. Rather than being joyous and spiritually strengthened by this undeniable proof that Jesus was in fact Who and What He said He was, they decided that there was only one way to protect their own petty political positions - to find a way to kill Him!
Fact Finder: How long was Lazarus in the tomb before Jesus arrived?
(a) 12 hours (b) 1 day (c) 4 days (d) 1 week