Back from the Dead!
A story about Lazarus
by Rosemarie Ann Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian
Mary kicked the dust around with her sandal and groaned. "Why hadn't Jesus come when they told Him that Lazarus was sick? He might have been able to do something then."
Mary was angry. Jesus stayed away for two more days in the same spot He had been. He said He loved her and her family. It had been three whole days since Lazarus died. Jesus had STILL not come.
A rabbit scampered out from underneath some bushes on the side of the dusty road and Mary jumped. Why? Why? Why? She sat on a large stone, buried her face in her hands, and began to cry. Soon she felt a soft hand on her shoulder. She looked up and saw her sister, Martha.
Martha gave her a weak smile and knelt beside her, placing an arm around her sister's shoulder. "We do not need to cry," she said quietly.
Mary shook her head and turned slightly. Martha looked up at her and said, "Maybe it was for the best."
The other woman stood angrily. "No, it wasn't! Jesus didn't come. He let Lazarus die, and you say it may have been for the best! Our own brother! Martha, how could you even SAY such a thing?" Mary ran down the road toward their house, weeping, leaving Martha behind in a cloud of dust.
That night, Martha tossed in her sleep, thinking of what her sister had said. No, Jesus had not come. He STILL had not come. But Martha KNEW he loved them. He loved her, Mary, AND Lazarus. He wouldn't just abandon them. Martha smiled to herself. No, he wouldn't. He would come.
The crickets chirped outside Mary's window loudly, and the tense woman turned restlessly in her blankets. "How did Martha act so calmly about everything? Didn't she love Lazarus? Yes, of course, she did! But what about Jesus? He still had not come. Why? If He had been there, Lazarus would not have died. But it doesn't matter now," she thought to herself. "He's gone, and so is Jesus."
"Oh, thank you, Hannah!" Martha said with half a smile. So many people had come this morning to give food and other gifts to the mourning family. It had now been four days since Lazarus had died and was buried. Martha hung her head.
Mary still would not open up and barely spoke to anyone. Perhaps she wasn't really angry, just hurt. Martha felt hurt, too, but knew that no matter what, Jesus would not fail her. She only wished that Mary felt the same.
She looked over at her sister, who sat alone in the corner of the room, mixing some food in a bowl. Martha sighed heavily, then put on a smile as someone else walked in, holding a jar.
"Rahab! How nice to see you," she smiled at her friend.
"Shalom, Martha! I brought some fruit in here for you. You can keep the jar," Rahab smiled warmly and gave her friend a hug. "I'm sorry about Lazarus. He was such a wonderful man."
Martha gave her a weak smile. "Thank you, Rahab. I appreciate your thoughtfulness."
She walked her friend outside, who then turned to her and said, "Oh, and I was told to tell you that Jesus is on his way. He should be here this morning."
Martha told her, "Thank you," and went down the road to meet Him. She sat down on the side of the road and waited patiently, thinking.
Mary was just hurting. She wasn't really angry, only hurt. Martha couldn't really BLAME her; she was hurt, too. If Jesus had been there, he wouldn't have died. She KNEW it! It was all she could think about.
Suddenly Martha looked up at the sound of voices coming from just around the bend. She got up and ran around the corner to see Jesus and his disciples walking solemnly up the road. She ran to Him and fell at His feet weeping.
"My Lord," she said through sobs. Jesus reached down and helped her up. "My Lord," she repeated, trying to speak through her tears. "If only You had been here. My brother would not have died."
"Your brother will live again," Jesus said with quiet confidence.
"Yes, yes. I know that he will rise again at the resurrection. I know that, but he has been dead four days now," Martha said.
Jesus looked into her eyes and said, "Martha, I am the resurrection; I'm the life. If you believe in Me, even if you were dead, you would live again. And whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Martha wiped her eyes and nodded. "Yes, Lord. I believe you are the Son of God, who has come to this world."
Martha soon turned and ran back to her house. She ran inside and found Mary among some other women, comforting her. She pulled her sister aside and told her privately that Jesus was coming and wanted to see her.
Mary looked at Martha for a moment, then ran out of the house. Martha followed. Soon the other women followed them also, thinking they were going to the grave to weep.
When Mary found Jesus, she ran to him, tears flowing. She fell to His feet and cried, "Lord, if You were here, Lazarus wouldn't have died!" Mary began to weep again and her sister and the other woman wept with her and tried to comfort her.
Jesus looked on and groaned inside. It hurt Him to see them so sad. He asked where they had buried him, and they took Him there. Then He wept with them. The others there talked among themselves saying, "Look at how much He loved him! He cries over his death."
When they came to the grave, which was a cave with a stone covering it, Jesus said, "Take the stone away."
"But, JESUS," Martha objected. "He has been dead four days now; his body will stink."
Jesus turned to her and said, "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you'd see the glory of God?"
Strong men took the stone away. Then Jesus looked up toward Heaven and prayed: "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You hear Me always, but because of people that stand by, I said it, that they may believe You have sent Me."
When Jesus had said these words, all was silent. Then He cried with a loud, authoritative voice:
"LAZARUS, COME FORTH!"
Suddenly, Lazarus walked out of the dark cave, still wrapped from head to foot in bandages, which were considered grave clothes then.
"Take the wrappings off, and let him go," Jesus said with a smile.
Many of the Jews who came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.
Who were Lazarus' sisters?
Did Jesus come right away when He heard Lazarus was sick?
Why do you think He waited?
How many days had Lazarus been dead?
Why was Mary angry?
When Martha went to meet Jesus, what did Jesus tell her?
Did Martha understand what Jesus said?
Why did Jesus weep?
Why didn't Martha want them to take away the stone from the grave?
What might have happened if Jesus had said, "Come forth!" and not
called Lazarus by name?
God weeps with us when we hurt.
A VERSE TO LEARN
"...I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).
Dear God, thank You that You care enough to weep for me.
Help me to show others how much I care.
Thank You for giving me eternal life.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE? John 11:1-45
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