The Raising of Lazarus - by REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn -
from Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
There was a certain man named Lazarus who was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary whose brother Lazarus was sick was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and dried His feet with her hair.) The sisters sent word to Jesus to inform Him, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
Upon hearing this, Jesus said: "This sickness is not to end in death; rather it is for God's glory, that through it the Son of God may be glorified."
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus very much. Yet, after hearing that Lazarus was sick, He stayed on where He was for two days more. Finally He said to His disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
"Rabbi," protested the disciples, "with the Jews only recently trying to stone You, You are going back up there again?"
Jesus answered: "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? If a man goes walking by day he does not stumble, because he sees the world bathed in light. But if he goes walking at night he will stumble, since there is no light in him." After uttering these words, He added, "Our beloved Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him."
At this the disciples objected, "Lord, if he is asleep his life will be saved."
Jesus had been speaking about his death, but they thought He meant sleep in the sense of slumber. Finally Jesus said plainly, "Lazarus is dead. For your sakes I am glad I was not there, that you may come to believe. In any event, let us go to him."
Then Thomas (the name means "Twin") said to his fellow disciples, "Let us go along, to die with him."
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. The village was not far from Jerusalem -- just under two miles -- and many Jewish people had come out to console Martha and Mary over their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went to meet Him, while Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would never have died. Even now, I am sure that God will give You whatever You ask of Him."
"Your brother will rise again," Jesus assured her.
"I know he will rise again," Martha replied, "in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her: "I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in Me, though he should die, will come to life; and whoever is alive and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
"Yes, Lord," she replied. "I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God: He Who is to come into the world."
When she had said this she went back and called her sister Mary. "The Teacher is here, asking for you," she whispered. As soon as Mary heard this, she got up and started out in His direction. (Actually Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still at the spot where Martha had met Him.) The Jews who were in the house with Mary consoling her saw her get up quickly and go out, so they followed her, thinking she was going to the tomb to weep there.
When Mary came to the place where Jesus was, seeing Him, she fell at His feet and said to Him, "Lord, if You had been here my brother would never have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jewish folk who had accompanied her also weeping, He was troubled in spirit, moved by the deepest emotions. "Where have you laid him?" He asked.
"Lord, come and see," they said.
Jesus began to weep, which caused the Jews to remark, "See how much He loved him!"
But some said, "He opened the eyes of that blind man. Why could He not have done something to stop this man from dying?"
Once again troubled in spirit, Jesus approached the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across it. "Take away the stone," Jesus directed.
Martha, the dead man's sister, said to Him, "Lord, it has been four days now; surely there will be a stench!"
Jesus replied, "Did I not assure you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" They then took away the stone and Jesus looked upward and said: "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, that they may believe that You sent Me." Having said this, He called loudly, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, bound hand and foot with linen strips, his face wrapped in a cloth. "Untie him," Jesus told them, "and let him go free."
This caused many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, to put their faith in Him.