Dead Man Walking

What’s the shortest verse in the Bible? Coincidentally, it's right next to the biggest miracle our Master ever performed. The words “Yeshua wept” (John 11:35) introduce the resurrection of Lazarus.

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Yeshua wept over the death of His friend Lazarus. The people were saying, “See how He loved him!” Sorrowful and broken hearted, our Master Yeshua and the sisters of the dead man arrived at the tomb. His disciples and the company of mourners followed them.

Visitors to the Arab village of al-Azariya can visit a tomb purported to be the one from which the Master called Lazarus forth. The tomb sits within the city that has grown around it, but in the days of the Master, it would have been just outside the little village of Bethany where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived.

Yeshua said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “My Master, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” (John 11:39)

In Jewish tradition, all hope of revivification expired by the fourth day. All other resuscitations Yeshua performed had been same day events. The deceased had been dead no more than a few hours, thus the possibility of swoon and recovery could not be ruled out. In the case of Lazarus, however, there could be no doubt. The man had been dead for more than three days. The rabbis set three days as the absolute limit for hope of revival:

The very height of mourning is not till the third day. For three days the spirit wanders about the tomb, wondering if it may return into the body … then it hovers no more, but leaves the body to itself. (Genesis Rabbah 100:7)

During the first three days, (medical) experts return to the cemetery and examine the dead to determine whether they are really dead ... (Semachot 8:1)

The Master called down into the darkness of the tomb, “Lazar, arise! Come out!” The deceased came out, his hands and feet wrapped in burial garments and his face covered with a headscarf. Yeshua said to them, “Release him, and let him go on his way.”

Of all the Master's many miracles, this was His greatest sign. Proof that He holds the keys to death. First He wept. Then He wiped the tears away, as it says, "O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting?" (Hosea 13:14).

Yeshua offers life to everyone. Why wait until the resurrection? Let Him spiritually bring you back to life today.

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