The Jewish feast of the Passover drew near; and with it, the
last days of the life of Jesus Christ on earth occurred. The malice of the
Pharisees and Jewish leaders reached its peak. Their hearts hardened from envy,
love of power, and other vices, and they did not want to accept the simple and
compassionate teachings of Christ. They awaited a convenient occasion to seize
the Saviour and put Him to death; and now, the time for them had arrived. The
power of darkness set in, and the Lord was being betrayed into the hands of
At this time in the village
of Bethany, Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was ill. The
Lord loved Lazarus and his sisters and often visited this blessed family.
When Lazarus fell ill, Jesus Christ was not in Judea. The
sisters sent to Him, saying, "Lord! The one whom You
love is ill."
But when Jesus Christ heard it He said, "This
illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may
be glorified by means of it."
The Saviour stayed two days longer in the place
where He was. Then, He said to the disciples, "Let us go into Judea again.
Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." Jesus
Christ spoke to them about the death of Lazarus, and the disciples thought that
He was talking about usual sleep; and since sleep at a time of illness was a
good sign of recovery, they said, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he
Then, Jesus Christ told them plainly, "Lazarus
is dead; and for your sake, I am glad I have not been there, so that you may
believe. But let us go to him."
When Jesus came to Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Many
of the Jews from Jerusalem had come to Martha and Mary to console them.
Martha first heard that Jesus was coming and
hurried to meet Him. Mary, in deep grief, sat in the house. When Martha met the
Saviour, she said, "Lord, if You had been here,
my brother would not have died. And even now, I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You."
Jesus Christ said to her, "Your brother will
Martha said to Him, "I know that He will rise
again in the resurrection at the last day (that is, in the general,
resurrection at the end of the world)."
Then, Jesus said to her, "I am the
resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me,
though he die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Martha said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I believe
that You are the Christ, the Son of God, Who is to
come into the world." When she had said this, she quickly went home and
quietly said to her sister Mary, "The Teacher is here and is calling for
Mary, as soon as she heard this joyful news, rose
quickly and went to Jesus Christ. When the Jews who were with her in the house
consoling her saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her supposing
that she was going to the tomb to weep there. The Saviour had not yet come to
the village but was still in the place where Martha had met Him.
Mary, when she came where Jesus was, fell at His
feet saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here,
my brother would not have died."
When Jesus Christ saw her weeping and the Jews who
came with her also weeping, He was deeply troubled in spirit and said,
"Where have you laid him?"
They said to Him, "Lord, come and see."
Jesus Christ wept.
When they came to the tomb of Lazarus, it was a
cave, and the entrance was blocked up with a stone. Christ said, "Take
away the stone."
Martha said to Him, "Lord! By this time there
will be an odour, for he has been dead for four days."
Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that
if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?" So they took away
Then, Jesus lifted His eyes to Heaven and said to
God His Father, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. I know that
Thou hearest Me always, but I have said this on
account of the people standing by Me that they may believe that Thou hast send
When He had said this, He cried with a loud voice,
"Lazarus, come forth." The dead man came out, His hands and feet
bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth, as the Jews dressed the
Jesus said to them, "Unbind him and let him
go." Then, many of the Jews, who had been there and seen this miracle,
believed in Jesus Christ. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them
what Jesus had done. The enemies of Christ, the chief priests and the Pharisees
were troubled and fearing that all the people would believe in Jesus Christ,
gathered a council and decided to kill Jesus Christ. Word of this great miracle
began to spread all over Jerusalem. Many Jews went to the home of Lazarus to see him and
having seen believed in Jesus Christ. Then, the chief priests and scribes
plotted to kill Lazarus. But Lazarus, after his resurrection by the Saviour,
lived a long time and was later a bishop on the island
the Gospel of John 11:1-57 and 12:9-11.
This great miracle of the Saviour, the raising of
Lazarus, is commemorated by the Holy Orthodox Church on the Saturday of the
sixth week of the Great Fast (the eve of Palm Sunday).
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