Did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead (what does the Bible say)?

The Bible implies that Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus and that he loved him dearly. Believers understand that he had two sisters who, according to the Bible, were also loved by Jesus. To better understand what he was like, Christians intensely read the biblical story about him. So, many still wonder, did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?

According to John 11:43, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Biblical scholars suggest that this miracle strengthened peoples’ faith in God. They further imply that the action glorified God. 

Where in the Bible does it reveal Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead? What led to the death of Lazarus? And why would Jesus wait for long before going to see Lazarus if, indeed, he loved him? These questions will be answered in this article using biblical evidence and commentaries by religious scholars. So, read on!

Where in the Bible does it say Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?

John 11 broadly talks about the death of Lazarus. The scriptures imply that he was a friend of Jesus and was also a brother to Mary and Martha. Lazarus was from Bethany, and the Bible suggests that Jesus dearly loved Lazarus and his sisters. Late in the book of John, the Bible insinuates that Jesus, who wept after the news of his friend’s death, asked that Lazarus’ tomb be opened. After saying a prayer to his father in Heaven, Jesus is seen in John 11:43 ordering Lazarus to come out of his tomb. As miraculous as it sounds, the Bible implies that Lazarus came out wrapped in strips of linen all over his body and a cloth over his face. So, Jesus ordered everyone there to take off the clothes and release him.

What caused Lazarus’ death?

According to John 11:1, Lazarus was sick. However, his exact sickness was not mentioned, though some religious leaders imply that this was a progressive disease. Some believe it was leprosy, while others say it could have been sepsis. Still, it was never mentioned in the scriptures. However, Lazarus passed on due to an illness that had gotten worse.

Where was Jesus when Lazarus died?

The Bible reveals that Jesus was away when Lazarus fell sick. This is why Lazarus’ sisters had to send word to him to seek his help. He decided to stay away for two days and then, later, told his disciples that they had to return to Judea for the sake of Lazarus. Yet Jesus reaches Bethany to discover that Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. This implies that by the time Jesus got the news of his friend being sick, he could have been one full day’s travel from Bethany, and his travel back again could have taken another full day, hence why Lazarus was four days dead.

Now John 10:40 mentions that Jesus was across the Jordan river on the eastern side. So religious scholars imply that Jesus could be here at the time he received the news. Getting back to Bethany would require a full day’s travel, which was around 20 miles, and scholars assume that Bethabara which was across Jordan, would be the most likely place that Jesus was.

Why did Jesus wait four days before raising Lazarus?

Many believers still question why Jesus waited when he received the news of his friend’s illness. In John 11:5-6, the Bible says, Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days…’ This is very weird, don’t you think? We all expect that because he loved Lazarus, he would drop all that he was doing and run to save his friend. Instead, he waited, why?

Later in John 11:15, he tells his disciples, “Lazarus is dead,  and for your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” This statement gives us a clue as to why Jesus had to stay. He wanted his disciples to believe. Many knew that he cured the sick, but raising the dead was not believable to most. So, he wanted to strengthen the faith of his disciples.

Another reason is revealed in John 11:41-42Jesus wanted to bring Glory to God. He mentioned in the Bible that he knew and believed in God, but he wanted the people there to believe in God as well.

Why did Jesus weep if he was going to raise Lazarus?

According to John 11:35, Jesus wept. This is the shortest verse in the Bible, yet it holds a lot of weight. Believers wonder why would Jesus weep if he knew that he would raise his friend from the dead. Theologians suggest that Jesus did not just weep because of the compassion he had toward his friend but also because of his grief over our sin. When Adam went against God, humankind was punished with death (Genesis 3:19).

Christians should not forget that death is an enemy. Paul says in Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death. Death was not created by God but came about because of Adam’s sin. By raising Lazarus, Jesus showed defeat over death and that one day, Christians will have overcome death. Still, the death of his friend brought him grief over our sins.

Of everyone that got sick and died, why did Jesus choose Lazarus?

The Bible mentions that Jesus loved Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Many wonder why Jesus chose to perform his miracle on his friend. The answer is very straightforward. From the passage about Lazarus, religious scholars understand that Jesus’ delay in going to see his friend was intentional. He wanted God to be glorified and for his disciples and other believers to gain faith in him.

Lazarus was chosen because he was loved by Jesus and was a close friend of his. People needed to see that Jesus’ power was real. He could have chosen to go to Lazarus immediately when he was sick (John 11:36), but instead, he chose to stay and then perform the miracle that would lead to God being glorified.

What happened to Lazarus after Jesus raised him from the dead?

Did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead?
Lazarus is raised from the dead. Source: Pinterest

We see in John 12, six days before Passover, when Jesus again visited Bethany. He was a visitor in Lazarus’ home and was even served by Martha. Mary, on the other hand, washed his feet with an expensive perfume, using her hair. John 12:9-11 later suggests that many Jews visited Jesus and Lazarus, and therefore the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus since many Jews were getting saved on his account. 

After this, Lazarus is not mentioned again in the Bible. However, some theologians argue that after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, Lazarus and his sisters moved to Cyprus, and here Lazarus became a bishop of Kition and died of natural causes in AD 63. Other biblical commentators suggest that they moved to Gaul to further Jesus’ message and preach, and here Lazarus became the bishop of Marseilles. Later, they believe that he was beheaded under Emperor Domitian’s tyranny.

Lessons Christians learn from Jesus raising Lazarus.

There are many lessons that believers pick from the action of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

He mentions this to Martha in John 11:25. So Christians today are encouraged to believe in Jesus because they are his, and nobody can snatch them away from his hands (John 10:28).

Jesus’ knowledge supersedes that of man.

Everyone questioned Jesus for having to wait too long. His disciples further questioned him for wanting to return to Bethany, where people had rejected him. Yet because of his actions, God was glorified.

Christians should grieve with hope

1 Thessalonians 4:3-14 says, Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. Christians are encouraged to have hope because they will be saved by the Eternal One.


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