Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, sent a messenger to Jesus to tell him their brother was sick. Instead of rushing to Lazarus' bedside, Jesus remained where he was two more days.
When Jesus finally arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead and in his tomb four days. Jesus ordered that the stone over the entrance be rolled away, then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
The Bible tells us little about Lazarus the person. We don't know his age, what he looked like, or his occupation. No mention is made of a wife, but we can assume Martha and Mary were widowed or single because they lived with their brother. We do know Jesus stopped at their home with his disciples and was treated with hospitality. (Luke 10:38-42, John 12:1-2)
Jesus' raising of Lazarus back to life marked a turning point. Some of the Jews who witnessed this miracle reported it to the Pharisees, who called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. They began to plot Jesus' murder.
Rather than acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah because of this miracle, the chief priests also plotted to kill Lazarus to destroy the proof of Jesus' divinity. We are not told whether they carried out that plan. Lazarus is not mentioned again in the Bible after this point.
The account of Jesus raising Lazarus occurs only in the Gospel of John, the gospel that most strongly focuses on Jesus as the Son of God. Lazarus served as an instrument for Jesus to provide indisputable proof that he was the Savior.
Accomplishments of Lazarus:Lazarus provided a home for his sisters which was characterized by love and kindness. He also served Jesus and his disciples, supplying a place where they could feel safe and welcome. He recognized Jesus not just as a friend but as Messiah. Finally, Lazarus, at the call of Jesus, came back from the dead to serve as witness to Jesus' claim to be the Son of God.
Lazarus' Strengths:Lazarus was a man who showed godliness and integrity. He practiced charity and believed in Christ as Savior.
Life Lessons:Lazarus placed his faith in Jesus while Lazarus was alive. We too must choose Jesus before it's too late.
By showing love and generosity to others, Lazarus honored Jesus by following his commands.
Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the source of eternal life. He no longer raises people from the dead as he did Lazarus, but he promises bodily resurrection after death to all who believe in him.
Hometown:Lazarus lived in Bethany, a small village about two miles southeast of Jerusalem on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.
Referenced in the Bible:John 11, 12.
Family Tree:Sisters - Martha, Mary
Key Verses:John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (NIV)
Jesus wept. (NIV)
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." (NIV)
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.