Who Was Lazarus?
The name Lazarus is synonymous with the Hebrew, “Eliezer.” It means “my God is help.” Martha and Mary sent Jesus an urgent message alerting Jesus that they urgently needed His assistance. He was for two more days.Jesus was at least one day’s journey away from Bethany. By the time the message reached him, Lazarus had already died. Jesus waited for two additional days, timing His arrival to take place exactly on the fourth day after Lazarus’ death. But why?
Three Days After Death
The answer may lie in a Jewish tradition that can be traced back to the time of Jesus. The soul of a deceased person was believed to linger behind, hovering over the dead body for three days, desperately trying to get back inside the body. “Berei and R. Pappi, R. Joshua of Sikhnin in the name of R. Levi:
‘For the first three days after death the soul floats above the body, thinking that it will return to the body. When the soul sees the body, that the appearance of the face has changed, it leaves the body and goes its way.'” (Jerusalem Talmud, Yebamot 16:3)
When Jesus arrived, He declared: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies…”. Being deeply moved by the sorrow of His fellow Jews over the death of Lazarus, He resurrected him from the dead at exactly the time He had planned to do so all along.
Why Was Jesus Late?
Why was Jesus late? He was late to show that resurrection is not something that He does; resurrection is something that He is!
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