Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative to present Jesus in the context he walked in with the unknown disciple that narrates introducing my thoughts and sparking more ideas with his questions. Enjoy.
We followed them to the tomb. Jesus, once more deeply moved, asked to be taken to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
“Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Jewish families would allow the body to decompose inside the tomb for one year; at the end of the year, the bones would be placed in a container that could then be stored in a slot in the tomb wall. Sometimes people left spices with the body, but after “four days,” one would smell the decomposition.
Our Jewish tradition believes that the soul abandoned the body after three days. Could Jesus bring Lazarus back from the dead? Everyone else he had hadn’t been gone for four days. Maybe two days at the most.
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
The crowd started whispering behind us.
“What’s he doing?”
“Haven’t they been hurt enough?”
“Quiet. He’s a miracle worker.”
“No one’s done this before though.”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Then Jesus looked straight into the tomb, saying, “Lazarus, come out!”
Quiet, the crowd watched.
“Is that something moving in the shadows?
“Yes! It’s a man!”
“Did he do it!”
The dead man came out, his hands and feet tightly wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face.
Everyone started shouting and jumping. Mary and Martha ran to Lazarus, hugging him despite the lingering smell on his grave clothes.
Grinning, Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Cultural Background Bible