BETHANY, MARCH, AD 30
Confirmed reports indicate that Jesus of Nazareth raised a local man from the dead yesterday. Lazarus of Bethany had been pronounced dead and had been entombed for nearly four days when the miracle was accomplished. Scores of witnesses here confirm the death period, and forty-five persons were observers of the sequence of events that culminated in the resurrection of Lazarus. He is now completely conscious and well, and has no memory of the death period he endured.
Jesus was notified of illness
Jesus was in Philadelphia last Sunday when he was first notified by a runner that his friend, Lazarus, was quite ill. But, Lazarus had already died a few hours after the messenger had left Bethany for Philadelphia. The sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, had hoped Jesus could return in time to heal their brother. Lazarus was in his tomb when a puzzling message was received by the sisters from Jesus at noon Tuesday, that “this sickness is really not to the death.” Jesus did not arrive until Thursday morning. Martha, and later Mary, met him some distance from the family home, which was filled with mourners. It is believed the women received word of Jesus’ approach and went to meet him because of the presence of many people in their home who are hostile to Jesus. Upon meeting the sisters, Jesus declared: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.” After comforting them, Jesus asked to be taken to the tomb.
Jesus taken to burial site
Observers say that Jesus wept as he approached the tomb. As the curious mourners assembled around the site, many whispered negative comments about Jesus. General opinion prevailed that Jesus had been very slow in responding to the distress of the sisters. Some said that if Jesus healed the sick and made the blind see, it was strange he had not come in time to save his friend. A few even doubted the sincerity of Jesus’ tears. But all were silent when Jesus commanded that the stone in front of the tomb be rolled away. Martha appealed to Jesus, stating that Lazarus had now been dead four days, and that decay had certainly set in. Also, it is generally believed that the spirit of a dead person tarries no longer than three days before abandoning the body forever.
The resurrection of Lazarus
Witnesses to the next events agree that, when the stone was removed, the body of Lazarus could be dimly observed in the burial niche. The burial cloths were still intact. Jesus prayed a few moments before the tomb, and then said in a loud voice: “Lazarus, come forth!” Observers agree that within ten seconds or so Lazarus began to stir and then sat up. His body was still bound with burial cloths, and his face was covered by a napkin. Jesus then said: “Loose him and let him go.” At this point all save Martha, Mary and the apostles fled the scene. Some stayed near the house, and others left for their homes. Lazarus casually greeted Jesus and the apostles, and asked why he had awakened in the garden. It took some time for Martha to explain to him what had happened. Lazarus went over to Jesus and, with his sisters, knelt at the Master’s feet to give thanks and offer praise to God. Jesus, taking Lazarus by the hand, lifted him up, saying: “My son, what has happened to you will also be experienced by all who believe this gospel except that they shall be resurrected in a more glorious form.”
By noon today the news of the miracle had spread all over Jerusalem. A special meeting of the Sanhedrin has been called for today.
(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)