The Rising of Lazarus

May 23, 2022 | grief, happiness, Mary Magdalene

This one miraculous event changed our lives forever. 

Today I am sharing the poignant moment when Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. This incredible moment recorded in history gives insight to Christ’s intimate connection with Mary Magdalene and her family. Afterall, Lazarus was her brother:

 

The mournful wailing downstairs was macabre, causing me to recall the tragic week of my brother’s passing which was to harken Jesu’s Messianic status. Lazarus, despite being young and active, suddenly became ill. Death came like a thief in the night and crushed him. He was dead within days. The whole village had grieved with us and father sent word for Jesu, who was preaching in the city.

 

It was the common understanding of our people that the angel’s sword of death began to work by sundown on the third day. The departure of the soul was said to have taken its full effect by sunrise on the fourth day, though it was generally believed that the deceased might still remain, lingering about the tomb, seeking to reoccupy its dead body. But by dawn of the fourth day, it was firmly accepted that the soul of the deceased had been taken to the abode of departed spirits. Jesu arrived in Bethany on the fourth day. A small crowd of mourners were still gathered, offering prayers outside the sepulcher. When Jesu appeared on that momentous Thursday afternoon, he spent a few minutes comforting our family, asking, “Tell me Sisters, where have you buried him?”

 

When the locals saw Jesu approaching, they were astounded. “Behold how he loved him. Could he who opened the eyes of the blind, not have kept this man from dying?” one of the men shouted. Controversy followed Jesu everywhere, this was nothing new. They understood him not. Our family crypt was hewn from a cave on the edge of a rock face rising up some thirty-feet at the far end of the olive orchards. Jesu walked to the center of the crowd that surrounded the tomb’s entrance. Suddenly everything fell silent. Raising up his arms high in the air, he vibrated with expectancy, ready to execute the bidding of our beloved sovereign Lord. Unexpectedly, he set about shaking his hands in an unnerving display of what I, at first, mistook for grief, for Lazarus had been as much a brother to Jesu, as he was to Martha and I. He broke the silence like a strong wind, muttering in a strange foreign language, as if he were speaking to someone, though we could see no one there. There was an unusual resonance to his voice which emerged out of him like a force of nature. It was out of the ordinary. I was awe-struck to see him thus, for he had become so powerful and self-assured since last I had seen him.

 

Approaching the burial chamber, he easily rolled the burly stone to one side as if it were something of little consequence. The professional wailers at once fell silent. “Do not roll away the stone, for our brother has now been dead nigh on four days!” Martha cried out, running to stop him. She presumed that Jesu wished to look upon our dead brother, who had gone to meet his Maker, and, worried that his body had already begun to decay, she cried out. Jesu turned to face her, holding up his right hand in protest, with a fixed gaze. Searching the crowds he said, “Did I not tell you that this sickness was not to the death? Have I not come to fulfill my promise, and, after I came to you, did I not say that if you would only believe, that you would see the glory of God? Wherefore do you still doubt me? How long before you will have faith?” he asked. Father was beside himself, “Son, what in God’s name are you doing?” he howled.

 

My nerves fluttered in the pit of my stomach, for I was filled with conflicted emotions of dread and excitement. A cold tremor ran through me and my body pulsed with apprehension. Jesu bent not to my father’s will, but the Lord’s. “Do not be disturbed by what I do. Have faith in me, for your son is not gone,” Jesu appeased him, turning toward the entrance willfully, hastening into the looming mouth of the crypt without hesitation. We were riveted to the spot like statues, while his words rang in our ears like flames burning bright in our spirit. “May the will of the Lord preserve us,” I heard my father whisper.

 

The beliefs and opinions regarding the departure of the spirits of the dead, served to make sure in the minds of all who were present at Lazarus’ tomb and subsequently to all who might hear of what was about to occur, that this was a declaration to one and all that the Messiah, the anointed one, who had been waited for and prayed for, had finally come.

 

Jesu disappeared into the crypt. There was an eerie quiet. Breathlessly, we watched in trepidation. I had heard of Jesu’s abilities, and part of me hoped he could return our brother to us. ‘But that would be a miracle and people can’t perform that kind of miracle,’ I thought to myself as the wailers again began their pitiful cries, filling the silence with their sympathetic howls. It had been a black week for my family, despite the gathering of friends who had come to pray and offer us comfort. But no consolation could deter the feelings that ruthless death had instilled in us.

 

After some time, Jesu emerged to a captive audience. He turned to face the wide-open entrance and in a raised voice commanded, “Lazarus, come to me.” Everyone stood spellbound, their eyes transfixed on the dark shadowy opening.

Holding his gaze on the tomb expectantly, with his long arms outstretched to greet his lost brother, “Lazarus, come to me!” he commanded, in an encouraging voice. Then, suddenly, in the quiet of the afternoon, a muffled sound came from within the tomb. All at once our brother appeared in the dim light, his body still wrapped in burial shrouds. The cloth which had covered his face, fell to the ground to gasps of shock and horror, as our brother stood ashen-faced before us, eyes flashing ominously in our direction. He held a pained, dark, puzzled expression and was muttering something illegible under his breath. “Come to me Brother,” Jesu cried, blinking back tears.

 

Death was still upon him, for my brother stumbled clumsily, swaying, moving unnaturally floundering like a disembodied spirit. It was the strangest thing I ever did see. Flabbergasted, we ran to him, marveling at the unworldly event we had witnessed. His eyes widened as he lunged forward, drawing in quick breaths, covering his mouth with his hand which was still swathed in bandages. With a look of confusion on his face, yelping, he gasped, walking unsteadily toward us. Everyone jumped back petrified. “Lazarus is risen!” someone shouted, as my brother touched his hand to his forehead disbelievingly. “I saw him dead four days since and now look… he is alive! This must be Satan’s work!” one of the women hollered, vocalizing her terror. Glancing around to see if others were witnessing the same incomprehensible event, my father pounded a fist against his chest, running astonished into his son’s arms before the awed crowd. Martha and I held onto one another, staggering to Lazarus’ side.

 

I was unable to find words to explain or fathom what had taken place. Carefully, we unwrapped my brother’s bandages, revealing his greenish-gray limbs and a disagreeable, putrid smell. A nervous energy pumped through my veins, disregarding my personal overwhelm. Jesu covered Lazarus’ body with his shawl, leading him through the gathered throng of pale-faced witnesses, who were unsettled by what they had seen. Later that night, Jesu told my father that he wasn’t sure why he had overturned my brother’s fate, for as he came upon Bethany, transported by the sound of the wailers, without thinking, believing in a positive outcome, he knew he was willing to put himself in harm’s way to get Lazarus back. Obeying the Lord’s will, for He had so commanded him, in that moment, he had thought only of heeding the Lord’s call. He had not wished to appear boorish, yet in some fated way, he had known that it was part of his destiny to raise Lazarus.

 

This one miraculous event changed our lives forever. Jesu reversed the cause of our family’s distress and it drew attention, good and bad, to his transparent, significant power. Far and wide, rumors of Jesu’s supernatural occurrence spread, and Jews and Romans alike flocked pleadingly, hopeful of his assistance. Jesu was propelled into the limelight as a man having the light of God’s power within him, while some suspicious minds were convinced it was the work of dark magic. ‘Since the beginning of time, there are always those who see only darkness in the light,’ I thought. Letters came from people far and wide, beseeching Jesu to heal their sick and dying. In turn, he gave them comfort, offering hope unto the downcast and unfortunate who faithfully flocked to him, overburdened by distress. Generously, he gave to all who came to him, telling them to be faithful unto the Lord, and to shield themselves defensively against immorality and wickedness.

 

Within weeks, throngs of people searched him out, and he led the crowds into the countryside, away from the faithless leaders who he knew would find fault in what he did. Hundreds of manic, helpless men, women and children yearning for relief from their terrible tribulations, followed us into the desert to receive healing. It was plain for all to see that the foretold Messiah had finally arrived, for Jesu had the power to restore life, which was a power belonging to the Lord and His representatives alone.

 

Surviving death made my brother a somber, introspective man. In death, he had seen things which are beyond human imaginings. Lazarus shared in detail how on the fourth day, he could feel someone’s will being so great, that it had forced his soul to obey his command, despite his having passed over the ninth wave. “I was happy to remain in Heaven,” he told us with a far-off look in his eyes, “but Jesu was too powerful for me, I could not deny him. His will was thunderous, as he overruled the unrelenting laws of death for our sake,” he said, smiling. “Death is not what people imagine it to be…”

 

The shock of what had transpired took its toll on our father, who quickly took to his deathbed, leaving us orphaned. This time Jesu came not to our rescue, for it was father’s time.

 

Krishna Rose

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Krishna Rose