HILE Jesus was at Bethabara beyond Jordan, and ready to begin preaching in the land of Perea, he was suddenly called back to the village of Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem. You remember, from Story 132, that Martha, and Mary, and Lazarus, the friends of Jesus, were living in this place.
The word came to Jesus that Lazarus was very ill. But Jesus did not hurry away from Bethabara to go to Bethany. He stayed two days, and then he said to his disciples, "Let us go again to Judea, near Jerusalem."
The disciples said to Jesus, "Master, when we were in Judea last the people tried to stone you and to kill you; and now would you go there again?"
Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go that I may awake him out of his sleep." The disciples said, "Master, if he has fallen asleep, he may be well."
For they thought that Jesus was speaking of taking rest in sleep; but Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead. Then Jesus said to them, "Lazarus is dead; and I am glad that I was not there to keep him alive; for now you will be led to believe in me all the more fully. But let us now go to him."
Then one of the disciples, named Thomas, said to the others, "Let us also go, and die with our Master!"
So Jesus left Bethabara with his disciples, and came to Bethany; and then he found Lazarus had been buried four days. Many of the Jews had come to comfort Martha and Mary in the loss of their brother. They told Martha that Jesus was coming, and she went to meet him, but Mary sat still in the house. As soon as Martha saw Jesus, she said to him very sadly, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother need not have died. And even now, I know that God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again."
"I know that he shall rise," said Martha, "when the last day comes, and all the dead are raised."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection, the raising from the dead; and I am the life. Whoever believes on me, even though he may die, he shall live; and whoever lives and believes on me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, the one who comes into the world."
Then Martha went to her home, and said to her sister Mary, but quietly, so that no other person heard her, "The Master is here, and he asks for you!"
At once Mary rose up to go to Jesus. Her friends thought that she was going to her brother's tomb, and they went with her. Jesus was still at the place where Martha had met him, near the village. When Mary came to him, she fell down at his feet, and said, as her sister had said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother need not have died!"
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping with her, he also was touched, and groaned in his spirit, and was filled with sorrow. He said, "Where have you laid him?"
They showed him the place where Lazarus was buried, a cave, with a stone laid upon the door. Jesus wept as he stood near it, and the Jews said, "See how he loved Lazarus!"
But some of them said, "If this man could open the eyes of the blind, why is it that he could not keep this man whom he loved from dying?"
Jesus, standing before the cave, and still groaning within, said, "Take away the stone!"
Martha said, "Lord, by this time his body has begun to decay, for he has been dead four days."
Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?"
They took away the stone, as Jesus had commanded. Then Jesus lifted his eyes toward heaven, and said:
"Father, I thank thee that thou didst hear me. I know that thou dost hear me always; but because of those who are standing here I spoke, so that they may believe that thou hast sent me."
Then, with a loud voice, Jesus called out, "Lazarus, come forth!"
And the man who had been four days dead came out of the tomb. His body, and hands, and feet were wrapped round and round with grave bands, and over his face was bound a napkin.
Jesus said to those standing near, "Loose him, and let him go!"
When they saw the wonderful power of Jesus in raising Lazarus to life many of the people believed in Jesus. But others went away and told the Pharisees and rulers what Jesus had done. They called a meeting of all the rulers, the great council of the Jews, and they said, "What shall we do, for this man is doing many works of wonder? If we let him alone everybody will believe on him, and will try to make him the king; and then the Romans will make war upon us and destroy our nation and our people."
Lazarus comes to life again
But the high-priest Caiphas said, "It is better for us that one man should die for the people than that our whole nation should be destroyed. Let us put this man to death."
And to this they agreed, and from that day all the rulers found plans to have Jesus slain. But Jesus knew their purpose, for he knew all things. His time to die had not yet come, and he went away with his disciples to a city near the wilderness and not far from Bethabara, where he had been before. And from this place he went forth to preach in the land of Perea, into which he had sent the seventy disciples, as we read in the last story.