There was no doubting that Lazarus had really died. He was well known in his village of Bethany, near Jerusalem, and many had attended his burial. Jesus arrived four days later and went with family members and mourners to the burial site, where he asked that the grave be opened.
Martha, Lazarus’ sister, a very practical woman, objected immediately. “Lord, by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days”. But the grave was opened, and Lazarus emerged, bound in the wrappings his body had been buried in.
Now, Lazarus and Jesus are at a dinner in Bethany, and “a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.” (John 12:9)
Yes, Lazarus, whom they had recently buried, was hosting a dinner for Jesus, who had called him out of the grave, in the presence of many witnesses.
Lazarus was irrefutable evidence that Jesus had power to raise the dead. The reaction of the Jewish religious authorities? “Destroy the evidence!”
Vs 10 – 11 “So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him”.
Many people have a similar response to the irrefutable evidence that Jesus himself was raised from the grave – three days after being publicly executed and declared dead by the Roman authorities.
Many “destroy the evidence” by simply assuming that it does not exist. Others bury it under a mound of bluster and subterfuge.
But the evidence for remains compelling. Skeptics have tried to disprove it, but those who do so with an honest, open mind expose themselves to the danger of becoming convinced Christians – even writing books explaining the compelling evidence that forced them to change their minds and hearts.
Two who have had this experience are: Frank Morrison – “Who Moved the Stone” and J Warner-Wallace – “Cold Case Christianity”
The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection (and therefore for Christianity) is compelling. Will you believe it, or bury it?
– JOHN WILSON