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It seems that Lazarus died the same day on which our Lord got the message from Martha and Mary, and according to the custom of his country was buried at once. Our Lord stayed two days in Perea beyond Jordan, and spent the fourth in travelling to Bethany. When He arrived there He did not go to Martha's house, for it was full of Jews from Jerusalem, who had come to comfort the sisters, and these Jews were His enemies.
Martha was the first to hear that Jesus was coming, for she was the mistress, and had to go about the house. She set out at once to meet Him. There was faith in her first words to Him, but not full faith. She seemed to be looking forward to what He might gain for her by prayer, not to what He might grant her as God. But her merciful Saviour led her on step by step, till at last she confessed Him to be the Christ, the Son of God.
They were still outside the town, and as it seems near the grave of Lazarus, when at the command of Jesus Christ, Martha sent for her sister. When Mary came she fell at Ilis feet, and said what Martha had said before- Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.' No doubt all through their time of sorrow the sisters had uttered these words again and again, and so they rose to the lips of each on first seeing the Lord Jesus.
Mary wept; the Jews who had followed her wept; and He who in all our afflictions is afflicted, sorrowed with them. He groaned in the spirit,
, and was troubled, till at last He too wept. Jesus wept. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, for He took our infirmities and bare our sorrow's. They went to the grave. It was a cave, like the cave of Machpelah where the patriarchs were buried,' and the sepulchre hewn out of a rock, in which our Lord Himself was laid. These burying-places were shut up at the top or side with large stones. Jesus Christ ordered this stone to be taken
and it was done, though Martha objected. Martha did not yet believe and trust as fully as Mary did.
Before working the miracle Christ spoke to His Father, and gave thanks to Him. He did not pray for the calling back of this soul froin death, as Elijah and Elisha had done. He had power to do it Himself; “the Second Adam' was 'a quickening (or life-giving) Spirit.” Yet the power came from above, and this He desired that the people around should see. • The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. 5 Because He was One with the Father, therefore He could do these mighty works.
The Lord Jesus raised Jairus' daughter by the touch of His hand, together with His voice. He touched the bier on which the widow's son was ' carried. He raised Lazarus by His word alone. He said, 'Lazarus, come forth, and he that was dead came forth. Thus at the last day “all that are in the graves shall hear His Voice, and shall
We may learn a great deal by comparing these miracles together. They are signs of Christ's power to quicken those who are dead in sins. Jairus' daughter is like a soul into which mortal sin has just entered. The widow's son is like a soul which has been given up to sin for a longer time. Lazarus is like a soul long dead to God Genesis, xlix. 30, 31.
2 St. Mark, xv. 46. : 1 Kings, xvii. 21; 2 Kings, iv. 33. * 1 Cor. xv. 45. St. John, v. 19.
* St. John, v. 28, 29.
and goodness, and utterly corrupted. But the Voice of Jesus Christ can restore all to life. Therefore we pray, • Hear me, Lord, my sins confessing,
Tied and bound,
Till the sound
To my grave;
Come and save
Save me by Thy Passion.' We read once more in Scripture of Lazarus. On the Sabbath evening before His last Passover, our Lord Jesus was again at Martha's house in Bethany. There was a feast that day, and while Martha served and Mary anointed His blessed feet, Lazarus sat at table with Him who had ransomed him from the power of the grave." Thus he was a type of the dead in Christ whom He will raise up at the last day, and who will eat and drink with Him at His table in His Kingdom.
But the raising of Lazarus brought about the crucifixion of his Master. The miracle had been wrought in public, before the eyes of many Jews, close to the city of Jerusalem. The chief priests and Pharisees could not deny it, yet they would not receive it as a proof of Christ's power and Godhead. So they met in council, and decreed that He should be put to death. He went away from them to the desert country north of Jerusalem, till the week before the Passover. His
St. John, xii. 2.
enemies thought that He would come to the Holy City to keep the Feast, as God had ordained'; and lle came. They seized Ilim, condemned Ilim, and by wicked hands He was crucified and slain.
XXX.-THE HEALING OF BLIND
Jesus Christ was the Light of the world. Ile said, 'I am come into this world that they which see not might see. Thus we sing of Him in Advent
• He comes, from thickest films of vice
To clear the mental ray ;
celestial day.' On this last journey to Jerusalem He gave sight to Bartimæus near Jericho, as St. Mark relates in chap. x. 46-52; St. Luke, in chap. xviii. 35-43, tells how He healed one blind man, perhaps the same person. St. Matthew, in chap. xx. 29-34, tells of His healing two; of these Bartimaus was no doubt one.
And they came to Jericho: and as Ile went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimæus, the son of Timæus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a
Sr. John, ix. 39.
great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Though Bartimæus was blind, he had learnt more about Jesus of Nazareth than the proud Pharisees, who were so confident they could see. He called Him Son of David. This was the same as calling Him the Messiah; for every Jew at that day knew that the Messiah would be the Son of David. And though our Lord Jesus now sits in glory at God's right hand, yet still He calls Himself the Offspring of David.” 1 Therefore we pray in the Litany, 'O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Bartimæus prayed in faith ; and he persevered in his prayer, though all around him were against him, and Christ Himself made as though He heard him not. But the more the people tried to hush him, the louder he prayed, till his faith received its reward. Jesus said unto him, 'Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.'
And what did Bartimæus do when he had received his sight? He followed Jesus in the way-an example to us that when Christ has opened our eyes we too should follow Him; we must look out for His foot-prints, we must follow
1 Rev. xxii. 16.