Hard to believe it is Saturday already. So I will wrap up this week's blogs about our current Bible Lesson which asks; "Are sin, disease, and death real?"
The third account addresses the unreality of death. Jesus has already demonstrated the power of divine Love to heal blindness, deafness, leprosy, insanity, the ability to walk on water and still storms, and to overcome a multitude of other challenges. He has raised a young girl who had just been reported dead, he had restored a young man who had died the day before to his widowed mother, and now he is going to bring someone out of the grave. I am sure he knew that not only could he do this for others but he was going to demonstrate it for himself. He was paving the way for the world to believe in this. Look at the cover of Science and Health and read his personal message to each of us: Cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead. He did. And he expects us to make these demonstrations as well.
Jesus loved everyone but he also had some special friends; Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus. Word reaches Jesus while he is travelling that Lazarus is sick. Did the sisters generate that call for help? We don't know but his response may seem surprising. He does not leave immediately to go to this family. He began the treatment however by stating that the sickness was not 'unto death', but for the glory of God. He already knew what was going to happen. The Son of God would be glorified and many would believe this undeniable overcoming of death. Neither the young girl nor the young man had been buried. By the time Jesus returns to Bethany Lazarus will have lain in his grave four days. There is no way anyone could say he just appeared to be dead and then revivied.
His disciples were reluctant for him to go at all as the last time he was there the Jews tried to stone him. But Jesus knows what he needs to do and I'm sure he spent those days in prayer preparing. He is going to wake Lazarus from sleep just as he will awaken himself after the crucifixion and burial.
Mrs. Eddy writes; "God does not cause man to sin, to be sick, or to die". (S&H 206). Those who believe Jesus to be the Son of God will not see death either as they gain the true idea of infinite Life.
So Jesus arrives where many have gathered to comfort Martha and Mary. He speaks first with Martha. From what we've read about her she would be the one up and busy, tending to this crowd of friends and neighbors gathered at her home. She says that if Jesus had been there here brother would not have died. I like to think she says that as a positive affirmation and not a reproach. He assures her that her brother will rise again and she agrees, but at the time of resurrection. He tells her plainly that he is the resurrection and the life. Word of his arrival has reached Mary where she has been mourning. She comes to him - note he does not go to her - and falls at his feet, weeping. She says the same thing Martha had said, if you had been here my brother had not died, but it is plain that she is overcome by the loss. Jesus sees Mary and the other Jews weeping and he groans in spirit.
I wrote an article for the periodicals about Jesus next question - where have you laid him? - you can access this article on the new Journal, Sentinal, Herald site or find it in the bound volumes at the reading room. (Journal, April 2011). In that article I addressed that question and urged you to see just where you have 'put' someone who appears to be in a serious challenge. Where do you see them right at that moment in your own thought about them? Martha was feeling the loss but she believed she would see her brother at the resurrection. Mary was too caught up in her grief, she had already laid him in his grave. They answer his question with 'come and see'. Remember that because it is the same invitation the angel will make to Mary when she once again comes weeping to where she thinks Jesus has been buried. What was she expecting to see? What are you expecting to see?
You know what happens next. Jesus calls to Lazarus and Lazarus answers that call from the Christ. It would have taken a few minutes for him to get to his feet, bound hand and foot, and make his way out of the tomb. Jesus had already ordered the stone blocking it to be moved away. (There will be no one there to do that for him). When Lazarus does appear it seems that no one rushes to help him so Jesus instructs them to loose him and let him. Loose him from the claim of death and let him go.
We read this in Science and Health, "If Jesus awakened Lazarus from the dream, illusion, of death, this proved that the Christ could improve on a false sense. Who dares to doubt this consummate test of the power and willingness of divine Mind to hold man forever intact in his perfect state, and to govern man's entire action?" Do you doubt it?
So after a week of study and prayer I hope you are confident in being able to answer the question posed this week. We get there step by step, doing our best and highest sense of right day by day. What am amazing journey we are all on!