Do You Believe?- 1/15/2023
When Jesus reached Bethany, He found that Lazarus had already been dead for four days. A Jewish superstition says a soul stays near the grave for three days, hoping to return to the body. Therefore, it was accepted that there was absolutely no hope of resuscitation after four days. When the messenger had brought back word from Jesus that Lazarus would not die (vs. 4), this superstition may have added to the hope that perhaps Lazarus wasn't really dead. However, by now, Lazarus' body would have been washed, covered with myrrh, aloes, and other spices, and then wrapped with long strips of cloth. A special cloth was tied over his face. At this point, Martha and Mary were probably coming to terms with the fact that Lazarus was dead. Many Jews had come to mourn with them, as they were a well-respected family, and since Lazarus was buried in a tomb, it suggests that this family had wealth. The poor were buried in the ground while the rich bought land and put their dead in tombs or caves. The sisters were mourning the death of their brother. The despair they felt that he was gone must have been unbearable. Yet when Jesus came to Bethany, Martha left her position of mourning and went to meet Jesus. Jesus was the hope that Martha needed. Did she believe that Jesus could raise Lazarus' rotting body from the dead? Did she believe that Jesus was the Resurrection and the Life? Do we believe?