Adult education should challenge your thoughts to your inner core. But, this is one question that never entered my mind. There are stories of people who were buried alive because sometimes, they couldn't tell when people slipped into a coma and only appeared to be dead. The evidence in this account, is overwhelmingly tipped toward his death. It does not hurt to ask the question. It makes you think a little bit and reinforces "your" faith. We find the Raising of Lazarus in John, chapter 11:1-44, and is curiously not synoptic., which in the end, probably means very little.
What does say more than words, is the very next course of action, and that is how the Sanhedrin responded. Verse (48) says: "If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." Jesus is a threat to them. Following that, is Palm Sunday. Chapter 12:12 "they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, (13) "took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' The King of Israel!"
That sounds to me like the word was out. The facts of the story stand alone. He was dead four days with a "stench". In chapter 44, it says "And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth."
Jesus prayed eyes lifted, (Chapter 41) "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me." The old testament teaching is that God hears the righteous. The by-standers witnessed the Glory of God in the miracle.
The raising of Lazarus is a Prefigurement of the death and Resurrection of Christ, the mystery of the Golgotha events. It is a confirmation of the universal resurrection, and the Power that Christ has over death. There was no indication that Lazarus came out bearing marks of decay, which proves that God is able to "restore" our bodies after physical decay.
Lazarus of Bethany, was sick and died while Jesus postponed his arrival, delaying it two more days, where the Jews sought to stone him. Saying (11) "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." and further, (14) "Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead" (7) "Let us go to Judea again." Jesus, the only sinless One, does not lie. If He said he was dead, he was dead.
The line that nails it for me is (35-36) "Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!"
Weeping is the natural human response to death. (Chapter 11:45) "The many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him." (46) "But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did."
By Raising Lazarus from the dead before His passion, Jesus sealed His own death. Through His death came Life."
So,what do you think? Was Lazarus dead or alive?
All scriptural references were taken from The Orthodox Study Bible"
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