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Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Resurrection and the Life Raises Lazarus from the Grave

Lazarus, Come Forth: The Impossible Raising of Lazarus

Note: this is the second time of writing this as all copies have been erased. Near the Jordan, near Bethabara, where John the Baptist baptised in the early days, Jesus and his disciples retreated for a time of prayer and rest. The place near Bethabara was not far from Bethany, where Jesus had before visited his disciples and good friends, Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus: this was the same Mary who broke the anointing oil over the head of Jesus, the same from whom the Bible notes that seven devils were cast out. Lazarus, though, about this time, falls sick unto death, and the distraught sisters, have one preoccupation: Jesus of Nazareth. Hearing that Jesus is in the vicinity, the older sister Martha, the one worrisome and fraught with household tasks and care, leaves immediately for the shores of the Jordan, so certain that Jesus can aid and heal Lazarus, that she is willing to leave his bedside. She believes that Jesus can heal her brother.

Healing from Death

We have already seen in other healings, that Jesus of Nazareth never had to proclaim nor make public announcements regarding healing, and that by the time Lazarus grows sick, the healings and miracles of the Savior are already well known in Israel. He has been to Capernaum, Decapolis, Cana, Jerusalem, and has made multiple 'circuits' around the territory of both Judea and northern Israel. Further, and more notable, he has already raised two other people from death: the widow of Nain's son, and Jairus' daughter. This 'Master' in Israel has already shown to utter astonishment, that he has power not only over the elements, but even over life and death, though the raising of Lazarus is to reach new bounds. Jesus' raising of the son and daughter prior to the raising of Lazarus is not the first raising from death in Israel!. Both Elijah and Elisha have raised children from death by this time, recounted in the Old Testament:
  1. ELIJAH:[1Ki 17:21-23 KJV] 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
  2. ELISHA[2Ki 4:34-35 KJV] 34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
Further, the healings, as mentioned in the study on the widow's son in Nain, occurred close to where Jesus raised children from the dead, completing a 'circuit' of prophetic healing! (though many years later):  this shows the effect of a prophetic expression or action having a long lasting effect, setting the 'spirit' of a place:  though the widow's son in Zarepheth is raised hundreds of years prior, the raising of the widow of Nain's son occurs not far from the place, and for the second time (or third, with regard to Elisha), a prophet raises a widow's only son.

We have covered in another section, the general ideas involved, including the ethics and principles of 'raising the dead':  whether even if in Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit we should, so it suffices to say in summary, that this most particular 'healing' (healing from death) is so unique, and so filled with the necessity to only be in God's will, that while most healings are always generally in God's will, the raising from death,  in the raising of a child by Elijah and Elisha, the raising of Jairus' daughter (see Jairus' Daughter); the raising of  the widow of Nain's son, and the raising of Lazarus, all bear only a few things in common: they are done by prophets, they are usually younger people, and they are done FOR A PURPOSE-to glorify God.  One might also include yet another 'raising' in which a man presumed dead is thrown in the tomb/cave where a prophet is buried, and revives as he touches his bones.
[2Ki 13:21 KJV] 21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band [of men]; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
This is a necessary caution.  In truth, we should never even take divine healing for granted nor count it lightly: it is a great gift from God, a great working in the Holy Spirit.  While both death and healing are within the sovereignty and providence of God,  death is moreso: while we are alive, God wants us to be whole.  This is shown over and over in the ministry of Jesus:  encountering anyone he heals, Jesus does not stop and take inventory of their spiritual condition, their 'righteousness' , unforgiveness, etc., but takes instead account of only one issue: faith.  If we were to add another consideration, it would be desire:  Jesus on more than one occasion asks if the person to be healed would be "made whole", of if they believe they can be "made whole". (See Being Made Whole) In death though, neither can be expressed, and moreso, death is the eminent obstacle in life:  we all wish we could live forever, but we may not be wise in that wish: we do not see providence in our path too often, and living beyond our appointed time could actually cause great harm for many.  The unknowns in death, the lack of our earthly wisdom and even, on earth our limits of wisdom in the Holy Spirit "where doubts allay" make us inadequate to the task.  When God had his prophets raise people from the dead, it was for a divine purpose.

All this said, there are powerful moves of the Holy Spirit abroad today, and some congregations have seen even the 'dead brought back to life'.   If God allows it, we should rejoice, but if he chooses for us other paths, we should not see it as any disfavor, but rather as grace, particularly if the dying soul was saved.  Summing up then, it is best to see it as something requiring much prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the grace, will and wisdom of God.

The Death of Lazarus and Belief.

For years, as a psychology professor, I mused about 'belief' or rather 'beliefs'.  I conducted a study early in my career on the 'Self' (whatever that is), looking at definition of the self among different kinds of people, and particularly with regard to gender differences.  I found, oddly enough, that females were more likely than males to count beliefs, thoughts, emotions etc. as a more salient factor in their concept of the "Self" than males:  males counted body as a first factor, then secondly the 'internal dialogue'  while females counted it first.   I wrote a brilliant defense of the differences, though years later I am still not sure I believe it.

'Belief' though, is not at all a peculiarly psychological factor, indeed few researchers ever deal with the issue:  belief and faith are two sides to a little understood coin.  'Belief' is where we separate from Philosophy, Psychology and

Posted by Elizabeth Kirkley Best at 5/24/2010 02:25:00 AM No comments:
any years later) Posted by Elizabeth Kirkley Best at 5/24/2010 02:25:00 AM No comments:

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