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Martha and Mary, and must strangely surprise them, and exercise both their's and his disciples faith; since it is probable, that before the messenger arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had expired. Soon after Jesus positively assured his disciples, that Lazarus was dead,
St. Luke, in the beginning of his account, tells us, that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus; and that after he had received the message, he abode two days in the same place where he was. His design in this might be to insinuate, that his lingering so long after the message came, did not proceed from a want of concern for his friends, but happened according to the counsels of his own wisdom: for the length of time which Lazarus lay in the grave, put his death beyond all possibility of doubt, removed every suspicion of fraud, and consequently afforded Jesus a fit opportunity of displaying the love he bore to Lazarus, as well as his own almighty power, in his undoubted resurrection from the dead. His sisters, indeed, were by this means kept a while in painful anxiety, on account of their brother's life, and at last were pierced by the sorrow of seeing him die: yet they must surely think themselves abundantly recompensed, by the evidence accruing to the gospel from this astonishing miracle, as well as by the inexpressible surprise of joy they felt, when they again had their brother restored from the dead.
At the expiration of two days, Jesu6 said to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again, John xi. 7. His disciples were astonished at this proposal, and the recollection of his late danger in that country alarmed them : Master, said they, the Jerus of late thought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again ? Wilt thou hazard thy life amongst those who desired nothing more than to find an opportunity of killing thee? Jesus answered, are there not twelve hours in the day ? Is anu man walk in the day he stumbleth not because he seeth the light of this reorld: but if a man tulke in
the night he stumbleth, because there is no lighi in
Thus he intended to inform his disciples, that they had no reason to fear, seeing his day was appointed, and the light of the Almighty was in him ; that he could not stumble nor fall, before the night of his passion approached, but that night was coming when no man could work. Jesus having thus removed their groundless apprehensions and strengthened their faith, that he might clearly explain to them the cause of his going into Judea again, told them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth ; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. The disciples understanding his discourse in a literal sense, replied, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well; his distemper is abated, and he in all probability is recovering. It would be, therefore, highly unreasonable in us to take two days journey only to awake him out of his sleep. Thus they covered their fears, and hinted to their Master, that it would be far safer to continue where they were, than to take a hazardous journey into Judea. They were, however mistaken: for the evangelist informs us, that he spake of his death, but they thought, that he had spoken of taking rest in sleep. Jesus, therefore, to remove any doubts, said plainly to them, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there, to the intent that you might believe : I am glad for your sakes, that I was not in Judea before he died; for had I been there, and restored him to his health, your faith in me, as the Messiah, must have wanted the great confirmation it shall now receive, by your beholding me raise him thus miraculously from the dead.
Jesus Christ having thus given his disciples a proof of his divine knowledge, and of the designs of providence in the death of Lazarus, added, Nevertheless let us go again unto him. Thus JESUS, who could have raised Lazarus without opening his lips or rising from his seat, leaves his place of retirement beyond
Jordan, and takes a long journey into Judea, where the Jews lately attempted to kill him ; because his being • present in person, and raising Lazarus again to life, before so many witnesses at Bethany, where he died, and was so well known, would be the means of bringing the men of that, and of future ages, to believe in his doctrine, so well fitted to prepare them for a resurrection to eternal life ; an admirable proof, as an emblem of which, he gave them in this miracle.
Our Lord having the declared his resolution of returning into Judea, and Thomas conceiving nothing less than destruction from such a journey, yet unwilling to forsake his master, said, Let us also go that we muy die with him. Let us not forsake our Master in this dangerous journey, but accompany him into Judea, that if the Jews, whose inveteracy we are well acquainted with, should take away his life, we may also die with him.
This Journey being thus resolved on, Jesus departed with his disciples, and in his way to Bethany, passed through Samaria and Galilee ; · And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off; and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went they were cleansed.' Luke xvii. 12. &c.
One of these miserable objects, was a native of that country, who perceiving that his cure was completed, came back praising God for the great mercy he had received; he had before kept at a distance from our Saviour, but being now sensible that he was entirely clean, approached his benefactor, that all might have an opportunity of beholding the miracle, and fell on his face at his feet, thanking him in the most humble manner, for his condescension in healing him of so terrible a disease. Jesus, in order to intimate, that those who were enlightened with the knowledge of the truth ought at least, to have shewn as great a sense of piety and gratitude as this Samaritan, asked, ' were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine ? There are not found that have returned to give glory to God save this stranger.
Our Saviour and his disciples now continued their journey towards Bethany, where he was informed by some of the inhabitants of that village, that Lazarus was not only dead, as he had foretold, but had now lain in the grave four days. The afflicted sisters were overwhelmed with sorrow: so that many of the Jews from Jerusalem, came to comfort them on the occasion.
It appears, the news of our Lord's coming, had rcached Bethany before he arrived at that village; for Martha, the sister of Lazarus, being informed of his approach, went out and met him, but Mary, who was of a more sedate and contemplative disposition, sat still in the house. No sooner was she come into the presence of Jesus, than, in excess of grief she poured forth her complaint; Lord, said she, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. If thou hadst complied with the message we sent thee, I well know that thy interest from heaven had prevailed, my brother had been cured of his disease, and delivered from the dark chambers of death.
Martha entertained a high opinion of our Saviour's power; she believed that death did not dare to approach his presence; and consequently, if Jesus had arrived at Bethany before her brother's dissolution, he had not fallen a victim to the king of terrors: but imagined, that it was not in his power to heal the sick, at a distance, though, at the same time, she seemed to have some dark and imperfect hopes, that our blessed Lord would still do something for her; But I know, said she, that even nozo, whatsoever thou wilt ask
God, God, weill give it thee. She thought that JESUS could obtain whatsoever he desired by prayer, and therefore, did not found her hopes on his power, but on the power of God, through his intercession. She
“ doubtless knew, that the great Redeemer of mankind had raised the daughter of Jairus and the vidow's son of Nain, from the dead; but seems to have considered her brother's resurrection as much more difficult, because he had been longer dead.
But our blessed Saviour, who was willing to en courage this imperfect faith of Martha, answered, Thy brother shall rise again. As these words were delivered in an indefinite sense, with regard to time, Martha understood them only as an argument of consolation, drawn from the general resurrection, and accordingly answered, I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection at the last day. She was firmly persuaded of that important article of the christian faith, the resurrection of the dead; at which important hour she believed her brother would rise from the chambers of the dust. And here she seems to have terminated all her hopes; not thinking that the Son of God would now call her brother from the sleep of death. Jesus, therefore, to instruct her in this great truth, replied, I am the resurrection, and the life. I am the author of the resurrection, the fountain and giver of that life they shal! then receive; and therefore can, with the same case raise the dead now as at the last day: Ile that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Believeth thou this? To which Martha answered, Yea Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ The Son of God, which should come into the world. I believe that thou art the true Messiah, so long promised by the prophets, and therefore believe that thou art capable of performing, by thy power, every thing thou art pleased to undertake.
She now secmed to entertain some confused expec