Lazarus (brother of Mary)

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Jesus in the House of Martha and Mary.
Not to be confused with Lazarus in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, found in the Gospel of Luke.

Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary.[1] They gave Jesus hospitality in their home at Bethany, a village outside Jerusalem, and are mentioned in several episodes in the Gospels. Jesus is said to have loved all three.

According to Luke, Martha was head of the household. It was to her that Jesus said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life." (John 11:1-44).

Mary was probably younger. She poured a flask of expensive perfume over Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair about a week before the crucifixion. Mary was criticized for wasting what might have been sold to raise money for the poor, but Jesus spoke on her behalf. Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." (John 12:1-8). Mary is seen as a spiritual woman with a feminist personality.

The Gospel of John is the only Gospel that describes Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It's likely Mark and Luke were not present for it, and Matthew may have justifiably feared retaliation if he wrote about it. This raising from the dead was perhaps the single biggest cause of the Crucifixion of Jesus.

Jesus raises Lazarus

Lazarus is very ill so the sisters send word to Jesus: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. By the time Jesus arrives in the village Lazarus has been dead for four days.[1] He was moved by the sisters' grief to bring Lazarus back from the dead.[1] Then Mary and Martha took Jesus to the tomb where Lazarus' body was.

Rembrandt, The Raising of Lazarus.

Jesus told them to take away the big stone that blocked the tomb but Martha said, "Oh no! He has been dead for 4 days. If we roll the stone away it will smell bad!"

Jesus said to her: "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

So someone rolled away the stone.

Jesus prayed and thanked God: Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me... and I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

Then he called in a loud voice: "Lazarus, Lazarus, come out!, I command you, come out" and so he did. He walked out with the burial cloth still wrapped around him.

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.

On some Calendars Lazarus is remembered on 17 December. In the Roman Catholic Church Saint Lazarus' memorial is also on February 11.

Biblical instruction

When Jesus comes again, He will resurrect those who loved Him. "All who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out." (John 5:28,29).

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Easton's Bible Dictionary, article on Lazarus originally published in 1897.