by Clarence E. Macartney

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Great Characters of the Bible (12 of 12)
The Man Who Came Back -- Lazarus
Clarence E. Macartney
John 11:43

And Lazarus came forth, for the voice that echoed that
day in the gloomy cavern of death at Bethany was the
voice of Him who said: "I am he that liveth, and was
dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore...and have
the keys of hell and of death."

Jesus once said that the foxes had holes and the birds
of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had not where
to lay His head. There was one home, however, where He
was always a beloved and welcome guest, that home in
Bethany where Lazarus lived with his two sisters, Mary
and Martha. Bethany is a little village two miles from
Jerusalem on the southeastern slope of the Mount of
Olives, just where the road pitches steeply down the
hill to Jericho.

One evening, on returning home from superintending
work in his vineyards or from business in Jerusalem,
Lazarus was feeling unwell. His solicitous sisters put
him to bed and gave him such homely medicines as they
knew, but in the morning he was no better. Then they
probably called in the local leech, or physician, who
left his prescriptions. The next morning Lazarus was
no better, but rather worse. The anxious sisters
exchanged glances and each saw mirrored in the other's
face the same thought-"Jesus. If only He were here!"
Jesus was then far off, beyond the Jordan. In the
message they sent to Jesus they did not say: "Come at
once. We need you. Lazarus is very sick"; but only
this: "He whom thou lovest is sick." The rest they
would leave to Jesus. When Jesus received that message
He said to the messengers, and to the disciples, "This
sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God,
that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." How
strange that must have seemed to those who heard it
then, and to the two sisters. Then, instead of going
at once to Bethany, Jesus remained where He was for
two da ...

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