64. Raising Lazarus from the Dead.
Lazarus, Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus, and he often stayed with them in Bethany. When he received word that Lazarus was seriously ill, he could see spiritually the plan of what was to take place. The disciples by now were very concerned about the danger in the area around Jerusalem because of the Pharisees' hostility. Jesus knew that he was the Light and would receive the guidance he needed to face this situation. Jesus was clairvoyantly aware when Lazarus died and told his disciples using the analogy of sleep, which is the closest experience to death. Jesus was able to contact Lazarus spiritually on the other side and make the necessary arrangements for bringing him back; of course he also had to heal and preserve the body through Spirit.
Thomas courageously urged the disciples to go with Jesus in spite of the danger, showing he was ready to die if necessary. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and several Jews were mourning with Martha and Mary. Martha and Mary firmly believed in Jesus and accepted that he was the Christ. Jesus explained that the resurrection is not limited to the end of time as most people thought, but that he himself was already raised to eternal life and could also lift others into the same state of awareness.
Jesus empathized with Mary's sorrow, sharing deeply and releasing the same emotion through tears. He knew that the body was healthy even though it had been four days. (In 1952 the body of Paramahansa Yogananda after he died was perfectly preserved of itself for twenty days before burial.) For the sake of the others present Jesus spoke out loud to God expressing his gratitude. Then he called forth Lazarus; the soul had returned, and the man responded. This incident became a powerful testimonial because of the Jews who had seen it themselves.
Now the high priests and Pharisees of the council became afraid that if the people believing in Jesus made him their king (as the Christ is supposed to be), then the overwhelmingly superior force of the Romans would take over all Jewish authority and rights. Threatened with their own loss of prestige and power, Caiaphas therefore argued that it would be better for Israel if this person should die as a sacrifice for all the people. This was interpreted by the narrator as a prophecy from Spirit that the death of Jesus would be for the sake of all humanity and so that he could call people from everywhere back into the unity of God. Jesus, aware of what was to occur, became very careful about where he appeared.