I woke one day feeling a bit out of sorts. I figured it was nothing. I told Martha how I felt and she said she’d boil the last chicken for me. All in all not a bad way to start the day. I spent most of my morning reading the scriptures as was my custom. The words of David son of Jesse ran through my head. “My god my god why have you forsaken me?” he asked. It left a heaviness hard to describe. I thanked Yahweh for his grace. I invited a few of the brothers for lunch and we smacked our lips on the chicken Martha had so generously served. Mary was nowhere to be found but that was no surprise. I often asked where she went during mealtimes but it seemed she didn’t want to talk about it. Anyway, the brothers and I had a good time talking about the only subject on our minds. “This Yeshua of Nazareth,” they asked, “you’ve met him?” “Ah yes,” I replied. “Not only have I met him but I have broken bread with him. His words are unlike any other. And I have seen him do powerful things!” They shook their heads as they always did. If he was the Messiah, he would surely show them soon. It would take more than a good speech to convince these guys. I smiled. Once they met Yeshua they would understand. Or at least they would begin to hope. I had.
We all went out to the fields after lunch. The hired men were anxious to receive their pay. I began to feel faint only a few hours before sunset so I called the men together and payed them to get off early. They smiled and laughed at their good fortune. A few slapped me on the back and whispered blessings. They were my family and I always tried to take care of them.
I went to bed early. Martha wanted to talk about Yeshua but I was exhausted. I told her to find Mary if she wanted a talk. She looked down and a cloud of fierce anger shot across her face. I was surprised.
“Sister. What is it?” She turned to leave. “Martha. What is going on?”
She came to my bed and sat next to me. With tears in her eyes she told me where she thought Mary was. She said she had found a money jar underneath her bed. “There’s only one place a girl can make money, Lazarus. You know that.” I didn’t believe it. But Martha was convinced. She left upset. I knelt down and cried out to the God of my fathers. Finally to weak to continue praying, I dropped into my bed.
The next day I awoke with a pounding headache. Unlike any I had experienced, I felt as if I couldn’t even hear. The throb of intense pressure robbed my breath. I tried to open my eyes but the brilliant light felt like a furnace of pain. “Sisters,” I mumbled. Silence. No one was in the house. Maybe a servant could bring some water. But we had no servants now. Oh Yahweh what would our parents think, may they Rest In Peace. My thoughts quickly came back to the present. I kept my eyes closed and tried not to move. I waited for hours until finally I heard a door open. “Martha?”
In my excitement, I tried to sit up. I collapsed and shooting pained coursed through my body. I heard soft footsteps. And a softer voice. “Lazarus? What’s the matter?”
It was Mary. I hadn’t heard her voice for a few days. But I recognized the soft melodic sounds instantly. Suddenly the memories of running through the wheat fields filled my vision. Mary was the youngest of us and she always had a mind of her own. I never could quite keep up with her wild imaginations or ideas. I tried to smile. What had happened to my sweet sister? I knew she was in love with Yeshua. But…
“Mary,” I croaked. “It’s good to hear your voice.” I swallowed. “Could you get me a glass of water? My head is exploding.” I rubbed my forehead with my index finger and thumb trying to ease the pain.
The next few days were the most miserable days of my existence. The pressure continued to increase. I could barely talk. Or even think. Every time my sisters came in I asked for Yeshua. They told me time and time again that they had sent messengers out and that they were sure he would arrive any moment and heal me. But the days bore on. I repeatedly tried to ask Mary what was going on but I couldn’t see her expression. She would be very still for a moment and then say something like, “Don’t be afraid of me brother. I am finding my way as are you. When Yeshua comes, you will understand. But he has not. Goodbye brother.” And like that she would walk out of the room.
I was desperate for Yeshua. More desperate for him than at any time in my life. I wished he knew how badly I wanted to see him. If he knew my earnest desire he would surely come. If he was aware of my pain, he would just say the word. But the not-knowing, the waiting drove me crazy. And then Simon came back from giving his urgent message. I’ll never forget that crushing moment. He told me Yeshua had heard my request. But that he was too “busy” to come. Simon wanted to find a priest or make a sacrifice but I said no. If Yeshua didn’t come I would die. If I died, so be it.
The pain was enough to make me wish death would come. Martha and Mary wiped my face with cold towels from time to time.
It was the hardest time we had gone through since mother and father died. In those days, the three of us made a pact to take care of each other. At least we had that But now not only was I sick, but Martha was upset and Mary was missing half the time. The frayed rope was tearing. Yeshua hadn’t come.
During this time, I had the strangest reoccurring dreams. I kept seeing a tomb with a door at the end. As I walked through the cave-like tomb I would put my hand on the lever and try to open the door. The latch would give but instead of opening, the door remained stuck. I would suddenly feel a deep dark panic and push with all my strength. Sometimes I would even run towards the door and slam my whole body into it. That usually woke me up. But if it didn’t, and it didn’t wake me up a few times, I would distinctly hear a voice whisper “Lazarus!” behind me. Then I would wake up.
The weight on my skull was too much for me to bear. I moaned when the pulses of pain came. I began pass in and out of consciousness. Martha and Mary were just floating shadows across my eyelids. I heard them crying and praying often. I didn’t want to leave them alone in this world. But somehow I knew Yeshua would come eventually. Why he wasn’t here now was too much for me to try to understand. I had truly thought of Yeshua as a friend as well as Rabbi. But would not a friend visit me in this time of great need? Martha kept sending Simon back to Yeshua. He came back with the same information as always.
I finally gave up. I could no longer think or speak. The pressure was so great one night that suddenly everything faded.
And everything staid faded. For a moment.
My mind stopped processing the environment. I was conscious of nothing. The pain was gone. Everything was gone. I just…was. I remember just that.
And then I heard a voice.
A loud strong voice.
The voice of my Beloved one. The voice of Yeshua! He had finally come. And this voice shook the very blackness I was wrapped in.
Yeshua, he was talking to me! To the little farm boy from Bethany. Yeshua was here! And he knew my name! Suddenly everything flooded back into my mind. Yeshua is my Master, my King and my Friend. And he is calling my name. The thought made my blood begin to pulse through my body and I felt electric wave after wave run across my skin.
“Lazarus, come forth!”
My eyes snapped open! Light was bursting through a dark tunnel. I bolted upright. I looked down in shock at the tightly woven grave clothes. But every cell in my body was Alive like never before! In the middle of nothing, something felt like everything. My senses were overwhelmed but one thought drew me on. I have to see Yeshua, I have to see my King. So I twisted and turned until I had my feet under me. I stood up shakily and moved toward the light. I put my hand to my head and suddenly I remembered the terrible pain. A smile crept to my lips. The pain was just a memory now!
Yeshua had come. He had heard my cry for help! And now that he was here everything else had changed.
I’ve never looked back after that day. My hand has grasped the plow and I yell with child-like joy. I share my story with all who listen. I tell them everything. Mary and Martha rejoice with me. The Pharisees want to kill me.
I must tell you one other thing.
Only a few weeks after my ressurection, Yeshua came for dinner. I hugged him tightly and welcomed him in. In the middle of our meal, Mary appeared and sat at his feet. I wondered where their conversation would lead. Neither said a word. Mary sat very still and then she slowly uncovered a bottle of pure nard. The fragrance was so heavy everyone looked up. Then she began to pour it out on the Lords feet.
I wept. I knew in that moment, somewhere deep inside, that we’d never be the same. One who has been with Yeshua will do crazy things. For he has done crazy things for us. I am Lazarus. And this is my story. Wait on the Lord I say. Wait on the Lord. Maybe you’re in the grave or the bed right now. Maybe you have questions for Yeshua. I think we all live there until we hear his voice. If I can tell you one thing it is this: don’t stop at why. Starting asking when. Yeshua is a person who loves you and keeps his word. He will come; he will call out your name. And he will change your life.
I am Lazarus and this is my story.
Timothy, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. May you know the deeper things if God. Be blessed.