Uplifting commentary on the Gospels, Acts, early Apostolic history, and a life of discipleship.
He did not do miracles to show off. He was not a magician or performer. And He refused to do signs and wonders to prove Himself. So why did He raise Lazarus from the dead? Martha, the sister of Lazarus, objected to opening her brother’s tomb.
Most Christians believe in life after death, but have you ever heard of life before death? Martha wept at the death of her brother. Yeshua assured her, “Your brother will rise again.” She thought He referred to the future resurrection of the righteous in the Messianic Age.
Ever been afraid of the dark? It’s natural to be afraid of what we cannot see, but when exposed to the light, the shadows of darkness flee. Yeshua wanted to travel to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, to visit His sick friend Lazarus.
As the hour of the Passover sacrifice drew near, a growing stream of pilgrims filled the road leading to the city gates. Passing near Golgotha, they saw a knot of people standing around the three crosses on the rock. Naturally, they inquired about the victims.
Up until His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Yeshua of Nazareth tried to keep His messianic identity quiet. He warned His followers and disciples not to tell anyone who He was. He hushed up the eerie voices of the possessed, which tried to declare His identity. When Simon Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah,” He told him not to reveal it to anyone. By sending for a donkey, however, He indicated a shift in public policy.
On the seventh day of the festival they encircled the altar seven times, chanting out a litany of “hoshanas,” preparing for the final water libation. The worshipers shook their palm branches to create a rushing sound like wind and rain. They thrashed them against the sides of the altar.
The Master waited until after His brothers and the pilgrims traveling with them had set out. He acted as if He did not plan on attending the festival at all. When at last the way was clear, He and His disciples made a private pilgrimage.
They had no doubt; they had seen the Master, walked with Him, and even eaten with Him. They said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). He had reignited their hopes.
Yeshua’s prayers in Gethsemane were consistent with the model of prayer He taught His disciples. He told them to pray persistently, with simple faith, appealing to God’s goodness, and pleading with Him not to lead them into trial. The biblical heroes did not hesitate to ask God to change His mind.
The Master felt the malevolent power of evil bearing down on Him. “And behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him” (Genesis 15:12). “The cords of death encompassed [Him] and the terrors of Sheol came upon [Him; He] found distress and sorrow” (Psalm 116:3). In that hour, He did not want to be utterly alone.