Why Did Jesus Wait To Raise Lazarus?

Have you ever viewed the Garden Tomb from Google earth? When I viewed it, I noticed a small window to the right of the entrance, and of course my question was, “Why would a tomb need a window?”

As I searched for the answer, I ran across a website that explains a tradition which had been passed down by Jewish Rabbi’s and mystics for years. This tradition believes the restless soul of a person, when they die, would go back and forth through the tomb window. This site, classroom.synonym.com, states, “There is some conflicting belief about the Jewish soul, or spirit, lingering for three days after death,” this writer further explains that for three days the soul would travel from the tomb back to their house looking for rest. Another belief I found, is that if the body was not dead for four days then it was possible they were still alive, which explains why some believe Jesus did not rise, but simply woke up. As soon as I read this I realized why Jesus waited an extra two days upon hearing Lazarus was sick.

In John 11:4-6, Jesus purposefully waited two more days before going, “But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.”

I am not saying that Jesus followed this particular belief, but it is possible those around Him did, and He wanted to show them that He had great power, even over their tradition. Jesus told the Disciples plainly that Lazarus died in order to strengthen their belief. He said to them in verses 11-15, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”

When Jesus and the Disciples arrived, it had been four days since Lazarus had died, making the miracle of Lazarus rising from the dead unquestionable to all.

Sometimes, when reading the Bible, we find that the people did strange things leaving us confused and unable to reconcile the event. We must remember that these people lived in different times and with different customs and traditions. In spending some time in research you can usually find the answer to any question that troubles you.

Thank you, Father, that you show us the answers when we take the time to search. In Jesus name, amen.