As Jesus went about on his teaching mission throughout the countryside, He received word that his friend, Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, two of his most ardent believers was very ill. His Disciples also were fond of the family since they were treated very kindly by them when in the area of their home.
Two days after they were notified of the illness, Jesus announced that he wanted to go and see Lazarus, explaining he would wake him from his rest. The Disciples thought that meant that Lazarus would get well from the rest, but Jesus explained that he was dead and that He would make him rise from the dead. Had he left immediately when notified, he might have saved Lazarus from death and the miracle of the Bible might never have been. Remember, the Lord sometimes works in mysterious ways but always has a good reason, we just might not understand.
Upon arrival back in Judea in Lazarus' hometown of Bethany, Jesus was now only two miles from Jerusalem where the Priests of the Temple were looking for Him to destroy Him. But Bethany was close, but far enough away not to attract undue attention, and Jesus entered the tomb (a cave with a huge stone rolled in front as was the custom of the day) and entered to find the body that had been dead for four days. He spoke with His Father about what He would do and then he told Lazarus to arise.
Suddenly, his eyes opened and he stood up covered with the very funeral linens in which he had been wrapped. He walked out of the tomb and joyously met his sisters who were weeping. Jesus had completed the seventh of eight miracles that are recorded in the Gospel of John and He was now nearing the crucial climax of his purpose on earth: to die that we might be forgiven for our sins and offered the opportunity for Eternal Life.
Upon hearing of this miracle, the High Priest Caiaphas and his council gathered and began to discuss how Jesus was gaining followers and had the potential to not only upset their lifestyle and status, but create problems which would cause Rome to crack down on the Province. Caiaphas knew how dangerous that could be to his authority as Chief Priest, for Rome traditionally gave reasonable freedom provided that the local leaders kept order.
The Jewish leaders now began plotting the death of Jesus. They decided not to actively pursue Him, for Caiaphas knew that Jesus would certainly return to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover which was nearing. They would await His arrival and His actions at the Temple and that would afford them an opportunity to end His nuisance behavior once and for all.
Little did they know that the King of Kings knew what would be awaiting Him, but also knew that it was part of God's master plan. And when it came to completion, His mission on earth would be ended but He would live on in the hearts and minds of devout Christians who would rapidly grow in number and spread His wisdom with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And it was all done because of His love for us. Praise His Holy Name.