REVELATIONS – Emmaus, Bethany
They spoke privately while Cornelius and the disciple kept the crowd away. Then she hurried back to the village with her servant in tow. About fifteen minutes later, a sizable crowd was seen coming out. They were following Mary, the youngest sister of Lazarus, who was walking fast ahead of them. Martha and her father were just behind her. When Mary spotted Jesus, she sprinted the last twenty yards to him. Then she threw herself on the ground at his feet weeping loudly.
Her tear streaked face lifted to look imploringly at him and she said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Jesus helped her up on her feet and she fiercely embraced him, burying her face unto his chest weeping loudly. As Jesus returned her embrace, Cornelius saw anguish in his face. The women among the crowd were also weeping loudly.
Then he looked at Simon the Leper and his daughter, Martha and asked, “Where have you laid him?”
“Lord, come and see.”
They led him south of the village into a small canyon. The canyon walls only rose about fifteen to twenty feet up. It was narrow with only enough room for four men to walk abreast of each other. As they followed a well worn winding trail, Cornelius saw signs of excavations into the recesses of the walls. A number of them had carved circular stones about three feet in diameter covering the openings. They were burial chambers for the rich families of the nearby villages. They reached the end of the trail that opened up into a wider enclosure where Simon the Leper’s clan maintained a garden. The garden which was fenced in by a short rock wall about three feet high, fronted several burial chambers some of which were carved out halfway up the canyon walls. Rough steps were carved into the rock that led up to several ledges. Lazarus’ father told Jesus that he was entombed inside the chamber of the first ledge about five feet above the canyon floor. The ledge was only wide enough for about five to six people.
Jesus climbed the steps to the ledge followed closely by Simon the Leper, Peter and Andrew. The sobbing sisters also climbed the steps but stopped part way. Jesus placed his hand on the round stone and wept openly.
There were a number of Pharisees among the crowd and Cornelius could hear one of them whisper, “See how He loved him!”
But someone else also said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, have kept this man also from dying?”
Jesus took a step back and spoke to Peter and Andrew, “Roll the stone away.”
Martha gasped and said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Mary’s head came up and looked on him with a desperate hope.
Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
[note: quotes in italics are from John 11]
The story continues on in my next post.
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