THREE JESUS RAISED FROM THE DEAD.

BY FRA CIS TRE CH,

Luke Vll. (part of 22nd verse.) The dead are raised. THE restoration of life to a dead body is an act, not only out of the ordinary course of nature, but so exceedingly far removed from that course, that it pleased our Saviour only to perform it three times during the whole period of His earthly ministry. He constantly repeated His miracles in healing the sick people " that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils" — and we hear of His being engaged day after day in " curing all manner of sickness among the people" — and the testimony to His work was, that He made the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. Indeed all kinds of lost faculties, both of body and mind, were given back by Him; and from the Scriptural record it appears that vast indeed was the number of these restorations. But of His raising the dead only three instances appear : and when we consider the grandeur and import-

JSSUS A D THE THREE RAISED. 87 ance of such an act, I think we may conclude that no instances occurred of such a miracle being performed by Jesus, which were untold by the inspired narrators of His deeds*. For to tell them was their very office, as witnesses. Let us now briefly consider those three instances, endeaTouring to mark the special character and circiunstances of each, in succession, and stiU more earnestly seeking profit for ourselves in the renewing and strengthening of our faith, through the power of the Holy Spirit, while we thus bring to mind this threefold work of that Lord and Saviour, who came, among other things, to be the " destruction of death," and to " bring life and immortality to light through the Gospel." For

these three restorations are grand signs and types of our resurrection too. At an early stage of our Lord*s ministry, we find that "there came a certain ruler," (i. e. a ruler of the synagogue,) " and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose and followed Him, and so did His disciples." St. Mark describes the father as speaking of his child being "at the point of death ;" and St. Luke says, that she " lay a dying." All this, however, may be seen to correspond exactly ; for at one moment the afflicted a o argument can be brought against this view from the fact that St. John alone tells of the raising of Lazarus. Many and convincing reasons have been given to account for that, and appear in all commentators.

88 JESUS A D THE THREE father uses one expression, and at the next another — first telling her state when he left her to all appearance dying, and next her state when he spoke, as one by that time most certainly dead. On the way to the house of Jairus, virtue coming out from Jesus healed the disease of the woman, who had suffered twelve years from the issue of blood. But on that we must not delay. We must accompany the steps of Jesus to Uie ruler's house, where death had preceded Him. While He was yet speaking^ to the woman whom He had cured on the way, there came messengers from the ruler's house, who said to Him, " Thy daughter is dead : why troublest thou the Master any further?" Bu|; Jesus supported his faith, saying to him, '' Be not afraid, only believe." When they arrived at the house, the minstrels were there — i. e. the wailers by profession, who attended at deaths and at funerals with their dirges

and chaunts of lamentation; and there was a great tumult of sorrow, the people all weeping and wailing greatly. But Jesus spoke words to calm and compose: "Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dea4« but sleepeth :" — no doubt, as at another tinie, with regard to Lazarus, referring to the fact that death was no termination of our existence, but merely, as it were, a sleep. Another evangelist tells us how He uttered the same words of comfort, which again, on a similar occasion, He spake: "Weep not." Then with ^ Mark v. 35.

WHOM HE BAISED FROM THE DEAD. 89 Peter and James and John, as the intended witnesises of His deed ; and with the father and mother of the damsel, as the chief mourners, to whom she specially belonged ; and in the midst of scoffing and of scorn, Jesus entered into the room where the damsel, just dead, was lying, and thus addressed her: ''Damsel, I say unto thee. Arise/' And straightway she arose, and walked ; and all were astonished with a great astonishment. And thus the beloved and the only child of her parents gladdened their hearts as a living child once more, and faith met its abundant reward ; and a fresh testimony rose to the power of the Lord Jesus Christ ; and death, for a season, lost its prey, and God was glorified among men. Three separate evangelists give us the narratives regarding that event on which I have just spoken. From each I have gathered certain and distinct circumstances, not told by the others, so as to complete the account. Thus we should always act, when more than one record of the same history appear& The two next instances of raising the dead are, each of them, told only by one among the four evangelists. The raising of the son of the widow of ain is the next. That is found in the (Jospel of St. Luke, vii. 11 — 16. ain was a city not far from Capernaum, un-

known for any other act of the Saviour, or indeed for any other narrative, in connexion with it, which the Scripture presents. But its very name awakens at once in our hearts the most lively sympathy, if we can feel for a mother's

90 JBSU8 A D THE THREE gnet or can rejoice in our Saviour's deeds of compassionate power and love. As Jesus was entering into this city, many disciples and much people being in his company, " behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow : and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier" — i. e. the open frame on which the dead and uncovered body is carried in the East — " and they that bare him stood still. And he said. Young man, I say unto thee. Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all : and they glorified God, saying. That a great Prophet is risen up among us ; and. That God hath visited His people.^' And here I need only remark, on this mighty and most touching history, that, if you will attentively observe it, a progress and advance appears, when it is compared with that brought before us just now. Deeper was the woe — more grievous the bereavement. In the preceding instance an only daughter had died : but still both parents lived, dear to one another, and able to offer mutual consolation at the loss of their child. But, in this instance, as the poet hath well said of the mourner ; " Widowed and childless, she had lost her all." Who can adequately tell the depth of her sorrow ? Who, except one, similarly tried, can fully describe the extent of her bereavement ? But Je-

WHOM HE RAISED FKOM THE DEAD. 91 sus knew all ; and in His great mercy and discriminating love, He restored her son. In another point also there was a progress and advance. In the case of the daughter of Jairus the damsel was only just dead. In this second instance, death, no doubt, bad held a longer sway over the poor human frame — not so long as we might suppose from our own funerals, often protracted for several days, but in all probability for many hours, if not for a full day and night. The sceptic and the unbeliever might have said that the damsel was only revived from a transient swoon ; but here dissolution had been of a longer date. A word, however, was spoken by the Lord of life, and the dead man lived again. In the case of Lazarus I shall have more to say on this subject. Therefore I shall now only add, that there was also a progress and advance in the number of witnesses who saw the miracle with their own eyes. In the former instance five only beheld the very act done ; and it was performed in the chamber of sickness and death. In this latter instance many disciples, and much people in the company of Jesus, and much people of the city in the mourning train, all beheld the miracle : and it was done in the place of" chief concourse^^ — in the public thoroughfare, in the well-known highway from the crowded city of the living to the not less crowded abode and cemetery of the dead. One more and one only did Jesus raise from the dead during His sojourn on the earth. " A certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany,

92 JESUS A D THE THREE the town of Mary and her sister Martha." The tune of this sickness was just at the conclusion of our Saviour's ministry. Jesus loved the fiunily to which Lazarus belonged, and seems often to have taken up His abode in their house. When informed first that Lazarus was sick, he

was in Galilee, at a considerable distance from Bethany, a smaU town, or village, not fer frtjm Jerusalem. The sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, '' sent unto Him, saying. Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that. He said. This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." The whole subsequent history of this miracle is so very well known, that I do not think it requisite to enter on it in detail. I would, however, remark, as specially connected with the present subject, that, after Jesus had heard of Lazarus being sick, ''He abode two days still in the same place where He was." Then He went down into Judsea. And when He reached Bethany, " He found that Lazarus had laid in his grave four days already." X pass over all that blessed and consolatory narrative, telling of all His sympathy and love towards the mourners and bereaved. I pass over too all that glorious doctrine on the resurrection unto eternal life, assured to every believer in Christ ; and I go on to the performance of His miraculous act. Jesus "cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said. Take ye away the stone." Martha now interrupts.

WHOM HE BAISSD FBOM THK DEAD. 93 In her knowledge that her brother's death was no recent thmg of a few hours or even of a day — in her experience, such as easterns all have, as to what corruption does in a brief period of time — in her utter hopelessness, or at all evente in faltering faith, of receiving her brother, as a living brother again in this present world, she thus addressed Jesus: ''Lord, by this time he stinketh : for he hath been dead four days. Jesus said unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of Grod ? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said. Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always : but because of the people

which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarusy come forth. And He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes^ : and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them. Loose him, and let him go." Such was the thh-d and last raising from the dead at the living voic^ of Jesus Christ on the earth. The publicity of this act was so great, its glory so conspicuous, and its fitness to prove the c " When Lazarus was raised, it is said that he came forth boand hand and foot with graveclothes, to note that he was not out as a victor over deaths unto which he came to return again ; but when Christ rose, he left them behind, because death was to have no more power over him." Reynolds, Life of Christ, 523-4.

94 JESUS A D THE THREE mission of the Saviour so evident to all eyes, that immediately it follows : " many which had seen the things which Jesus did believed on Him." This is the bright point. The dark one is next told. And no darker spot or blot ever stained and defiled the history of fallen man. "Some of them" — informers, watching Jesus for evU. and, perhaps, in the Pharisees' pay-" some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles." Like so many proud and selfish spirits of all ages and climes, they could not bear to be cast into the shade, nor to lose their influence. They could not brook one superior to themselves. And led by the advice of the wicked Oaiaphas, who spumed all justice and truth with the word " expedient'^ — (branded among us ever since, and rightly branded too, as a word of infamy) " they from that day forth took counsel to put Jesus to death." And in their design they succeeded, for the powers of darkness were with them, and they were to have their hour, in which

to bruise the heel of the Son of man — and if the Scriptural history is in our mind with any accuracy, we shall remember that Lazarus being raised, instrumentally and in God's purpose, led to Jesus being crucified. And Lazarus, coming forth from the tomb, was the preparation for Jesus to enter the sepulchre of death. And when we remember why, and why only — i. e. on our

WHOM H£ RAISED FBOM THE DEAD. 95 account — Jesus underwent all this humiliation, we, I trust, shall thankfully and gladly see this third and this last restoration of the dead to life, all brightened and coloured with fresh hues and marks of our Saviour's devotion and love towards us, as shewn at the grave of Lazarus. I have not yet observed (but we should err did we not do so) that in each of those three miracles, now considered by us, the word of power and life, which Jesus spoke, was not only such a word of authority that death obeyed, but it was also a word spoken in His own name. " Damsel, / say unto thee. Arise." " Young man, /say unto thee. Arise." "Lazarus, come forth." o messenger from heaven, except One, who was God Himself, could or would have ever spoken thus. He would have spoken in the name of God. To have done less would have been blasphemy — would have been the very claim to that divinity in whom alone is the fountain of life and power to restore it. But Jesus, being God, speaks here in His own ame — so speaks in all three instances. He came, do doubt, to do His Father's will. He came, no doubt, living by the Father. He came, do doubt, acting as the Shiloh, One sent. And as coming for a mission like this, He ever described Himself. evertheless, in the great conspicuous and notably divine act of raising the dead to life. He ever spoke as One, in whose own will, word and power was life ; and though we may want no fresh testimonies to Christ's divinity — for I write and speak for those who feel the absurdity

96 JBSUS A D THE THREE not less than the sm of any other supposition or creed — still here a fresh testimony is before us, all ready, full, and glorious; and in the very words spoken at the house of Jairus the ruler, and at the gate of the city of ain, and at the tomb of Lazarus in Bethany, the Grodhead of Jesus appears no less than in each miraculous deed. I would now make a personal and practical use of these considerations. On what have we been engaged ? Has it been on some speculative doctrine? o, certainly not. Has it been on some question, truth, or history, interesting no doubt, but in which we had no concern ourselves ? o, certainly not. Have the daughter of Jairus, the widow's son, and Lazarus no type in them, no symbol for us, which shall assuredly be fulfilled in us ? Indeed they have. Have the word and the act of Jesus, in raising them, no reference to us, living now on the earth ? Surely they have. We too must soon put off this earthly tabernacle — give up our breath, like the damsel on her bed — lie down in our coffin, like the young man of ain — occupy our own dark tomb, like Lazarus, wherever it may be or of whatsoever kind : for "that indeed is of little moment. " But the hour is coming" — ^to use the Saviour's own words — " in the which all that are in their graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth : they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." Oh ! to some, most glorious day !

WHOM HE RAISED FROM THE DEAD. 97 Oh ! to others, most woful day ! I enter not here into any questions of detail or dispute, such as the exact season, when the righteous and the wicked shall respectively rise, but I use the word in its widest sense. The time of each event is

only a minor thing. Let us now dwell with fixed mind and heart on the broad and great reality that we ourselves shall and must rise again, at the voice of the Son of man, either to eternal bliss or eternal misery. Let us fasten and concentrate our thoughts, by the Spirit's help, on this sure reality and truth, to be fulfilled in every one of us ! Let us look to Jesus our Saviour, in and through His three miracles in raising the dead upon this earth, as One who shall hereafter raise our bodies too for their future glory ! Let us often meditate on our own future resurrection in the flesh ! Let us look at our own bodies, saying and feeling of them — " This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Let us live and labour with an eye to that day, knowing that our " labour shall not be in vain in the Lord." These are the very words — the one single application with which the grand chapter on the body's resurrection ends ! Let us rise up to the privileges which are ours as belonging to a risen Saviour! Let us follow after holiness and righteousness in all things ; and may we be preserved from the doom of the ungodly and the impenitent sinner, rising, as he must, to the " resurrection of damnation !" May we hear with unspeakable joy the H

98 JESUS A D THE THREE voice of the Saviour, in the day of His majesty and glory : " Awake, and sing, ye that dwell in the dust : Come, My people." And may we, with glorified spirit and glorified body in one, once more become living souls, in all the perfection of the saints — in a state of blessedness beyond that of paradise, even as redemption, in which the saved shall stand for ever, outshines creation itself, as shewing the love and wondrous attributes of God through Jesus Christ our Lord ! We have seen in all this the full power of Jesus over death in every stage of its existence and

dominion over man. He restored the daughter of Jairus to life, inunediately after her spirit had departed — the widow's son, whom they were carrying forth to his burial — Lazarus, when, according to nature, corruption had begun. Through Him too, who opened the gates of death, the " graves were opened ; and many bodies of the saints, which slept, arose.** And to crown all this evidence, Jesus Himself, after He was crucified and had lain in the grave three days, came forth from the sealed and guarded tomb, and personally appeared unto very many witnesses. Since, therefore, Jesus liveth who was dead, and His words and Hi^ acts testify to His power of raising us from the dead also, let us not count it an incredible thing, nor (which is much more dangerous to us) treat it as being an unreal thing, that '^all who are in their graves shall come forth.^^ It matters little where our bodies may be laid. The sea may cover them : the narrow

WHOM HE BAISED FROM THE DEAD. 99 coffin may encase them : corruption or other cause may reduce them to mere fragments or to nothing in man's eye — but in God's eye and power the germ and spring** of immortality will remain in them : and through that power of God all |His people shall be raised, in the body, to everlasting joy. May the Spirit come mightily among us, and largely add to that blessed company ! ^ The amount of matter is not of the smallest consequence toaching God's formation from it. Warhurton (sermon II preached at Lincoln's Inn) quotes the observation^ ** that this whole globe of earth, nay, all the known bodies in the universe together, so far as we know, may be compounded of no greater portion of solid matter than might be reduced into a globe of one inch only in diameter or even less." Works, vol. ix. 37.

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