The Raising of Lazarus
The biblical narrative of the Raising of Lazarus is found in chapter 11 of the Gospel of John. Lazarus is introduced as a follower of Jesus, who lives in the town of Bethanynear Jerusalem. He is identified as the brother of the sisters Mary and Martha. The sisters send word to Jesus that Lazarus, "he whom thou lovest," is ill. Instead of immediately traveling to Bethany, according to the narrator, Jesus intentionally remains where he is for two more days before beginning the journey.
When Jesus arrives in Bethany, he finds that Lazarus is dead and has already been in his tomb for four days. He meets first with Martha and Mary in turn. Martha laments that Jesus did not arrive soon enough to heal her brother and Jesus replies with the well-known statement, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die". Later the narrator here gives the famous simple phrase, "Jesus wept".
In the presence of a crowd of Jewish mourners, Jesus comes to the tomb. Over the objections of Martha, Jesus has them roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb and says a prayer. He then calls Lazarus to come out and Lazarus does so, still wrapped in his grave-cloths. Jesus then calls for someone to remove the grave-cloths, and let him go.
The narrative ends with the statement that many of the witnesses to this event "believed in him." Others are said to report the events to the religious authorities in Jerusalem.
The Gospel of John mentions Lazarus again in chapter 12. Six days before the Passover on which Jesus is crucified, Jesus returns to Bethany and Lazarus attends a supper that Martha, his sister, serves. Jesus and Lazarus together attract the attention of many Jews and the narrator states that the chief priests consider having Lazarus put to death because so many people are believing in Jesus on account of this miracle.
The miracle of the raising of Lazarus, the longest coherent narrative in John aside from the Passion, is the climax of John's "signs". It explains the crowds seeking Jesus onPalm Sunday, and leads directly to the decision of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus.
It is notable that Lazarus is the only resurrected character in the Bible (besides himself) that Jesus personally refers to as "dead." Lazarus and the Daughter of Jairus, whom he resurrected at another time, were both said by Jesus to have been "sleeping."
A resurrection story that is very similar is also found in the controversial Secret Gospel of Mark, although the young man is not named there specifically. Some scholars believe that the Secret Mark version represents an earlier form of the canonical story found in John.