Bethany ~ Tomb of Lazarus
Places of Interest
Bethany ~ Tomb of Lazarus
1. Today, Bethany is located in the modern town of Al-Eizariya or Al-Azariya (Arabic for the place of Lazarus).
2. It was a village in Judea about two miles (3.2 km.) southeast of Jerusalem.
3. It was situated on the well-traveled road to Jericho.
4. Some believe Bethany was more like a modern subdivision of Jerusalem rather than an entire town.
5. The edges of Bethany reached to the Mount of Olives and also bordered Bethphage, a suburb of Jerusalem.
1. Archaeological excavations between 1949 and 1953, directed by Sylvester J. Saller of the Franciscans, have unearthed evidence of Christian places of worship erected near the tomb.
2. Four ancient churches were discovered to the east of the tomb of Lazarus, the earliest dating to the 4th or 5th century AD. Rock-cut tombs and the remains of houses, wine presses, cisterns, and silos were also discovered.
3. Pottery finds dating to the Persian and Hellenistic periods also provide evidence of the authenticity of this site.
4. Ongoing excavations at a site continue around the area of the House of Martha and Mary.
5. The name Bethany is translated by some to mean “house of figs,” as there are many fig trees and palms in the area. On the other hand, others translate its meaning as “house of misery,” believing that Bethany was a designated place for those with contagious diseases.
Places of Interest
1. Tomb of Lazarus
2. House of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus
3. House of Simon the Leper
4. Ancient churches built over the Tomb of Lazarus
7. Mt. of Olives
8. Old City Jerusalem
9. Old Jericho to Jerusalem Road
Bethany In the Bible
1. Bethany was the place Jesus taught a major lesson to Martha, the sister of Mary.
Luke 10:38-42: Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village [Bethany]; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who was also seated at the Lord’s feet, and was listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do the serving by myself? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary; for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
2. Bethany is where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:1-5: Now a certain man was sick: Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not meant for death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 (Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus.)
John 11:17-27: So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away [2 miles, 3.2 km.]; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them about their brother. 20 So then Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise from the dead.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, and He who comes into the world.”
John 11:38-44: So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 But I knew that You always hear Me; nevertheless, because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 Out came the man who had died, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
3. Bethany was also where Simon the Leper lived and where Mary anointed Jesus with expensive perfume.
John 12:1-3: Therefore, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a dinner there, and Martha was serving; and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
This event happened at the home of Simon the Leper.
Mark 14:3-9: While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the Leper, He was reclining at the table, and a woman came with an alabaster vial of very expensive perfume of pure nard. She broke the vial and poured the perfume over His head. 4 But there were some indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 For this perfume could have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a good deed for Me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 9 Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the entire world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.”
4. Jesus cursed a fig tree on His way to Bethany from the temple where He had been ministering.
Matthew 21:17-22: And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. 18 Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. 20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”
5. The Triumphal Entry began close to Bethany.
Luke 19:29: When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mountain that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent left and found it just as He had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and they threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 Now as He was going, they were spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 And as soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting: “Blessed is the King, the One who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
6. When in Jerusalem, Jesus regularly stayed in Bethany. Most likely at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Mark 11:11: And Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple area; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.
7. While Acts 1:9-12 says Jesus ascended back to heaven from the Mount of Olives, Luke states it happened around Bethany. There is no contradiction, as Bethany was considered part of the Mount of Olives.
Luke 24:50-53: And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God.
Faith Lesson from Bethany
1. Martha was a busy person who worked hard but neglected spiritual devotion and eyes to see what was most important in life. What about us? Are we so busy that we neglect our devotion to Christ?
2. In Bethany, Christ raised Lazarus from the dead and claimed to be the resurrection and the life for those who believe in Him. What about us? Are we right with the Lord and have the hope that we will be resurrected to live with a new, glorified body with Christ for eternity in heaven?
3. Mary showed her love and devotion to Jesus by anointing Him with very expensive ointment and wiping His feet with her hair. What about us? How do we show our love and devotion to Jesus?
4. Jesus cursed a fig tree, and it died. He told us that if we have faith and don't doubt, we can move mountains. What about us? Do we have faith and believe God can do great things when we serve and trust Him? In what areas of my life do I lack faith and have fear?
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