Today while reading the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead, something occurred to me that I’d never considered before. Lazarus was rich!

Consider this verse from John 11:2.

(This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)

John 11:2 (NIV)

This verse from John 12:3 tells us the perfume was expensive.

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

John 12:3 (NIV)

However, Judas Iscariot’s objection to Mary’s use of the perfume reveals the families’ wealth.

“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

John 12:5 (NIV)

A year’s wage at any time is a lot of money to spend on a bottle of perfume. Such an extravagant expenditure today would only be seen by the very affluent or the very foolish. Once we realize that Lazarus is rich, the events surrounding him make more sense. For example, in Luke 7:11-17, we read of Jesus bringing a widow’s dead son back to life, but there’s no outcry from the religious rulers about this. Despite the response from the people.

Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

Luke 7:16-17 (NIV)

Although a report spread about this man being raised from the dead, the man was from Nain, a secluded farming village that no one cared about. On the other hand, Bethany (Lazaurus’ home) was close enough to Jerusalem to be considered part of it and was well known. While the prominence of Bethany might have drawn more notice than that of Nain, I don’t see the prominence of Bethany being so great as to bring many people there to mourn Lazarus, as we see in this verse.

And many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

John 11:19 (NIV)

Again, it’s more likely that people from surrounding areas will come to mourn a rich man over a poor man. Like the people of Nain, who believed Jesus came from God, those who say Lazarus was raised from the dead also believed.

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

John 11:45 (NIV)

But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

John 11:46 (NIV)

Whatever the motivation, some went and told the Pharisees what Jesus had done, and the Pharisees believed them!

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

John 11:47-48 (NIV)

So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

John 11:53 (NIV)

I can’t see the Pharisees responding so quickly and adamantly to claims that Jesus raised someone from the dead if they hadn’t heard those claims from influential people because of verses like this one.

No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

John 7:49 (NIV)

The religious rulers of the time were arrogant and prideful. They considered the teeming masses beneath them, so their opinions didn’t matter. Like today, people are more likely to believe what the rich and powerful tell them over some nobody no one knows anything about. Therefore, the only way that Lazarus being raised from the dead would have been seen as a threat was if people believed it.

There’s one other element I find intriguing about Lazarus, Mary, and Martha being rich, and it has to do with what Jesus said about rich people.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 19:23 (NIV)

Not only is it not impossible, as some might teach, for the rich to enter into heaven, but they can also serve in such a way that they can provide a lasting impact, as Lazarus, Mary, and Martha did.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.