So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus *said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” John 11:17-28
Today we are going to look at the top 10 resurrections in the Bible. Aside from the ones we will look at today it is possible that Paul himself was resurrected after he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20).
10 – Son of Zarephath widow by Elijah (1 Kings 17:17-24)
Elijah (Yahweh is God) calls for a 3 year drought – God’s judgement on Ahab for his Baal and Asherah worship. Elijah goes to the brook Cherith by God’s leading and stays there until the brook dries up. He is then commanded to go to a widow in Zarephath until it was time for the drought to end. Zarephath was east of the Jordon in Sidon, and was the home of Jezebel (Ahab’s wife, the king of Sidon’s daughter), and the heart of Baal worship. So right into the middle of the enemy’s camp, per se, he goes, and God provides for a bowl of flour and a jar of oil to never run out until the drought is over. It is here that the son of the widow dies. This was a culture that sacrificed the first born to pagan idols, and so the woman is understandably upset that the God of Elijah would do this. Elijah takes the body and prays and stretches upon the child three times, and life returns. The immediate response is affirmation of Elijah’s ministry, and God’s word as truth.
9 – Son of the great Shunammite woman by Elisha (2 Kings 4:35)
Elisha is the protégé of Elijah, and he has more miracles accorded to him than anyone else in the Bible except Jesus. Shunem is in northern Israel,, east of Megiddo. The Shunammite woman is generous and helpful to Elisha, understanding he is a holy man of God. She even makes a little room on the flat roof of her house for him. But she is barren, which is a great tragedy in that day. Elisha prophesies that she will have a child in a year and she has a son. The son grows, but comes in from the field one day and has a terrible headache. He dies by noon. The woman goes to Elisha and says you promised me a son – but now he is dead and it feels like a cruel joke. Elisha sends his servant, but after no results he goes himself. He stretches out upon the boy twice, the child sneezes 7 times, and new life is in him. The response is an affirmation of God’s promises, His faithfulness.
8 – A random dead man by Elisha – kind of (2 Kings 13:21)
Elisha is dead and buried. Another dead man is going to buried in the same place, but some marauders are seen and so they throw the body into Elisha’s grave. When the body touches the bones of Elisha, he is revived and stands up. The response is confirmation of Joash’s conquest of Aram.
7 – A widow’s son in Nain by Jesus (Luke 7:11-17)
Jesus has already attended two Passovers and shortly after the 12 disciples are chosen, Jesus goes to Nain where they encounter a funeral procession attended by most of the town – a widow’s son had died. He has compassion and tells her not to cry. He goes to the coffin, says, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” and up he gets. The response is fear, followed by praise and worship of God. It establishes Jesus as a prophet, and in the verses following we see it is the fulfilment of OT prophecy of the Messiah, confirming to John the Baptist of Jesus’ identity.
6 – Jairus’ daughter by Jesus (Mark 5:22-43) Got To Tell Somebody by Don Francisco
Jairus is a synagogue official. His daughter has died and he comes to Jesus with faith, believing Jesus can raise her from the dead. This was not too long after Nain. He goes with Him, a woman gets healed on the way and when they arrive at the house the funeral rituals are in full swing. The musicians mock Jesus for saying the girl isn’t dead, but He has them put out. He takes the parents and His disciples in with Him to the room where the girl lay dead and says, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” Up she gets, and Jesus tells the parents to feed her and to not tell anyone.
5 – Many saints at Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:52-53)
Jesus is on the cross, cries out with a loud voice, and yields up His spirit. He dies. The veil in the temple is torn, an earthquake shakes the place, and tombs are opened. The Scripture then says that the bodies of many saints who had died were raised and appeared to many in the city. It is hard to distinguish if they were raised in their physical bodies to live and die again, or if they were in their everlasting glorified bodies. The passage connects their resurrection to Jesus and His resurrection.
4 – Tabitha by Peter (Acts 9:36-42)
Tabitha lived in Joppa. She was a woman full of good works and helped the needy. She helped make clothing long with a group of widows. Unexpectedly she got sick and died. The disciples in Joppa heard Peter was nearby so they sent for him and he came. They showed him the body which they had placed in an upper chamber. He sent them out, kneeled and prayed. He said, “Tabitha, arise,” and she did. The response to this was that many people believed in the Lord.
3 – Eutychus by Paul (Acts 20:9-12)
In Troas Paul spoke at a gathering. It was a Sunday evening, probably because people had to work during the day. Well, as is not uncommon with preachers, Paul gets long, and Eutychus is sitting in a third floor window. Well, as is also not uncommon, he dozes off in the middle of Paul’s homily and down he goes, and they pick him up dead. Paul immediately went down and embraced him and said, Do not be troubled, his life is in him,” and sure enough new life came into him and the people were greatly comforted.
2 – Lazarus by Jesus (John 11:1-45)
And finally, just before the Last Passover and one last journey back through Samaria and Galilee, Jesus is called to Bethany, where Lazarus is sick. Jesus delays purposely, and Lazarus dies by the time He gets there. The triumphal entry is maybe a month away. Mary and Martha are weeping, And He says, Lazarus, come forth…
1 – To be continued…