Think about the timing of raising Lazarus from the dead. His death occurred at a seemingly inopportune time and place for Jesus. Lazarus and his sisters lived in Bethany, a village just outside Jerusalem where the Jewish leaders were all steamed up over Jesus and looking for ways to rid themselves of him.
When Jesus told his disciples they were headed there, “The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?”’ (John 11:8) As far as the timing, it was getting close to Passover and the raising of Lazarus would push the Jewish leaders over the edge ‘ push them to plan his death.
When Lazarus came out of his grave it was so dramatic and so undeniable the chief priests and Pharisees didn’t bother to deny it. Who cared if it was true, they just needed to stop it. ”’If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.'” (Verse 48)
Conventional wisdom would say not to go to Bethany or raise Lazarus so publicly so close to Jerusalem. Jesus went to Bethany anyhow. He raised Lazarus anyhow. In fact, maybe the time and place suited his plan perfectly. Surely he was foreshadowing his own resurrection. Would they remember?
Jesus lay in a tomb on Good Friday after being taken down from the cross. For the disciples their hopes were over. For the Jews their troubles were over. He was dead and buried, right?
Wrong. They should have remembered Lazarus.