Jesus Raises Lazarus
31 The people who were in the house with Mary comforting her followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there.32 Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!”
33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved.34 “Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered.
35 Jesus wept.
36″See how much he loved him!” the people said.37 But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39″Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!”
40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41 They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44 He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a napkin around his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.” 45 Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did, and they believed in him.
The cave that Lazarus was buried in hearkens to another cave, earlier in Jewish history and that of the Cave of Machpelah where Jacob the father of the Israeli nation was to be buried and from there it would seem a tradition that religious Jew be buried in that style.
29 Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, within the cave that lays in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, that Abraham bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.
Jesus too would be “buried” in a cave, and these caves were commonly in rocks, or the Italian “grotto” which is prevalent in the Mediterranean countryside. Typically they are either hollowed by nature or hewn by art similar to our Mausoleums with the entrance shut up with a great stone, and inscribed with religious quotes.