JEJAK KEHIDUPAN YESUS

 

Church and Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany, Jerusalem
 

Two days after hearing of Lazarus' illness, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea" (John 11:7). His disciples, however, expressed fear that Jesus' enemies would stone him if he returned to Jerusalem. Only Jesus' popularity with the common people had saved his life on a previous visit. But Jesus told his disciples that he must go to his friend Lazarus and they all set out for Bethany, a small village on the edge of the Judean desert on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. John's Gospel locates it "less than two miles from Jerusalem."

 

Commemorative buildings at al-Azariyeh, the traditional site of Bethany (view looking southwest) left: Franciscan Church of St. Lazarus; center: minaret of 16th century AD al-Ozir mosque; right: Greek Orthodox church, with the remains a Crusader tower across the street that was part of a 12th century AD convent


Bethany (Arabic: al-Azariyya) is a Muslim and Christian Arab village (pop. 3,600) on the southeast slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Bethany was the home of the Lazarus, Mary and Martha and the setting for a number of New Testament events. The Tomb of Lazarus in Bethany has long been venerated by Christians and Muslims alike, and a modern Franciscan church dedicated to the resurrected saint stands on the site of much older ones.
Bethany was the home of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:38-44), and his sisters Mary and Martha. Jesus often stayed in their home.

 

Modern Bethany, with a mosque and a church at the site of the Tomb of Lazarus


Jesus was anointed at the home of Simon the Leper in Bethany (Mark 14:3) and returned to Bethany after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:11). According to Luke 24:50, Jesus ascended into heaven near Bethany (commemorated at the Chapel of the Ascension).
A village has been here since at least Roman times, and nearby was an Iron Age settlement that is believed to be the biblical Ananiah in the territory of Benjamin (Neh. 11:32) that is called Bethany in the New Testament (Beth Ananiah = Bethany).
There is no record of a church in Bethany in the 4th century, although both Eusebius the historian and the Bordeaux pilgrim (333) mention the tomb of Lazarus in a vault or crypt. Around 490 AD, St. Jerome recorded visiting the Tomb of Lazarus as the guest room of Mary and Martha, which is the Lazarium mentioned by the pilgrim Egeria in her account of the liturgy on Saturday in the seventh week of Lent:
 


Entrance to the traditional tomb of Lazarus. A flight of stone steps leads down to the tomb entrance hall and the tomb itself
 

Just on 1:00 everyone arrives at the Lazarium, which is Bethany... by the time they arrive there, so many people have collected that they fill not only the Lazarium itself, but all the fields around. (trans. J. Wilkinson)
This structure known as the Lazarium was destroyed in an earthquake and was replaced by a larger Church of St. Lazarus in the 6th century. The church was mentioned by Theodosius before 518 and by Arculf around 680, and survived intact until Crusader times.
During the Crusades, King Fulk and Queen Melisande purchased the village of Bethany from the Patriarch of the Holy Sepulchre in 1143 in exchange for land near Hebron. Melisande built a large Benedictine convent dedicated to Mary and Martha, extensively repaired the old church of Lazarus and rededicated it to Mary and Martha. She also built a new west church to St. Lazarus over his tomb; fortified the monastic complex with a tower; and endowed it with the estates of the village of Jericho.
 


Blocked entrance to the Tomb of Lazarus at Bethany


The convent of Sts. Mary and Martha became one of the richest convents in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Melisande's sister Joveta was elected abbess at the age of 24. Afer the fall of the Crusader kingdom in 1187, the nuns went into exile. The new west church was probably destroyed at this time, with only the tomb and barrel vaulting surviving; the 6th-century church and tower were heavily damaged but remained standing.
The village seems to have been abandoned thereafter, but a visitor in 1347 mentioned Greek monks attending the tomb chapel. By 1384, a mosque had been built on the site. In the 16th century, the Mosque of al-Uzair (Ezra) was built in the Crusader vault, which initially made Christian access to the tomb more difficult. However, the Franciscans were permitted to cut a new entrance on the north side of the tomb and at some point the original entrance from the mosque was blocked (photo, right).
In 1952-55 a modern Franciscan church dedicated to St. Lazarus was built over the Byzantine church of St. Lazarus and Crusader east church of Sts. Mary and Martha. In 1965, a Greek church was built just west of the Tomb of Lazarus.
 

Standing in the entrance hall of Lazarus' tomb; the actual burial chamber is seen in the lower right


The forecourt of the Franciscan Church of St. Lazarus stands over the west end of the older churches, from which parts of the original mosaic floor are preserved. The west wall of the forecourt contains the west facade of the 6th-century basilica, with three doorways.
The cruciform-plan church stands over the east end of the older churches. Trapdoors in the floor just inside reveal parts of the apse of the 4th-century church (the Lazarium), which was shorter than the 6th-century church. The modern church bears a mosaic on its facade depicting Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The interior is decorated with polished stone and mosaics.
Just up the hill on the left is the 16th-century Mosque of al-Uzair. The courtyard is in the Byzantine church atrium and the mosque is built in the vault that formerly supported the west end of the 12th-century church.
 


Ancient stairs descend into the tomb

 
A further 25m up the hill on the left is the modern entrance to the Tomb of Lazarus, which is accessed by 24 very uneven stone steps. This probably was a rock-cut tomb, but very little of its original form remains. The rock probably collapsed under the weight of the large Crusader church built above it.
The original blocked entrance can be seen in the east wall of the antechamber; this alignment suggests the tomb predates the Byzantine churches and may well be from the time of Lazarus.
Even further up the hill is a modern Greek Orthodox church that incorporates a wall of the Crusader church built over the tomb. Nearby are substantial ruins that belong to the Orthodox Patriarchate and are traditionally identified as the House of Simon the Leper (where Jesus was anointed) or the House of Lazarus. The remains of a tower belong to the Crusader monastery (c.1144).
 

Overall view of al-Azariyeh/Bethany, located 2.5 miles east of Jerusalem. Left to right: Franciscan Church of Lazarus, minaret of the al-Ozir Mosque and Greek Orthodox Church

 

Kampung Bethany terletak di lereng timur Bukit Zaitun (Markus 11:1), kurang lebih 2700 meter jauhnya dari Yerusalem (Yohanes 11:18) dan kini disebut Al-Azariye. Nama ini menggemakan nama kuno Lazarium yang diberikan oleh umat Kristen abad IV pada kampung tersebut. Dalam Perjanjian Lama, Bethany disebut Ananya (Nehemia 11:32). Bagi umat Kristen, Bethany mengingatkan Rumah Lazarus, Martha, dan Maria. Di situlah Yesus menegur Martha, katanya: "Martha, Martha! Engkau kuatir dan sibuk memikirkan ini dan itu, padahal yang penting hanya satu. Dan Maria sudah memilih yang baik, yang tidak akan diambil dari dia". (Lukas 10:41-42).

Pada suatu hari Lazarus, sahabat Yesus, meninggal. Pada waktu itu Yesus berada di wilayah seberang sungai Yordan. Sudah lewat empat hari sejak Lazarus dikuburkan, ketika Yesus sampai ke Bethany. Kata Yesus kepada Martha, "Aku-lah yang memberi hidup dan membangkitkan orang mati. Orang yang percaya kepada-Ku akan hidup walaupun ia sudah mati. Dan orang hidup yang percaya kepada-Ku, selama-lamanya tidak akan mati". Mendengar itu Martha menjawab, "Tuhan, saya percaya Tuhan anak Allah, Raja Penyelamat yang akan datang ke dunia ini' (Yohanes 11:25-27). Lalu Yesus membangkitkan Lazarus dari kuburnya, katanya, "Lazarus, keluar!" (Yohanes 11:43). Mendengar suara Yesus, Lazarus bangun dan keluar dari kuburnya, padahal tangan dan kakinya masih terbungkus kain kafan, dan mukanya tertutup dengan kain penutup muka (Yohanes 11:44).

Peristiwa itu dilaporkan kepada kaum Farisi yang kemudian bersama para imam kepala mengadakan rapat dengan Mahkamah Agama. Mulai hari itu para penguasa Yahudi bersekongkol untuk membunuh Yesus (Yohanes 11:53). Tetapi sebelum dibunuh, Yesus masih sempat mengunjungi rumah Lazarus. Yesus dijamu, dan Martha melayani. Kemudian Maria datang dengan kira-kira setengah liter minyak narwastu, menuangkan minyak itu ke kaki Yesus, lalu menyekanya dengan rambutnya. Yudas Iskariot tidak senang melihatnya sehingga berkomentar, "Mengapa minyak wangi itu tidak dijual saja dengan harga 300 uang perak, dan uangnya diberikan kepada orang miskin?". Yesus menanggapi, "Biarkan wanita itu! Ia melakukan ini untuk hari penguburanku. Orang miskin selalu ada di antara kalian, tetapi aku tidak" (Yohanes 12:1-8).

Karena beberapa peristiwa ini, Bethany selalu menarik perhatian para peziarah Kristen. Pada tahun 300, St. Hieronimus melaporkan bahwa di tempat kuburan Lazarus berdiri sebuah gereja. Pada awal abad XII di tempat itu didirikan sebuah gereja dan biara St. Lazarus. Setelah Yerusalem dikuasai oleh penguasa Islam, tempat suci itu terlantar. Pada akhir abad XVI reruntuhan gereja St. Lazarus diubah menjadi masjid, dan sejak itu tempat pembaringan terakhir Lazarus ada di tangan Islam. Namun pada tahun 1613, pastor Angelo dari Messina membeli dari kaum Islam hak untuk membuat tangga yang turun ke kuburan Lazarus dan untuk mempersembahkan misa kudus di situ.

Gereja baru ini (gereja Lazarus, Martha, dan Maria) didirikan pada tahun 1952-1953 menurut rancangan A. Barluzzi di atas reruntuhan beberapa gereja terdahulu. Di dalamnya dapat dilihat sejumlah mosaik indah karya C. Vaga-rini yang menggambarkan pembangkitan Lazarus, percakapan Yesus dengan Martha dan Maria, pengurapan Yesus oleh Maria di rumah Simon si kusta. Di halaman depan gereja terpelihara mosaik-mosaik dari gereja kuno abad IV. Di sebelah kanan gereja berdiri biara OFM.

Setelah keluar dari gereja St. Lazarus, kita dapat mengunjungi kuburan Lazarus. Dengan menuruni 24 anak tangga, kita akan sampai ke sebuah ruangan kecil (3 meter), lalu lewat pintu sempit dan 3 anak tangga lagi kita akan sampai ke tempat yang secara tradisional ditunjuk sebagai kuburan Lazarus. Kuburan itu adalah sebuah goa yang ditutup dengan batu besar (Yohanes 11:38). Di luar goa ini, di sebelah kanan gereja Orthodox-Yunani, kelihatan menara yang pada tahun 1138 didirikan di situ demi keamanan biara St. Lazarus di zaman dulu.


Names: Bethany, al-Azariyya, Beth Ananiah; Tomb of Lazarus, Church of St. Lazarus
Type of site: New Testament biblical site, church, tomb
Dates: 1955 church over 12th and 6th century churches
Location: Bethany village, southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
Hours: Church of St. Lazarus: 8-11:45, 2-6 (closes at 5 in Nov-Feb)

 

 

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