Raising Lazarus – John 11

(NLT)   1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.  Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

 4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days.

(7-8  )   When he was ready to go back to Judea, the disciples shared their concerns that people were trying to kill him there.

 (skip to)  11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”  (12-16)   The disciples, thinking Jesus meant Lazarus was sleeping, responded that he would soon get better.  Jesus meant Lazarus had died.  He told them plainly that Lazarus was dead, and it was a good thing he wasn’t there, because (knowing he would raise him), their faith in him would strengthen.  Thinking that Jesus would die, and willing to die with him, the disciples went too. 

 17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

 23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”

 25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

 27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him.

 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

*(33-44 translation is New International Version)

  33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34“Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

 35Jesus wept.   

 36Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

 38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39“Take away the stone,” he said.
      “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

 40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

 41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”  43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
      Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

(45-48)  Many of the people with Mary became believers.  But some went and told the Pharisees.  The high council worried that everyone would come to believe in him, and then the Roman army would come and destroy their Temple and their nation.

49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!   50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.

 (53-54)  Jesus ended his public ministry and left Jerusalem to stay near the wilderness, in the village of Ephraim.  His disciples accompanied him.

(55-57)  It was almost time for Passover, and many people visited and gathered in Jerusalem.  They wondered if Jesus would show up.  At the same time,  the leading priests and Pharisees gave a public order that anyone who saw Jesus must report him so they could arrest him.


Lazarus had to die so that Jesus’ power over death could be displayed.  And the sisters had to wait because that was God’s plan.

Don’t get frustrated if  I don’t get answers when I want them.

11:4  Any trial a believer faces can ultimately bring glory to God because God can bring good out of any bad situation (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).  When trouble comes, do you grumble, complain, and blame God, or do you see problems as opportunities to honor him?

11:33-37  Jesus wept.  He might have empathized with their grief or perhaps was troubled at their unbelief.  Either way, we can see that Jesus cares enough about us to weep with us in our sorrow.  He experienced and expressed deep emotions such as compassion, indignation, sorrow, frustration.  We must not try to hide our feelings from him. 

11:48  Rome gave partial freedom to the Jews as long as they were quiet and obedient.  The leaders feared that Rome’s displeasure would bring additional hardship to their nation.


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