Lazarus Raised from the Dead
1-2In the village of Bethany there was a man named Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary was the one who would anoint Jesus’ feet with costly perfume and dry his feet with her long hair. One day Lazarus became very sick to the point of death. 3So his sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, our brother Lazarus, the one you love, is very sick. Please come!”
4When he heard this, he said, “This sickness will not end in death for Lazarus, but will bring glory and praise to God. This will reveal the greatness of the Son of God by what takes place.”
5-6Now even though Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, he remained where he was for two more days. 7Finally, on the third day, he said to his disciples, “Come. It’s time to go to Bethany.”
8“But Teacher,” they said to him, “do you really want to go back there? It was just a short time ago the people of Judea were going to stone you!”
9-10Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight in every day? You can go through a day without the fear of stumbling when you walk in the One who gives light to the world. But you will stumble when the light is not in you, for you’ll be walking in the dark.”
11Then Jesus added, “Lazarus, our friend, has just fallen asleep. It’s time that I go and awaken him.”
12When they heard this, the disciples replied, “Lord, if he has just fallen asleep, then he’ll get better.” 13Jesus was speaking about Lazarus’ death, but the disciples presumed he was talking about natural sleep.
14Then Jesus made it plain to them, “Lazarus is dead. 15And for your sake, I’m glad I wasn’t there, because now you have another opportunity to see who I am so that you will learn to trust in me. Come, let’s go and see him.”
16So Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, remarked to the other disciples, “Let’s go so that we can die with him.”
17-18Now when they arrived at Bethany, which was only about two miles from Jerusalem, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 19Many friends of Mary and Martha had come from the region to console them over the loss of their brother. 20And when Martha heard that Jesus was approaching the village, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house.
21Martha said to Jesus, “My Lord, if only you had come sooner, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22But I know that if you were to ask God for anything, he would do it for you.”
23Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise and live.”
24She replied, “Yes, I know he will rise with everyone else on resurrection day.”
25“Martha,” Jesus said, “You don’t have to wait until then. I am the Resurrection, and I am Life Eternal. Anyone who clings to me in faith, even though he dies, will live forever. 26And the one who lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27Then Martha replied, “Yes, Lord, I do! I’ve always believed that you are the Anointed One, the Son of God who has come into the world for us!” 28Then she left and hurried off to her sister, Mary, and called her aside from all the mourners and whispered to her, “The Master is here and he’s asking for you.”
29So when Mary heard this, she quickly went off to find him, 30for Jesus was lingering outside the village at the same spot where Martha met him. 31Now when Mary’s friends who were comforting her noticed how quickly she ran out of the house, they followed her, assuming she was going to the tomb of her brother to mourn.
32When Mary finally found Jesus outside the village, she fell at his feet in tears and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33When Jesus looked at Mary and saw her weeping at his feet, and all her friends who were with her grieving, he shuddered with emotion and was deeply moved with tenderness and compassion. 34He said to them, “Where did you bury him?”
“Lord, come with us and we’ll show you,” they replied.
35Then tears streamed down Jesus’ face.
36Seeing Jesus weep caused many of the mourners to say, “Look how much he loved Lazarus.” 37Yet others said, “Isn’t this the One who opens blind eyes? Why didn’t he do something to keep Lazarus from dying?”
38Then Jesus, with intense emotions, came to the tomb—a cave with a stone placed over its entrance. 39Jesus told them, “Roll away the stone.”
Then Martha said, “But Lord, it’s been four days since he died—by now his body is already decomposing!”
40Jesus looked at her and said, “Didn’t I tell you that if you will believe in me, you will see God unveil his power?”
41So they rolled away the heavy stone. Jesus gazed into heaven and said, “Father, thank you that you have heard my prayer, 42for you listen to every word I speak. Now, so that these who stand here with me will believe that you have sent me to the earth as your messenger, I will use the power you have given me.” 43Then with a loud voice Jesus shouted with authority: “Lazarus! Come out of the tomb!”
44Then in front of everyone, Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, slowly hobbled out—he still had grave clothes tightly wrapped around his hands and feet and covering his face! Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”
45From that day forward many of those who had come to visit Mary believed in him, for they had seen with their own eyes this amazing miracle! 46But a few went back to inform the Pharisees about what Jesus had done.
47So the Pharisees and the chief priests called a special meeting of the High Council and said, “So what are we going to do about this man? Look at all the great miracles he’s performing! 48If we allow him to continue like this, everyone will believe in him. And the Romans will take action and destroy both our country and our people!”
49Now Caiaphas, the high priest that year, spoke up and said, “You don’t understand a thing! 50Don’t you realize we’d be much better off if this one man were to die for the people than for the whole nation to perish?”
51(This prophecy that Jesus was destined to die for the Jewish people didn’t come from Caiaphas himself, but he was moved by God to prophesy as the chief priest. 52And Jesus’ death would not be for the Jewish people only, but to gather together God’s children scattered around the world and unite them as one.) 53So from that day on, they were committed to killing Jesus.
54For this reason Jesus no longer went out in public among the Jews. But he went in the wilderness to a village called Ephraim, where he secluded himself with his disciples.
55Now the time came for the Passover preparations, and many from the countryside went to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the feast began. 56And all the people kept looking out for Jesus, expecting him to come to the city. They said to themselves while they waited in the temple courts, “Do you think that he will dare come to the feast?” 57For the leading priests and the Pharisees had given orders that they be informed immediately if anyone saw Jesus, so they could seize and arrest him.