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.” # 11:7 Or “Judea.”
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? # 11:9–10 Jesus used a parable to respond to why he was not afraid to go where his life could be in danger. This is more than the sun, but “the One who gives light to the world.” 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. # 11:11 Jesus was stating an obvious euphemism. Lazarus “sleeping” means that he has died. To “awaken” him means that Jesus would raise him from the dead. 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.” # 11:16 It is likely that Thomas was expressing pessimism about the fate of Jesus going back into the region where he was threatened with death.
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 # 11:19 Or “Jews.” 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.” # 11:24 Or “at the last day.”
25“Martha,” Jesus said, “You don’t have to wait until then. I am # 11:25 The words I am in the Aramaic are a clear statement of Christ’s deity: “I am the living God, the Resurrection and the Life!” the Resurrection, # 11:25 The Aramaic uses a word that is related linguistically to the name Noah, who was symbolically “resurrected” from the flood as the life-giver to those who repopulated the earth. Resurrection is superior to life, for life can be defeated and ended. But resurrection overcomes. Life is the power to exist, but resurrection is the power to conquer all, even death itself. Believers must learn to live in Christ our Life, but also, Christ our Resurrection to conquer all things. See Phil. 3:10. 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. # 11:26 This is very emphatic in the Greek, “never die forever!” Do you believe this?” # 11:26 John presents Jesus as the great Savior who saves us from sin (John 8), blindness (John 9–10), and death (John 11).
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.” # 11:28 This is one of the most beautiful things that ever could be said to you: “The Master is here and he’s asking for you.” Mary’s response must be ours: “she quickly went off to find him” (v. 29).
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 # 11:31 The Aramaic is “Mary’s friends who loved 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 # 11:33 The Greek word used here (enebrimēsato) can also mean “indignant and stirred with anger.” Was he angry at the mourners? Not at all. He was angry over the work of the devil in taking the life of his friend, Lazarus. The Aramaic, however, has no connotation of indignation, only tenderness and compassion (lit. “his heart melted with compassion”). 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.” # 11:36 The Aramaic is “how much mercy he felt for 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?” # 11:40 Or “you would see the glory of God.”
41So they rolled away the heavy stone. Jesus gazed into heaven and said, “Father, thank you # 11:41 Resurrection power is released when we give thanks to God. Jesus stood at Lazarus’ tomb and gave thanks, then commanded him to arise. Giving thanks to God has more power than you can ever imagine. Have you stopped to thank God yet today? 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.” # 11:44 Burial customs in the ancient Near East were to wrap the corpse in white cotton cloths from the neck to the feet. The head was then covered with a large handkerchief.
45From that day forward many of those # 11:45 Or “Jews.” 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 # 11:47 Or “the Sanhedrin.” This was the Great Sanhedrin, equivalent to a Jewish court, which would be comprised of seventy men who would judge Jewish religious matters. 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!” # 11:48 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is translated “our place [position] and our nation.” “Our place” could refer to the temple.
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 # 11:51 As translated from the Aramaic. 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.) # 11:52 See Isa. 49:6. 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, # 11:54 The Aramaic can be translated “the fortress city of Ephraim” or “the mill called Ephraim.” Ephraim means “double fruitfulness.” Some believe this location is the present town of Et-Taiyibeh, which would make it about fourteen miles (twenty-two kilometers) northeast of Jerusalem. 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.