1There was a certain man, who was called Lazarus. He lived at Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived too. He became ill. 2It was this Mary who had poured oil with a nice smell over the feet of the Lord Jesus. Then she had cleaned his feet with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was ill. 3So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus to say, ‘Lord, the friend that you love is ill.’
4Jesus heard the message. Then he said, ‘This illness will not finish with Lazarus's death. No, its purpose is to show how great God is. Because of this, people will see how great God's Son is.’ 5Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and their brother Lazarus, too. 6He heard the news that Lazarus was ill. But then he stayed in the place where he was for two more days.
7After that, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘We should return to Judea.’ 8The disciples said, ‘Teacher, only a short time ago, the Jews there tried to kill you with stones. You should not return there!’ 9Jesus answered, ‘You know that there are 12 hours in the day. Anyone who walks during the day will not fall down. He will not fall down because he sees this world's light. 10But anyone who walks during the night will fall down. He will fall down because he has no light.’
11Jesus said that. Then he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus is sleeping. But I will go there to wake him up.’ 12So the disciples said to him, ‘If he is sleeping, Lord, he will get well again.’ 13The disciples thought that Jesus was talking about sleep as rest. But Jesus meant that Lazarus had died. 14So then, Jesus told them clearly, ‘Lazarus is dead. 15But I am happy that I was not there with him. I am happy about that because it will help you. Now you will believe in me. We must go to him now.’ 16Thomas, who was called Didymus, said to the other disciples, ‘We should go with our Teacher, so that we can die with him!’ #11:16 Didymus means ‘the Twin’. Twins are two children who were born at the same time to the same mother.
Jesus is able to make dead people alive
17Jesus arrived at Bethany. He discovered that they had buried Lazarus 4 days earlier. 18Bethany was less than two miles (about three kilometres) from Jerusalem. 19Many Jews had come there to visit Martha and Mary. They wanted to help Martha and Mary because their brother had died.
20Martha heard the news that Jesus was coming. So, she went out to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house with the visitors. 21Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now, I know that God will answer you. He will do whatever you ask him.’ 23Jesus told her, ‘Your brother will rise, to become alive again.’ 24Martha replied, ‘I know that he will rise, to become alive again, on the last day.’ 25Jesus said to her, ‘I have authority over death. I raise dead people, and I give people true life. Anyone who believes in me will live. Even if that person dies, he will continue to live. 26People who live because they believe in me will never die. Do you believe that?’ 27Martha answered, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah. You are God's Son, the one that God promised to send into the world.’
28After this, Martha went back to the house. She took Mary on her own and said to her, ‘The Teacher is here, and he is asking to meet you.’ 29When Mary heard this, she got up immediately. She went out to meet Jesus. 30Jesus had not arrived in the village yet. He was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31There were still Jews in the house who were with Mary to help her. They saw her get up quickly and go out. So, they followed her. They thought that she was going to the place where they had put Lazarus' dead body. They thought that she wanted to go and to weep there.
32Mary arrived at the place where Jesus was. When she saw Jesus, she fell at his feet. She said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33Jesus saw that Mary was weeping. He saw that the Jews who had come with her were weeping also. Jesus saw them and he felt very, very sad in his spirit. He was very upset about Lazarus' death. 34He asked them, ‘Where have you put his dead body?’ They answered, ‘Come and see, Lord.’ 35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said to each other, ‘See how much he loved Lazarus!’ 37But some of them said, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man. So, surely he would have been able to stop the death of Lazarus.’
Jesus makes Lazarus alive again
38Jesus arrived at the place where they had put Lazarus' dead body. It was a big hole in the rock. A very large stone covered the front of the hole. Once again, Jesus felt very upset. 39He said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha, the dead man's sister, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, by now his dead body will have a bad smell. He has been dead for four days!’ 40Jesus said to her, ‘I told you already that you must believe in me. Then you will see how great and how powerful God is.’ 41So they moved the stone away. Jesus looked up towards the sky. He said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have listened to me. 42I know that you listen to me always. But I said this to help all the people who are standing here. I want them to believe that you sent me.’ 43When Jesus had said this, he shouted with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44The dead man came out. There were pieces of cloth round his hands and round his feet. Another piece of cloth was round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Undo the cloths and let him go.’
The Pharisees decide how to kill Jesus
45The Jews who had come to visit Mary saw this. They saw what Jesus did. So, many of them believed in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees. They told the Pharisees what Jesus had done. 47Then the Pharisees and the leaders of the priests had a meeting with the group of Jewish leaders. They asked each other, ‘What will we do? This man is doing so many miracles. 48If we let him do more things like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman rulers will come and punish us. Their soldiers will destroy our Great House of God and even destroy our whole country of Israel.’ #11:48 The Romans were ruling Israel at that time. #11:48 The priests' leaders and the Pharisees did not want to believe Jesus. Jesus had said that he was God's Son. But that had made them very angry. They were even angrier when Jesus made the dead man, Lazarus, alive again. They were afraid that they would lose their authority. They were afraid that the people would make Jesus their leader, or even a king. So then the Romans would punish all the Jews.
49One of the group was the leader of the priests that year. He was called Caiaphas. He said, ‘You do not understand the problem. 50It is better that one man should die on behalf of our people. That is better than if all Israel's people should die.’ 51Caiaphas did not say this because he had thought it by himself. No, he was speaking as a prophet, because he was the leader of the priests that year. As a prophet he said that Jesus would die on behalf of Israel's people. 52And Jesus would die not only for Israel's people. Also, he would die for all God's people who lived in many different places. He would bring them all together. They would become like one big family.
53From that day, the Jewish leaders decided together how they could kill Jesus. 54So, Jesus stopped travelling about in Judea where everyone could see him. Instead, he went away from there to a town called Ephraim that was near to the wilderness. He stayed there with his disciples.
55It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Festival to begin. Many people were going from their country places to Jerusalem. They were going there to make themselves clean in front of God before they went to the festival. 56They were continuing to look for Jesus. While they stood in the yard of God's Great House, they spoke to each other about him. They asked each other, ‘Do you think that he will come to the festival or not?’ 57The leaders of the priests and the Pharisees had spoken to the people about Jesus. They had told them, ‘If anyone knows where Jesus is, you must tell us.’ So then they could take hold of him to put him in a prison.