The Death and Resurrection of Lazarus
Now a certain man named Lazarus was sick. He was from [a]Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, he [our brother and Your friend] whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death; but [on the contrary it is] for the glory and honor of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved and was concerned about Martha and her sister and Lazarus [and considered them dear friends]. [b]So [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed in the same place two more days. Then He said to His disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), the Jews were only recently going to stone You, and You are [thinking of] going back there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours [of light] in the day? Anyone who walks in the daytime does not stumble, because he sees [by] the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.” He said this, and after that said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him.” The disciples answered, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” However, Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was referring to natural sleep. So then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas, who was called Didymus (the twin), said to his fellow disciples, “Let us go too, that we may die with Him.”
So when Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb [c]four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away; and many of the Jews had come to see Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning [the loss of] their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise [from the dead].” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise [from the dead] in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “[d]I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed and continue to believe that You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God, [e]He who was [destined and promised] to come into the world [and it is for You that the world has waited].”
After she had said this, she left and called her sister Mary, privately whispering [to her], “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” And when she heard this, she got up quickly and went to Him.
Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met Him. So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her, saw how quickly Mary got up and left, they followed her, assuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came [to the place] where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who had come with her also sobbing, He was [f]deeply moved in spirit [to the point of anger at the sorrow caused by death] and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him [as a close friend]!” But some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the blind man’s eyes, have kept this man from dying?”
So Jesus, again deeply moved within [to the point of anger], approached the tomb. It was a cave, and a boulder was lying against it [to cover the entrance]. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! [It is hopeless!]” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe [in Me], you will see the glory of God [the expression of His excellence]?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised His eyes [toward heaven] and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me and listen to Me; but I have said this because of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You have sent Me [and that You have made Me Your representative].” When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” Out came the man who had been dead, his hands and feet tightly wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] cloth wrapped around his face. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and release him.”
- John 11:1 Two cities named Bethany are mentioned in the NT. This one is located on the east side of the Mount of Olives, about two miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Jericho; the other city is “Bethany across the Jordan” (1:28) in Perea.
- John 11:6 The delay by Jesus was to assure everyone that Lazarus was truly dead, as the context which follows makes clear.
- John 11:17 Jesus purposefully stayed away for four days after Lazarus’ death. The Jews believed the soul hovered around the body for three days during which there was still hope. After four days all hope was gone.
- John 11:25 The fifth of the memorable “I am” statements. See note 6:35.
- John 11:27 The Coming One was a Messianic title.
- John 11:33 In Greek this term suggests an emotional indignation or sternness. Jesus was angry at the sorrow caused by death. It occurs four more times in the NT in reference to Jesus’ words or His feelings. See Matt 9:30; Mark 1:43; John 11:38; 13:21.