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The Resurrection of Lazarus (John 11)

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John 11

The resurrection of Lazarus
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 And it was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3 The sisters therefore sent to him, saying: Lord, he whom you love is sick. 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said: This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that thereby the Son of God may be glorified. 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 When he heard that Lazarus was sick, he therefore stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
   7 Then after this, he said to the disciples: Let us go into Judea again. 8 The disciples said to him: Rabbi, only a few days ago the Jews wanted to stone you; and you want to go there again? 9 Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
   11 These things he spoke, and after this he said to them: Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 The disciples replied to him: Lord, if he is fallen asleep, he will recover. 13 Now Jesus had spoken of Lazarus' death; but they thought that he spoke of Lazarus taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him. 16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him.

17 So when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in his tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was near to Jerusalem, about three kilometres away. 19 And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him; but Mary stayed in the house.
   21 Martha said to Jesus: Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now, I know that whatever you shall ask of God, God will give you. 23 Jesus said to her: Your brother shall rise again. 24 Martha said to him: I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes on me, though he die, yet shall he live. 26 And whoever lives and believes on me shall never die. Do you believe this? 27 She said to him: Yes, Lord. I have believed you are the Christ, the Son of God, he that is to come into the world.
   28 And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Teacher is here and calls you. 29 And she, when she heard it, arose quickly and went to him. 30 (Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still in the place where Martha met him). 31 The Jews then who were with her in the house and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
   32 Therefore, when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him: Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who had come with her, he groaned in the spirit and was disturbed, 34 and said: Where have you laid him? They said to him: Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 The Jews said: Look how he loved him! 37 But some of them said: Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him that was blind, have also caused that this man should not have died?
   38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay across it. 39 Jesus said: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said to him: Lord, by this time the body stinks. For he has been dead four days. 40 Jesus said to her: Did I not say to you, that if you believed, you should see the glory of God? 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said: Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
   42 And I know you hear me always, but because of the crowd that stands around I said it, that they may believe you did send me.
   43 And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come out! 44 He that was dead came out, bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him, and let him go away.
45 Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to Mary and saw what he did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.

The response of the Pharisees
   47 The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said: What will we do? For this man does many miracles. 48 If we leave him alone, all men will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you take account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, so that the whole nation does not perish. 51 Now this he said not of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. 52 And not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God that are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day forward, they took advice how they might put him to death.
   54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but departed from there into the country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples.
55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand; and many from the countryside went to Jerusalem to purify themselves before the Passover. 56 They looked for Jesus, and spoke one with another, as they stood in the temple: What do you think? That he will not come to the feast? 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, they were to inform them, so that they might arrest him.


11:6 Lack of immediate answer to our requests doesn’t mean God or Jesus haven’t heard them. They have ‘answered’, but for various reasons, to glorify His Name the more, they may delay in ‘coming’ in response.

11:24 Nothing is said here about an immortal soul which goes to reward in Heaven after death. Instead the emphasis is upon the literal bodily resurrection of believers from the dead, when Christ returns. By baptism we identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus, and can share in this great hope (Rom. 6:3-5).

11:38 Groaning - In prayer to God. Likewise the ‘weeping’ of v. 35 was in prayer- Rom. 8:26 says that Jesus prays for us now with groaning. We should therefore take our prayer life seriously, knowing that there is such intense mediation going on for us in Heaven itself, before the throne of God.

11:41 Jesus thanked God for the answer to His prayers even before the answer had happened, i.e., before Lazarus had come forth. Jesus was no hypocrite- He was practicing what He had taught in Mk. 11:24: “When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for”.

11:44 The miracle was not only of resurrection; but that a man with tied feet and hands could get out of graveclothes and walk across a cave to its entrance and out into the open air. The wonders which God does in our lives contain so many ‘smaller’ wonders, the more we analyze them.

11:52 The cross should elicit unity between God’s children. This should be especially seen at the breaking of bread meeting, when we gather together to remember Christ’s death. This is not the place for division and exclusion of God’s children, but for celebrating our unity.