We learn that Mary, who will anoint Jesus for burial, is the sister of Martha and their brother is Lazarus. We also find that there is a close personal tie as Lazarus is called “the one whom you love”. When Jesus finds out about the illness of Lazarus, he continues two more days and then begins the journey to Bethany. Lazarus is dead and Jesus finds Mary and Martha grieving with many Jews from Jerusalem. Jesus asks Martha to believe and she does, they roll away the stone from the tomb and Jesus calls Lazarus. He comes out walking. Seeing this, many Jews believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. But, on hearing the news, the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and high priest set themselves to kill Jesus not knowing they are fulfilling God’s prophetic word.
The One Whom You Love is Sick
There is in John 11:1-3 a close personal relationship between Lazarus and Jesus and “Only now do we learn that Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha. The family appears in John for the first time, but cf. Lk. 10:38ff. That John can identify Mary to his readers by alluding to the episode in which she poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair, even before he narrates that event (12:1–8), presupposes that he thinks his readers have already heard of it.1
As Jesus gets this news of Lazarus condition, he says in
John 11:4 (LEB) And when he* heard it, Jesus said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, in order that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Jesus didn’t change his course, he, in John 11:6 “remained in the place where he was two days”. This doesn’t make sense, why would he do that? If Jesus loved them as it says in John 11:5 wouldn’t he go immediately? Jesus often healed people in the synagogue, or in the crowd. He healed those that came to him as in
Matthew 15:30 (LEB) And large crowds came to him, having with them the mute, blind, lame, crippled, and many others, and they put them down at his feet, and he healed them.
And this isn’t the only reference, and God’s healing power continued through Acts, “30 great. ch. 4:23, 24; 11:4, 5; 14:35, 36. Ps. 103:3. Is. 35:5, 6. Mar. 1:32–34; 6:54–56. Lu. 6:17–19; 7:21, 22. Ac. 2:22; 5:15, 16; 19:11, 12.”2
He also though, went on request to heal people as in
Matthew 8:7 “I will come and heal him”.
And other references are also found, “7 I will. ch. 9:18, 19. Mar. 5:23, 24. Lu. 7:6”.3
But in Matthew 8:8 we see an extension of Jesus healing power, “only say the word and my slave will be healed”. Here, “All that is needed is for Jesus to say the word, where the expression is something like “speak with a word”—the word is the instrument “with” which the servant will be healed”.4
Jesus didn’t need to go anywhere to accomplish this healing of Lazarus.
So That You May Believe
Whatever Jesus was doing was important to him and when it was finished, in
John 11:7 (LEB) Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”
Whatever the reason for the delay, John “always shows us Jesus taking action entirely on his own initiative and not on the persuasion of anyone else”.5
When in John 11:8 the disciples react in fear that the Jews might kill Jesus, Jesus responds in John 11:9-10 “Are there not twelve hours in a day?” meaning that there is work to be done. And then he tells them in John 11:11-15 that “Lazarus has died … so that you may believe, let us go to him”.
Lord, If You Had Been Here
It had taken time for the news of Lazarus illness and the families request to get to Jesus. Jesus himself delayed two days. And, it took some time to get to Bethany it could easily have been four days, “if Jesus, after two days’ further stay in Perea, set out on the day following for Bethany, some ten hours’ journey, that would make out the four days; the first and last being incomplete [MEYER]”.6
We also see in John 11:18-19 that “Bethany was near Jerusalem … so many of the Jews came”. Martha’s response to Jesus in John 11:21-27 was first, an accusation out of her grief, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died” but then she speaks in faith, “I know whatever you ask …” and Jesus says, “Your brother will rise again” and Martha responds, “I know … in the resurrection” but Jesus responds “I am the resurrection …” and we finally get to Martha’s answer, “Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ …”.
Where Have You Laid Him?
When Mary hears that Jesus has arrived, she goes to him in John 11:22 and makes the same statement her sister did, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”. This is a human emotional reaction. It is as if she was saying, Why weren’t you here for us? How could you let this happen? And, in John 11:33 Jesus “was deeply moved” as Hebrews 4:13 says, “able to sympathize with our weaknesses”. Certainly here, “He (Jesus) showed us a God whose heart is wrung with anguish for the anguish of his people”.7
Take Away the Stone
As they approach the tomb, Jesus, in John 11:39-40 says “Take away the stone” but Martha’s faith in Jesus as the resurrection and the life is confronted with her natural mind as she says, “Lord, he is stinking already”. And Jesus repeats himself in
John 11:40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
And Jesus prays in John 11:41-44, “for the sake of the crowd”, and says “Lazarus, come out!” and “the one who had died came out”.
One Man Should Die for the People
Many Jews were there from Jerusalem and in John 11:45-46 “many of the Jews … saw the things which he did and believed in him. But some went to the Pharisees …” and in John 11:47 “the Pharisees called together the Sanhedrin”.
John 11:49–50 (LEB) But a certain one of them, Caiaphas (who was high priest in that year), said to them, “You do not know anything at all! 50 Nor do you consider that it is profitable for you that one man should die for the people, and the whole nation not perish.”
Jesus Explains His Death
- John 11:1–6 The One Whom You Love is Sick
- John 11:7–16 So That You May Believe
- John 11:17–27 Lord, If You Had Been Here
- Matthew 20:17-19
- Mark 10:32-34
- Luke 18:31-34
- John 11:1-57
The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – The Gospels
This series follows the order of readings from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much different context and helps us understand the move of God as He is introducing the Saviour, the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. This series begins with Return To Me And I Will Return To You at the end of Malachi and introduces the “Witnesses” writing the Gospels.
is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home. http://operationexodususa.org/Overview
- 1. Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 405). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.
- 2. Blayney, B., Scott, T., & Torrey, R. A. with Canne, J., Browne. (n.d.). The Treasury of Scripture knowledge (Vol. 2, p. 12). London: Samuel Bagster and Sons.
- 3. Blayney, B., Scott, T., & Torrey, R. A. with Canne, J., Browne. (n.d.). The Treasury of Scripture knowledge (Vol. 2, p. 5). London: Samuel Bagster and Sons.
- 4. Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 193). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
- 5. Barclay, W. (2001). The Gospel of John (Vol. 2, p. 95). Louisville, KY: Edinburgh.
- 6. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 149). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 7. Barclay, W. (2001). The Gospel of John (Vol. 2, p. 114). Louisville, KY: Edinburgh.