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The Gospel of John: Chapter 11

Happy Sunday! Its day 11 of our Countdown to Christmas in the Gospel of John and today we are reading John Chapter 11.

As always, the chapter below was taken directly from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are in red, and my commentary is blue. I’ll have the video recording of today’s reading at the bottom of the post!

I use as a bible study tool, and highly recommend it to anyone who likes to dig deep!

The Death of Lazarus

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

Jesus was close to this family on a personal level. They had seen his majesty and believed in him as “Lord”, although they got to enjoy him as a friend as well.

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

Just as he heals any of the sick that are brought to him, he fully intends on healing Lazarus. But Jesus is not in a hurry. He never is. So he stays and continues the work that he was at the time committed to, before heading to Judea.

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Jesus knows that Lazarus has died and he is glad that he wasn’t there when it happened… Healing a sick man is a less incredible miracle than raising a dead man. Jesus plans to perform the impossible, and his power in that moment will be undeniable.

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

The disciples know that the Jews are after Jesus to have him killed and they are nervous to return to Judea. However, Thomas knows who he’s following, and is ready to die alongside his Messiah.

Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Martha seem to interpret Jesus’ words as a mere comfort that he will be raised up in his death to be with the Father. Similar to when we tell someone who is mourning that we believe they are in a better place. But in this case, he meant it literally, as he will soon bring Lazarus back to life.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus was deeply moved. And then he wept.

This was not out of surprise or hopelessness; Jesus is empathetic at the core. Our pain breaks his heart. He is moved with compassion in this moment, and joins the group in their mourning.

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

Yesterday, Jesus spoke of the “sheep from another fold” that he intended to gather. These were the people who would believe in him outside of the Israelite nation.

John is suggesting that if Jesus doesn’t die as Caiaphas unknowingly prophesied, many more than the Jews will be destined to perish (eternally).

54 Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

55 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56 They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” 57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

Jesus has the power to bring the dead to life. And although at this point in the story it appears that he only performs this miracle once, he offers it to every single one of his followers. Just maybe in a different way than what we’re thinking.

Our sinful nature subjects us to a death that separates us from God the Father, eternally. He came to save us from that death. His mission was not to extend all of our earthly lives, as he did with Lazarus. After all, our time spent on earth comes full of pain and suffering. He wants better for us than that.

Jesus came to to offer us all an eternity spent with the Father, far from any of the bad that we deal with here on Earth. Confidence in an eternity with our Maker comes as easily as believing in and receiving his Son. He did what we couldn’t do and died a sinless man, for the sins of the world. He rose three days later, and he plans to resurrect us to glory as well, on the last day.

So yes, we will rise from the dead as well. And it will be even greater than Lazarus coming back to life on Earth. We will get to go where Jesus went, and be with our Father in paradise. I pray that you would receive this today.

I’ll see you all tomorrow for chapter 12!


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Hey friend, It's just me. A 23 year old female, sharing faith, lifestyle, and light while learning how to follow Jesus and love people well in a broken world. You too? Tag along!