Book of John 11:7-24

Book of John 11:7-24

The raising of Lazarus is found only in the Gospel of John. Before the final week, we have a special witness to Jesus Glory.

The Death of Lazarus, a Request was sent to Jesus from Martha and Mary

To me, this resurrection of Lazarus was the greatest miracle of a dead person and witness to the Jewish Leaders that Lord Jesus is God and is the Son of God.

We find out that Lazarus had died, living with his sisters Mary and Martha.

  • Jesus brings back to life, Lazarus, who was dead 4 days and the body starting decay
  • Jesus waited for two days, because Burial of a person takes place on the day of the death.
  • The mourning period began immediately and lasted a month. First three days: professionals mourners.
  • Fourth day after was the day for friends to visit {historical records}

In the disciple’s mind, for Jesus to go back to Judea would mean death.

Jesus decides to go to Judea and Jerusalem. 

John 11:7 After this he told the disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

  • Jesus was at Bethabara, about 30 miles from Bethany.
  • This was about a day’s journey, and it is probable that Lazarus died soon after the message was sent.
  • One day would be occupied before the message came to him;
  • two days he remained;
  • one day would be occupied by him in going to Bethany;
  • so that Lazarus had been dead four days when he arrived.
  • Or Jesus could have raised Lazarus from a distance.

John 11:8 The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you to death, and you are going back there again?”

  • Judea was associated with hostility, so much danger and death for Jesus, Bethany is associated with love and friendship.
  • Jesus was willing to go to Judea again; despite the warnings from His disciples.
  • Remember; the Jews were going to stone Jesus in the Temple, on the Feast of the Dedication, about 4 months ago.

John 11:9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours in the day, aren’t there? If anyone walks during the day he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

  • Jesus is telling His disciples that work must be done when there is opportunity.
  • “I still have time; I will not die until my work is finished on this earth.
  • The twelve hours were a way to speak of the time allotted by God the Father for the earthly work of Jesus. Night comes when the work is done.
  • During these hours no harm could come to Jesus and the disciples

John 11:10 But if anyone walks at night he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

  • All things happen in a proper way and are brought to pass in their due time.
  • Nothing can shorten our time we are given the work we are to do
  • There is enough time for everything that needs to be done
  • We only have that time, so it must not be wasted, finish in the day, when night comes, then our work has ended.

Important:  Jesus’s death could not take place but for the time appointed by the Father.

Jesus tells the disciples plainly of Lazarus’ death

John 11:11 These were the things he said. Then after this he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am leaving to wake him up.”

Jesus just told the disciples that to raise Lazarus from the dead, for the resurrection of the dead is expressed by awaking them.

Death for the saint is restful sleep from the problems and concerns of this world and their assigned work is complete. 

1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  (14)  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  (15)  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

As a side, sleep is usually applied to the Saints. {1Co 11:30; 15:51; 1Th 4:14; 5:10}

John 11:12 So the disciples told him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.”

The disciples are concern the Jews want to kill Jesus, they ask, if he will recover, why then go to Judea?

Sleep was regarded by the Jews, in sickness, as a favorable thing; hence it was said among them, “Sleep in sickness is a sign of recovery,

John 11:13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was speaking about resting or sleeping.

Total miscommunication between Jesus and His disciples.  Jesus was saying He was dead, and disciples thought he was only sleeping. 

John 11:14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.

Jesus just told them in so many words and in a language the disciples now understood, Lazarus is dead.

John 11:15 For your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”

  • Jesus was not glad that Lazarus was dead, but not being there, for the disciple’s sake.
  • Jesus was glad for the opportunity the disciples would soon have to see an amazing miracle and this great sign of His Messiahship.
  • We know the outcome that grief was comforted, life was restored, many more believed.
  • The disciples had already believed, but each new trial offered an opportunity for their faith to grow.
  • Seeing Jesus Glory what He will do with Lazarus will increase the disciple’s faith because what will happen to the disciples in a couple of weeks.
  • This display of Jesus’s power raising Lazarus from the grave back to life prior to His own death.
  • There is no record of anyone dying in His presence (the two thieves died after he had given up His spirit).

Faith Lessons are developed gradually, in steps. The disciples, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus and especially you and me will develop faith. May this lesson not be wasted for His Saints.

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel God’s righteousness is being revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”

John 11:16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) {or Twin} said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

The Jews were so hostile when they left Jerusalem that they expect Jesus to be put to death.

  • Jesus said, Let us go and Thomas kind of seeing the dark side of things. Thomas said, Let us also go, that we may die. Really believe it
  • While the Lord saw their development in faith, Thomas saw their deaths.
  • Yet in Thomas loyalty to Jesus, he followed anyway to give Jesus his fullest proof of his love, by going and suffering death with Him.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Martha greets Jesus as He comes to Bethany.

John 11:17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

In the tomb 4 days.

Lazarus, Martha and Mary Has Many friends in Jerusalem and they came to comfort the women in their loss of their brother.  Jesus wanted many witnesses there, where some of the persons were of note and inhabitants of Jerusalem.

It seems like all of Jesus family and friends knew important people in Jerusalem.    Joseph with Pilate, John with the Priest, etc.

John 11:18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away,

  • Bethany was about 2 miles from Jerusalem.
  • Lazarus had lain in the grave for four days.
  • According to Jewish custom, a person is buried the same day they die.
  • Remember, 1 day travel to tell Jesus about Lazarus, stayed 2 days teaching, the 1day travel {about 10 hours walking}, 4 days dead

As a side: “Was” The Apostle John inference is that Bethany had been destroyed.  It seems like John wrote the Book of John after the destruction of Jerusalem and Bethany was destroyed in the siege of Jerusalem, using in past tense. 

Interesting, no other writer speaks of places in the past tense.

Garden of Gethsemane Destroyed – Did you know about this?

John 18:1 After Jesus had said this, he went with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.

Joseph’s Garden Destroyed

John 19:41 A garden was located in the place where he was crucified, and in that garden was a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed.

John 11:19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Cry with those who are crying.

  • Jews from Jerusalem, of which Bethany was a suburb. As “Jews” in John’s usage means the ruling classes, the fact that they came shows that the family of Lazarus was influential, people of importance.
  • These came to “comfort;” that is, to sit with and talk to the mourners, at least 10 should come.
  • Those who came to the sisters could be relatives, friends and sometime hired mourners accompanied a body to the grave.
  • The tradition of the usual period of mourning was thirty days: three of weeping, seven of lamentation {passionate expression of grief}, twenty of sorrow {deep distress cause by loss}.

There were so many Jewish Leaders as witness of this miracle of the physical resurrection of Lazarus as to put this fact beyond possible question about the resurrection of Lazarus.

As a side, I read somewhere or hear in the past, the mourners had to have somewhere to sleep and eat.  This rich family takes of them and could afford this.

John 11:20 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.

  • Note the contrast in personalities.
  • Martha is a woman of action, a worker, preparing for others, her character. Mary is a woman of quiet reflection, sits at the His feet and listen to what Jesus is saying, stayed in the house as her character and to convey the idea of her sorrow and distress. 

Luke 10:39-40 She {Martha} had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what he was saying.  (40)  But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.”

Luke 10:41-42 Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things.  (42)  But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”

Many Jews”:  Greater number of witnesses. Impossible for the Sanhedrin to discredit this last great “sign” of the Messiah.

John 11:21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

  • Martha honestly stated her disappointment in Jesus’ late arrival.
  • She could express herself to Jesus this way.
  • Martha’s faith made her believe that Jesus would have healed Lazarus, but even she did not expect him to bring back alive from the grave as he was already buried.
  • Mary said the same thing later {vs 32}.

John 11:22 But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, he will give it to you.”

  • Martha knows now Lazarus is dead, and believes Jesus had been there, Jesus could bring him back to life.
  • Despite this disappointment, she still showing a remarkable demonstration of faith and trust in Jesus.

I am the resurrection and the life

John 11:23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha takes this as a general term about the reference to the final resurrection with all the Saints on the last day.  So we know Jesus taught about the resurrection and disciples understood this. 

John 11:24 Martha told him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

  • The Jews were divided about the doctrine of the resurrection, the Sadducees denied it a resurrection while the Pharisees believe there is an resurrection.
  • Jesus taught there was and Martha believe him; she believed there would be a resurrection of the dead; that this would be at the last day, or at the end of the world; and that her brother would rise at that general resurrection:

Two resurrections (Rev 20:4-15):

Revelation 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 20:11-12 Then I saw a large, white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.  (12)  I saw the dead, both unimportant and important, standing in front of the throne, and books were open. Another book was opened—the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their actions, as recorded in the books.

The second resurrection occurs in several stages.

1 Corinthians 15:22-23 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  (23)  But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him

Leave a Reply