John 11:1-4 Jesus was close to a man named Lazarus, and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. The sisters sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. Jesus recognized that Lazarus’ illness was arranged to show God’s glory and would not end up in permanent death, though Lazarus would have to physically die again.
John 11:5-15 Jesus purposely stayed two more days to allow Lazarus to die and not arrive in time to heal him. When two days passed, Jesus said it was time to go to Judea again, though the disciples thought it dangerous to go back there. Jesus reassured them that as long as He was in the world there was nothing to fear. Jesus said that Lazarus had fallen asleep (dead) and they needed to go and awake him (bring him back from the dead). The disciples misunderstood Jesus and took His words literally. Jesus looked forward to displaying this great miracle to affirm his disciple’s faith in Him.
Notes: The delay also ensured that Lazarus had been dead long enough that no one would misinterpret the miracle as a fraud or mere resuscitation.
John 11:16 Thomas’ words show loyalty, yet pessimism over the fact that they would probably all die in Judea.
John 11:17-24 Lazarus was dead four days upon the arrival of Jesus. Martha came to meet Jesus and said Lazarus would not have died if Jesus simply travelled the one-day journey and been there days ago. Jesus assured Martha that Lazarus would rise again, not just on the last day (Judgment Day), but here and now before her eyes.
John 11:25-27 Jesus’ great statement about Himself says that He is the Resurrection and Life and that all who believe in Him while they are alive, even though they will physically die, shall never spiritually die, but live eternally. Martha confirms her faith in what Jesus said calling Him the Christ and the Son of God.
John 11:28-36 Martha went to get her sister Mary to bring her to Jesus. Mary fell at Jesus’ feet and repeated what her sister said that if He had arrived earlier Lazarus would still be alive. Jesus, in His manhood, was deeply moved by Mary’s weeping and asked where Lazarus lay, and He also wept, wept over how sin, being so destructive, kills and takes those from us that we love dearly. Some people witnessing this scene saw Jesus’ great love; others just wondered that Jesus could have spared all this suffering if He just kept Lazarus from dying in the first place.
John 11:37-44 Jesus said to take the stone away. Martha saw that Jesus was going to do something, but had no idea that Jesus had the power to raise Lazarus here and now, especially seeing that Lazarus was already rotting and decaying for four days. Jesus reminded her again that nothing was impossible and that if you just believe you will see the Glory of God. Jesus thanked His Father for hearing His prayer (that many will believe when seeing this miracle). Jesus said this aloud so the people would know that He was sent by God. With all the linen straps and face wrap still upon his body, Lazarus walked out of the tomb when Jesus shouted his name.
Notes: This was Jesus’ last miracle before His death, and the one that symbolizes His own death and resurrection.
John 11:45-53 When the Pharisees got news of this miracle they called a meeting. They didn’t deny the miracles, but instead of the miracles leading them to belief in Jesus, they were more concerned that further miracles would cause such a sensation leading to a possible rebellion that Rome would step in and take away the little power they had. The high priest’s solution? Kill Jesus as a sacrifice so their nation and power can endure. Little did the high priest know that he just prophesied that Jesus would die as a sacrifice not only for the Jewish nation, but for all of God’s children scattered abroad.
Notes: Alerted by the Pharisees, a Sanhedrin committee consisting of chief priests (former high priests and members of high-priestly families) and Pharisees, called the Sanhedrin to session. The Pharisees could not by themselves take any judicial action against Jesus. Though subject to Roman control, the Sanhedrin was the highest judicial body in Israel and exercised judicial, legislative, and executive powers at that time. In Jesus’ day, the 70 members of the Sanhedrin were dominated by the chief priests, and virtually all the priests were Sadducees. The Pharisees constituted an influential minority. While the Pharisees and Sadducees were often in conflict, their mutual hatred of Jesus united them into action.
John 11:54-57 The official plot to kill Jesus was in motion and because of this Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews but stayed in a town with his disciples called Ephraim. When the Passover celebration arrived, many wondered if Jesus would show his face at the temple. If he did, the chief priests and Pharisees were ready to arrest Him.