A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in the town of Bethany, where Mary and her sister Martha lived.
Mary was the woman who later put perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. Mary's brother was Lazarus, the man who was now sick.
So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When Jesus heard this, he said, "This sickness will not end in death. It is for the glory of God, to bring glory to the Son of God."
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
But when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.
Then Jesus said to his followers, "Let's go back to Judea."
The followers said, "But Teacher, the Jews there tried to stone you to death only a short time ago. Now you want to go back there?"
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the daylight, he will not stumble, because he can see by this world's light.
But if anyone walks at night, he stumbles because there is no light to help him see."
After Jesus said this, he added, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him."
The followers said, "But Lord, if he is only asleep, he will be all right."
Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead, but his followers thought he meant Lazarus was really sleeping.
So then Jesus said plainly, "Lazarus is dead.
And I am glad for your sakes I was not there so that you may believe. But let's go to him now."
Then Thomas (the one called Didymus) said to the other followers, "Let us also go so that we can die with him."
When Jesus arrived, he learned that Lazarus had already been dead and in the tomb for four days.
Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem.
Many of the Jews had come there to comfort Martha and Mary about their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed home.
Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
But I know that even now God will give you anything you ask."
Jesus said, "Your brother will rise and live again."
Martha answered, "I know that he will rise and live again in the resurrectionn on the last day."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will have life even if they die.
And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Martha, do you believe this?"
Martha answered, "Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the One coming to the world."
After Martha said this, she went back and talked to her sister Mary alone. Martha said, "The Teacher is here and he is asking for you."
When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus.
Jesus had not yet come into the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
The Jews were with Mary in the house, comforting her. When they saw her stand and leave quickly, they followed her, thinking she was going to the tomb to cry there.
But Mary went to the place where Jesus was. When she saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw Mary crying and the Jews who came with her also crying, he was upset and was deeply troubled.
He asked, "Where did you bury him?" "Come and see, Lord," they said.
So the Jews said, "See how much he loved him."
But some of them said, "If Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man, why couldn't he keep Lazarus from dying?"
Again feeling very upset, Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a large stone covering the entrance.
Jesus said, "Move the stone away." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, "But, Lord, it has been four days since he died. There will be a bad smell."
Then Jesus said to her, "Didn't I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?"
So they moved the stone away from the entrance. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you heard me.
I know that you always hear me, but I said these things because of the people here around me. I want them to believe that you sent me."
After Jesus said this, he cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with pieces of cloth, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take the cloth off of him and let him go."
Many of the Jews, who had come to visit Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish council. They asked, "What should we do? This man is doing many miracles.
If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation."
One of the men there was Caiaphas, the high priest that year. He said, "You people know nothing!
You don't realize that it is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed."
Caiaphas did not think of this himself. As high priest that year, he was really prophesying that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation
and for God's scattered children to bring them all together and make them one.
That day they started planning to kill Jesus.
So Jesus no longer traveled openly among the Jews. He left there and went to a place near the desert, to a town called Ephraim and stayed there with his followers.
It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast. Many from the country went up to Jerusalem before the Passover to do the special things to make themselves pure.
The people looked for Jesus and stood in the Temple asking each other, "Is he coming to the Feast? What do you think?"
But the leading priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where Jesus was, he must tell them. Then they could arrest him.