A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha.
This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick.
So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, "Lord, the one you love is very sick."
But when Jesus heard about it he said, "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this."
Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus,
he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them.
Finally after two days, he said to his disciples, "Let's go to Judea again."
But his disciples objected. "Teacher," they said, "only a few days ago the Jewish leaders in Judea were trying to kill you. Are you going there again?"
Jesus replied, "There are twelve hours of daylight every day. As long as it is light, people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world.
Only at night is there danger of stumbling because there is no light."
Then he said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up."
The disciples said, "Lord, if he is sleeping, that means he is getting better!"
They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was having a good night's rest, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
Then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead.
And for your sake, I am glad I wasn't there, because this will give you another opportunity to believe in me. Come, let's go see him."
Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let's go, too -- and die with Jesus."
References for John 11:16
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days.
Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem,
References for John 11:18
and many of the people had come to pay their respects and console Martha and Mary on their loss.
References for John 11:19
When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed at home.
Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again."
"Yes," Martha said, "when everyone else rises, on resurrection day."
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.
References for John 11:25
They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?"
"Yes, Lord," she told him. "I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God."
Then she left him and returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, "The Teacher is here and wants to see you."
So Mary immediately went to him.
Now Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him.
When the people who were at the house trying to console Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus's grave to weep. So they followed her there.
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled.
"Where have you put him?" he asked them. They told him, "Lord, come and see."
Then Jesus wept.
The people who were standing nearby said, "See how much he loved him."
But some said, "This man healed a blind man. Why couldn't he keep Lazarus from dying?"
And again Jesus was deeply troubled. Then they came to the grave. It was a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance.
"Roll the stone aside," Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man's sister, said, "Lord, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days."
Jesus responded, "Didn't I tell you that you will see God's glory if you believe?"
So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me.
You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me."
Then Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!"
And Lazarus came out, bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him go!"
Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.
But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together to discuss the situation. "What are we going to do?" they asked each other. "This man certainly performs many miraculous signs.
References for John 11:47
If we leave him alone, the whole nation will follow him, and then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation."
And one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, "How can you be so stupid?
Why should the whole nation be destroyed? Let this one man die for the people."
This prophecy that Jesus should die for the entire nation came from Caiaphas in his position as high priest. He didn't think of it himself; he was inspired to say it.
It was a prediction that Jesus' death would be not for Israel only, but for the gathering together of all the children of God scattered around the world.
So from that time on the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus' death.
As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.
It was now almost time for the celebration of Passover, and many people from the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the cleansing ceremony before the Passover began.
They wanted to see Jesus, and as they talked in the Temple, they asked each other, "What do you think? Will he come for the Passover?"
Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly announced that anyone seeing Jesus must report him immediately so they could arrest him.