John 11

1 Now there was a certain [man] sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the village of Mary and Martha her sister.
2 It was [the] Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
3 The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4 But when Jesus heard [it], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When therefore he heard, He is sick, he remained two days then in the place where he was.
7 Then after this he says to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8 The disciples say to him, Rabbi, [even but] now the Jews sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again?
9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walk in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world;
10 but if any one walk in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
11 These things said he; and after this he says to them, Lazarus, our friend, is fallen asleep, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 The disciples therefore said to him, Lord, if he be fallen asleep, he will get well.
13 But Jesus spoke of his death, but *they* thought that he spoke of the rest of sleep.
14 Jesus therefore then said to them plainly, Lazarus has died.
15 And I rejoice on your account that I was not there, in order that ye may believe. But let us go to him.
16 Thomas therefore, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, Let *us* also go, that we may die with him.
17 Jesus therefore [on] arriving found him to have been four days already in the tomb.
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia off,
19 and many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, that they might console them concerning their brother.
20 Martha then, when she heard Jesus is coming, went to meet him; but Mary sat in the house.
21 Martha therefore said to Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died;
22 but even now I know, that whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee.
23 Jesus says to her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha says to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day.
25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes on me, though he have died, shall live;
26 and every one who lives and believes on me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She says to him, Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world.
28 And having said this, she went away and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, The teacher is come and calls thee.
29 She, when she heard [that], rises up quickly and comes to him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha came to meet him.
31 The Jews therefore who were with her in the house and consoling her, seeing Mary that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, She goes to the tomb, that she may weep there.
32 Mary therefore, when she came where Jesus was, seeing him, fell at his feet, saying to him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 Jesus therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled,
34 and said, Where have ye put him? They say to him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 The Jews therefore said, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this [man], who has opened the eyes of the blind [man], have caused that this [man] also should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore, again deeply moved in himself, comes to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus says, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead, says to him, Lord, he stinks already, for he is four days [there].
40 Jesus says to her, Did I not say to thee, that if thou shouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifted up his eyes on high and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me;
42 but I knew that thou always hearest me; but on account of the crowd who stand around I have said [it], that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And having said this, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And the dead came forth, bound feet and hands with graveclothes, and his face was bound round with a handkerchief. Jesus says to them, Loose him and let him go.
45 Many therefore of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what he had done, believed on him;
46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 The chief priests, therefore, and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many signs.
48 If we let him thus alone, all will believe on him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.
49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, Ye know nothing
50 nor consider that it is profitable for you that one man die for the people, and not that the whole nation perish.
51 But this he did not say of himself; but, being high priest that year, prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation;
52 and not for the nation only, but that he should also gather together into one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
53 From that day therefore they took counsel that they might kill him.
54 Jesus therefore walked no longer openly among the Jews, but went away thence into the country near the desert, to a city called Ephraim, and there he sojourned with the disciples.
55 But the passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the passover, that they might purify themselves.
56 They sought therefore Jesus, and said among themselves, standing in the temple, What do ye think? that he will not come to the feast?
57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandment that if any one knew where he was, he should make it known, that they might take him.

Images for John 11

John 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

The sickness of Lazarus. (1-6) Christ returns to Judea. (7-10) The death of Lazarus. (11-16) Christ arrives at Bethany. (17-32) He raises Lazarus. (33-46) The Pharisees consult against Jesus. (47-53) The Jews seek for him. (54-57)

Verses 1-6 It is no new thing for those whom Christ loves, to be sick; bodily distempers correct the corruption, and try the graces of God's people. He came not to preserve his people from these afflictions, but to save them from their sins, and from the wrath to come; however, it behoves us to apply to Him in behalf of our friends and relatives when sick and afflicted. Let this reconcile us to the darkest dealings of Providence, that they are all for the glory of God: sickness, loss, disappointment, are so; and if God be glorified, we ought to be satisfied. Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. The families are greatly favoured in which love and peace abound; but those are most happy whom Jesus loves, and by whom he is beloved. Alas, that this should seldom be the case with every person, even in small families. God has gracious intentions, even when he seems to delay. When the work of deliverance, temporal or spiritual, public or personal, is delayed, it does but stay for the right time.

Verses 7-10 Christ never brings his people into any danger but he goes with them in it. We are apt to think ourselves zealous for the Lord, when really we are only zealous for our wealth, credit, ease, and safety; we have therefore need to try our principles. But our day shall be lengthened out, till our work is done, and our testimony finished. A man has comfort and satisfaction while in the way of his duty, as set forth by the word of God, and determined by the providence of God. Christ, wherever he went, walked in the day; and so shall we, if we follow his steps. If a man walks in the way of his heart, and according to the course of this world, if he consults his own carnal reasonings more than the will and glory of God, he falls into temptations and snares. He stumbles, because there is no light in him; for light in us is to our moral actions, that which light about us to our natural actions.

Verses 11-16 Since we are sure to rise again at the last, why should not the believing hope of that resurrection to eternal life, make it as easy for us to put off the body and die, as it is to put off our clothes and go to sleep? A true Christian, when he dies, does but sleep; he rests from the labours of the past day. Nay, herein death is better than sleep, that sleep is only a short rest, but death is the end of earthly cares and toils. The disciples thought that it was now needless for Christ to go to Lazarus, and expose himself and them. Thus we often hope that the good work we are called to do, will be done by some other hand, if there be peril in the doing of it. But when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, many were brought to believe on him; and there was much done to make perfect the faith of those that believed. Let us go to him; death cannot separate from the love of Christ, nor put us out of the reach of his call. Like Thomas, in difficult times Christians should encourage one another. The dying of the Lord Jesus should make us willing to die whenever God calls us.

Verses 17-32 Here was a house where the fear of God was, and on which his blessing rested; yet it was made a house of mourning. Grace will keep sorrow from the heart, but not from the house. When God, by his grace and providence, is coming towards us in ways of mercy and comfort, we should, like Martha, go forth by faith, hope, and prayer, to meet him. When Martha went to meet Jesus, Mary sat still in the house; this temper formerly had been an advantage to her, when it put her at Christ's feet to hear his word; but in the day of affliction, the same temper disposed her to melancholy. It is our wisdom to watch against the temptations, and to make use of the advantages of our natural tempers. When we know not what in particular to ask or expect, let us refer ourselves to God; let him do as seemeth him good. To enlarge Martha's expectations, our Lord declared himself to be the Resurrection and the Life. In every sense he is the Resurrection; the source, the substance, the first-fruits, the cause of it. The redeemed soul lives after death in happiness; and after the resurrection, both body and soul are kept from all evil for ever. When we have read or heard the word of Christ, about the great things of the other world, we should put it to ourselves, Do we believe this truth? The crosses and comforts of this present time would not make such a deep impression upon us as they do, if we believed the things of eternity as we ought. When Christ our Master comes, he calls for us. He comes in his word and ordinances, and calls us to them, calls us by them, calls us to himself. Those who, in a day of peace, set themselves at Christ's feet to be taught by him, may with comfort, in a day of trouble, cast themselves at his feet, to find favour with him.

Verses 33-46 Christ's tender sympathy with these afflicted friends, appeared by the troubles of his spirit. In all the afflictions of believers he is afflicted. His concern for them was shown by his kind inquiry after the remains of his deceased friend. Being found in fashion as a man, he acts in the way and manner of the sons of men. It was shown by his tears. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Tears of compassion resemble those of Christ. But Christ never approved that sensibility of which many are proud, while they weep at mere tales of distress, but are hardened to real woe. He sets us an example to withdraw from scenes of giddy mirth, that we may comfort the afflicted. And we have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. It is a good step toward raising a soul to spiritual life, when the stone is taken away, when prejudices are removed, and got over, and way is made for the word to enter the heart. If we take Christ's word, and rely on his power and faithfulness, we shall see the glory of God, and be happy in the sight. Our Lord Jesus has taught us, by his own example, to call God Father, in prayer, and to draw nigh to him as children to a father, with humble reverence, yet with holy boldness. He openly made this address to God, with uplifted eyes and loud voice, that they might be convinced the Father had sent him as his beloved Son into the world. He could have raised Lazarus by the silent exertion of his power and will, and the unseen working of the Spirit of life; but he did it by a loud call. This was a figure of the gospel call, by which dead souls are brought out of the grave of sin: and of the sound of the archangel's trumpet at the last day, with which all that sleep in the dust shall be awakened, and summoned before the great tribunal. The grave of sin and this world, is no place for those whom Christ has quickened; they must come forth. Lazarus was thoroughly revived, and returned not only to life, but to health. The sinner cannot quicken his own soul, but he is to use the means of grace; the believer cannot sanctify himself, but he is to lay aside every weight and hinderance. We cannot convert our relatives and friends, but we should instruct, warn, and invite them.

Verses 47-53 There can hardly be a more clear discovery of the madness that is in man's heart, and of its desperate enmity against God, than what is here recorded. Words of prophecy in the mouth, are not clear evidence of a principle of grace in the heart. The calamity we seek to escape by sin, we take the most effectual course to bring upon our own heads; as those do who think by opposing Christ's kingdom, to advance their own worldly interest. The fear of the wicked shall come upon them. The conversion of souls is the gathering of them to Christ as their ruler and refuge; and he died to effect this. By dying he purchased them to himself, and the gift of the Holy Ghost for them: his love in dying for believers should unite them closely together.

Verses 54-57 Before our gospel passover we must renew our repentance. Thus by a voluntary purification, and by religious exercises, many, more devout than their neighbours, spent some time before the passover at Jerusalem. When we expect to meet God, we must solemnly prepare. No devices of man can alter the purposes of God: and while hypocrites amuse themselves with forms and disputes, and worldly men pursue their own plans, Jesus still orders all things for his own glory and the salvation of his people.

Footnotes 10

  • [a]. Or 'But [the] Mary was she who,' &c.
  • [b]. Phileo, as ver. 36; chs. 5.20; 12.25; 15.19; 16.27; 20.2: see Note, ch. 21.15.
  • [c]. Agapao, as ch. 3.35.
  • [d]. Or 'twin.'
  • [e]. About two miles.
  • [f]. Aiteo: see Note a, ch. 14.16.
  • [g]. See ch. 4.14.
  • [h]. Tarasso; or 'shuddered,' as ch. 12.27; 13.21.
  • [i]. Lit. 'shed tears;' only used here; not as Luke 19.41, &c.
  • [j]. Or 'groaned.' Elsewhere only in Matt. 9.30; Mark 1.43; 14.5, translated, 'sharply charged,' 'spoke very angrily.' Here it was inward feeling (in spirit) produced by the deep pain caused by seeing the power of death over the human spirit. There was so far indignation that there was deep antagonism to the power of evil and Satan in death. It may be 'groaned' is the best word.

John 11 Commentaries