John 11:11

11 After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus 1has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him."

John 11:11 Meaning and Commentary

John 11:11

These things said he
In answer to his disciples, and made a pause.

And after that he saith unto them, our friend Lazarus sleepeth;
meaning, that he was dead; in which sense the word is often used in the Old Testament, and in the common dialect of the Jews, and frequently in their writings; and especially it is so used of good men: and it is an observation of theirs F2, that

``it is usual to say of the righteous, that there is no death in them, (hnyv ala) , "but sleep";''

(See Gill on Matthew 9:24), (See Gill on 1 Corinthians 15:18), (See Gill on 1 Corinthians 15:20), (See Gill on 1 Thessalonians 4:13), (See Gill on 1 Thessalonians 4:14);

but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep;
that is, to raise him from the dead, for, the resurrection of the dead is expressed by awaking; see ( Psalms 17:15 ) ( Isaiah 26:19 ) ( Daniel 12:2 ) ; which for Christ to do, was as easy as to awake a man out of natural sleep: these words respecting Lazarus's sleeping and awaking, express both the omniscience and omnipotence of Christ; his omniscience, that he should know that Lazarus was dead; when at such a distance from him; and his omnipotence, that he could raise him from the dead; and yet his great modesty to signify it in, such covert language, though not difficult to be understood.


F2 Gloss in T. Hieros. Celaim in En Yaacob, fol. 4. 4.

John 11:11 In-Context

9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
11 After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him."
12 The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover."
13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep.

Cross References 1

  • 1. See Matthew 27:52
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.