John 11

Listen to John 11

The Death of Lazarus

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of 1Mary and her sister Martha.
2 2It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill.
3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, 3he whom you love is ill."
4 But when Jesus heard it he said, 4"This illness does not lead to death. It is for 5the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
5 Now 6Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6 So, when he heard that Lazarus[a] was ill, 7he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
7 Then after this he said to the disciples, 8"Let us go to Judea again."
8 The disciples said to him, 9"Rabbi, 10the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?"
9 Jesus answered, 11"Are there not twelve hours in the day? 12If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
10 But 13if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not 14in him."
11 After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus 15has 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.
14 Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died,
15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
16 16So Thomas, called the Twin,[b] said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, 17that we may die with him."

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb 18four days.
18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles[c] off,
19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary 19to console them concerning their brother.
20 20So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.
21 Martha said to 21Jesus, "Lord, 22if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, 23God will give you."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24 24Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in 25the resurrection on the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, 26"I am the resurrection and 27the life.[d] Whoever believes in me, 28though he die, 29yet shall he live,
26 and everyone who lives and believes in me 30shall never die. Do you believe this?"
27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord; 31I believe that 32you are the Christ, the Son of God, 33who is coming into the world."

Jesus Weeps

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, 34"The Teacher is here and is calling for you."
29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.
31 When the Jews 35who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, 36"Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he 37was deeply moved in his spirit and 38greatly troubled.
34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see."
35 39Jesus wept.
36 So the Jews said, "See 40how he loved him!"
37 But some of them said, "Could not he 41who opened the eyes of the blind man 42also have kept this man from dying?"

Jesus Raises Lazarus

38 Then Jesus, 43deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was 44a cave, and 45a stone lay against it.
39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for 46he has been dead four days."
40 Jesus said to her, 47"Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see 48the glory of God?"
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus 49lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42 50I knew that you always hear me, but I said this 51on account of the people standing around, 52that they may believe that you sent me."
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out."
44 53The man who had died came out, 54his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and 55his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 56Many of the Jews therefore, 57who had come with Mary and 58had seen what he did, believed in him,
46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees 59gathered 60the Council and said, 61"What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.
48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and 62the Romans will come and take away both our 63place and our nation."
49 But one of them, 64Caiaphas, 65who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all.
50 Nor do you understand that 66it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish."
51 He did not say this of his own accord, but 67being high priest that year 68he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
52 and 69not for the nation only, but also 70to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
53 So from that day on they 71made plans to put him to death.
54 Jesus therefore 72no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.
55 Now 73the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and 74many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover 75to purify themselves.
56 76They were looking for[e] Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?"
57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

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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.

Cross References 76

  • 1. See Luke 10:38, 39
  • 2. John 12:3
  • 3. ver. 5, 11, 36
  • 4. [ver. 11; Matthew 9:24]
  • 5. ver. 40; [John 9:3; John 13:31]
  • 6. ver. 3
  • 7. [John 2:4; John 7:6, 8]
  • 8. John 10:40
  • 9. See John 1:38
  • 10. John 8:59; John 10:31
  • 11. [Luke 13:33]
  • 12. See John 9:4; 1 John 2:10
  • 13. Jeremiah 13:16
  • 14. Jeremiah 13:16
  • 15. See Matthew 27:52
  • 16. John 14:5; John 20:24, 26-28; John 21:2; Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13
  • 17. [John 13:37]
  • 18. ver. 39
  • 19. ver. 31; Job 2:11
  • 20. [Luke 10:38, 39]
  • 21. ver. 32
  • 22. [ver. 37]
  • 23. [ver. 42; John 9:31]
  • 24. [ver. 39]
  • 25. John 5:29; Luke 14:14; See John 6:39
  • 26. [John 5:21; John 6:40, 44; 1 Corinthians 15:21]
  • 27. John 14:6; [John 6:57; Colossians 3:4]; See John 1:4
  • 28. [John 12:25]
  • 29. See John 3:36
  • 30. John 6:50, 51; John 8:51
  • 31. John 6:69; John 20:31; 1 John 5:1, 5; [John 8:24; John 13:19; 1 John 4:16]
  • 32. Matthew 16:16
  • 33. John 6:14; See Matthew 11:3
  • 34. Matthew 26:18; Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11; See John 13:13
  • 35. ver. 19
  • 36. ver. 21
  • 37. ver. 38; Mark 14:5(Gk.)
  • 38. John 12:27; John 13:21
  • 39. [Luke 19:41]
  • 40. ver. 3
  • 41. John 9:6, 7
  • 42. [ver. 21, 32]
  • 43. ver. 33
  • 44. Isaiah 22:16
  • 45. John 20:1; Matthew 27:60; Mark 15:46; Luke 24:2
  • 46. ver. 17
  • 47. ver. 25, 26
  • 48. ver. 4; [Romans 6:4]
  • 49. John 17:1
  • 50. [ver. 22; Matthew 26:53]
  • 51. John 12:29, 30
  • 52. John 17:8, 21; See John 3:17
  • 53. John 5:28, 29
  • 54. John 19:40
  • 55. [John 20:7]
  • 56. John 12:11; [Acts 9:42]
  • 57. ver. 19
  • 58. John 2:23
  • 59. See Matthew 26:3
  • 60. See Matthew 5:22
  • 61. John 12:19; [Acts 4:16]
  • 62. [John 6:15; John 18:36, 37]
  • 63. Acts 21:28
  • 64. See Matthew 26:3
  • 65. ver. 51; John 18:13
  • 66. John 18:14
  • 67. ver. 49
  • 68. [Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 23:9; 1 Samuel 30:7; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65]
  • 69. Isaiah 49:6; 1 John 2:2
  • 70. See John 10:16
  • 71. See John 7:1
  • 72. John 7:1, 4
  • 73. See John 6:4
  • 74. Luke 2:42
  • 75. 2 Chronicles 30:17, 18; [John 18:28; Acts 21:24]
  • 76. See John 7:11

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Greek he; also verse 17
  • [b]. Greek Didymus
  • [c]. Greek fifteen stadia; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters
  • [d]. Some manuscripts omit and the life
  • [e]. Greek were seeking for

John 11 Commentaries