John 11

Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life the fountain of life and the head and author of the resurrection. Whoever, during life, lives by faith in Him, is born again to a heavenly life, and though the body die, yet shall it live again at His word.

1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

47 ¶ Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

55 ¶ And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.

56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?

57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

John 11:1-16 – ​Jesus Faces Death for His Friend

   Sickness enters homes even where God is honored and loved. It is permitted because it affords an opportunity and platform for His delivering help. We should see to it that the Son of God is glorified in our physical weakness, either because of our patience and fortitude, which are ministered by His Spirit, or by the deliverances which He grants. See II Corinthians 12:1-9.
   There is a special emphasis on therefore in John 11:6. Christ lingered because He loved. He allowed the worse to go to the worst, that the sisters (and the world through them) might receive a testimony to His saving power, which could be obtained at no less cost than their brother’s death, John 11:9. As long as the heart is bathed in the light of God’s presence and is conscious of living on His plan, it cannot be mistaken in its decisions and it will not stumble. Our Lord knew that He must go to Bethany, and that He would be safe, because the hour of night had not arrived.
   Since Jesus came to us, death has become a mere shadow of its former self and is to be dreaded no more than sleep. Had the Lord been beside His dying friend, He could not have forborne the entreaty of the sisters, but now there was room for a faith-compelling miracle on His part. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 11:6

​   And so, the silence of God was itself an answer. It is not merely said that there was no audible response to the cry from Bethany; it is distinctly stated that the absence of an audible response was itself that answer to the cry – it was when the Lord heard that Lazarus was sick that therefore He abode two days still in the same place where He was. I have often heard the outward silence. A hundred times have I sent up aspirations whose only answer has seemed to be the echo of my own voice, and I have cried out in the night of my despair, “Why art thou so far from helping me?” (Psalm 22:1). But I never thought that the seeming farness was itself the nearness of God – that the very silence was an answer. It was a very grand answer to the household of Bethany. They had asked not too much, but too little. They had asked only the life of Lazarus; they were to get the life of Lazarus and a revelation of eternal life as well.
   There are some prayers which are followed by a Divine silence because we are not yet ripe for all we have asked; there are others which are so followed because we are ripe for more. We do not always know the full strength of our own capacity; we have to be prepared for receiving greater blessings than we have ever dreamed of. We come to the door of the sepulchre and beg with tears the dead body of Jesus; we are answered by silence because we are to get something better – a living Lord.
   My soul, be not afraid of God’s silence; it is another form of His voice; God’s silence is more than man’s speech; God’s negative is better than the world’s affirmation. Have thy prayers been followed only by a calm stillness: Well, and is not that God’s voice – voice that will suffice thee in the meantime till the full disclosure come? Has He moved not from His place to help thee? Well, but His stillness makes thee still, and He has something better than help to give thee. Wait for Him in the silence, and ere long it shall become vocal; death shall be swallowed up in victory. (George Matheson)

​John 11:9 – The very fact of a Christian being here, and not in heaven, is a proof that some work awaits him. (Arnot)

John 11:11 – Jesus called Lazarus His friend, – blessed title, glorious privilege, friend of Jesus! Am I His friend? He gives us the test (John 15:14), – “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” His command is, Trust Me, love Me, serve Me. Do I obey this? Then I am Jesus’ friend, and still more, He is my friend. This friendship is a treasure neither time nor chance, men nor devils, life nor death can take away. Let us not imagine Christ is not our friend because we suffer. He allowed Lazarus to die, yet we are told, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Jesus’ friends now on earth may all die, may all sleep; but He has not forgotten them. One day He will say to the angels: “My friends sleep, but I go to awake them.” Then “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). (E.H. Harding)

John 11:17-27 – ​Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

   His step may linger, but Jesus comes at length. While He seems to tarry, He knows each sigh, pang, and tear that escapes from the sufferer and His friends; and when He arrives He does more than we asked or thought. He raises not the sick, but the dead. He makes the darkness of the tomb the background to set forth the resurrection glory. He turns tears into jewels, as the sun does with dewdrops. In after days the three would not have wished it otherwise. They would review it all, as we shall our life from the hilltops of heavenly glory, with the cry of “Amen, Hallelujah.” Amen, the reverent assent of the will. Hallelujah, the glad ascription of praise, John 11:25. If we die before His second advent, we shall still live; if we live to see it, we shall be changed in a moment into His likeness.
   Note that majestic consciousness of I AM, John 11:25. None ever spoke like this. It is the crown of the eight I AMs of this Gospel. He is unchangeably the same. All who have lived are living still in Him. When you stand by the grave where your cherished hopes lie buried, still dare to affirm that He is the Christ, the expression of the love of God. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 11:28-35 – ​The Sympathy of Jesus

   It is not to be wondered at that the sisters and their friends wept as they stood beside the grave; but why did Jesus weep? He knew what He had come to do. He had come for the express purpose of turning their tears into joy. He wept for human frailty—that man’s life is an handbreadth and his years as a tale that is told. He wept in sympathy with human sorrow, because He realized that the scene in which He was taking part was a sample of myriads more. He groaned, as in John 11:33, as He beheld the evidences of death’s grim power. Death had entered the world with man’s sin, and Jesus felt the wrongfulness of Satan’s usurpation. The anarchy that had invaded human life stirred His soul to its lowest depths. The wrong under which man bled wrought in Him an anger which was without sin. He still stands among our groups of mourners, touched with the feeling of their sorrow, but they are not tears of weak sentiment, but of a noble pathos that hastens to help with a divine sufficiency. It has also been suggested that Jesus wept because He was calling a soul back from the land of glory to sojourn once more in the garments of mortality. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 11:36-44 – ​Victory over Death

   1. The Lord had been praying about this matter before He came to the grave: “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.” Notice that past tense. Perhaps He had done so when He first received the news of Lazarus’ sickness. He had prayed and had received the assurance that His prayer was answered. When He started back across the Jordan, it was with the full assurance that Lazarus would be raised to life.
   2. He was conscious, also, of a life of unceasing prayer. There was unbroken and constant co-operation between Him and the Father. He always did the things that pleased God and God was always answering Him. This, also, might be our constant experience.
   3. Christ made this prayer that those who stood around, as they saw the effect of prayer, should understand that prayer alone can work great miracles, which become the credentials of Christ, and of all who love and obey Him. His people similarity can do great miracles, as missionaries, Christian workers, and philanthropists. —Through the Bible Day by Day

John 11:40—Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

​   Yes, we shall see the glory of God. We shall see the graves give up their dead—not only at the last day, but now. Thousands around us are dead in trespasses and sins, in which they walk according to the course of this world. Alas! more than this, they stink in the putridity of their lives and speech. Around their graves gather their friends and relatives, bathed in tears, but unable to arrest the progress of decay. But, if we will believe, we shall see the glory of God.
   But how shall we believe for this? It seems easy for some to believe. The Marys who sit at the Lord’s feet, feeding on his words, find the life and light of faith in his beloved presence. But others, like Martha, are distracted with so many things, that faith seems impossible. And this is the very point where this story is so abundantly helpful. Jesus must have the co-operation and sympathy of some one’s faith before this miracle could be wrought—and these He found, not in Mary, as we might have expected, but in Martha, the harassed housewife.
   In educating Martha to this stupendous act of faith, (1) The Lord gave her a distinct promise (v. 23): “Thy brother shall rise again.” (2) He drew her attention from his words to Himself, who lay beneath and behind them (v. 25): “I am the resurrection, and the life.” (3) He forced her to confess her faith. To express it would confirm and increase it (v. 26): “Believest thou this?” (4) He compelled her to act on the faith, He had created, by allowing the bystanders to remove the stone. All her soul woke up as she remarked these preparations for her brother’s resurrection. She believed; and in her faith gave the Lord the pivot on which his leverage might rest. —Our Daily Homily

John 11:45-57 – ​The Innocent for the Guilty

   The friends of the family who had come to lament with them, were disposed toward Jesus and believed; but the mere spectators hastened with the news, to inflame the hatred of the Pharisees. The Romans dreaded the power acquired by permanent office, and often exchanged one high priest for another. Hence the expression, being the high priest that same year. By his vote Caiaphas may be said to have appointed and sacrificed his victim, who in that memorable year was to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. See Daniel 9:24, 27.
   Caiaphas professed to fear that Jesus would presently gain such an ascendency over the people as to lead a revolt against Rome, which would cause a deluge of blood in which the whole nation would perish. Therefore he recommended that they should compass the death of Jesus. But, as the evangelist puts it, he spoke more widely and truly than he knew, because the death of Jesus is gathering into one the children of God who are scattered abroad—that is, the heathen who were living up to their light, as in John 10:16—that of the twain He might make one new man. —Through the Bible Day by Day