John  ◦   Chapter 11

1Now Lazarus, a man from Bethany and the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick.2(His sister Mary is the one who would pour expensive perfume on the Lord Jesus and then wipe his feet with her hair.) Jesus was their friend,3so the sisters sent word to him, "Lord, Lazarus — your dear friend — is sick."

4When Jesus heard the news, he said, "Don't worry, this sickness will not end in death. It is permitted so that God's gracious character of healing love may be manifested through God's Son–so that all can see that God's Son is the source of life and health."5Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus dearly,6yet after he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.

7Then he said to his disciples, "Let's go back to Judea."

8But the disciples were afraid, and said, "Teacher, the Jewish authorities just recently tried to stone you. You aren't serious about going back there, are you?"

9Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of light each day? A person who travels during the day will not stumble, because they can see where they are going.10It is when traveling at night that one stumbles and falls, as they can no longer see. A person must follow the truth wherever it leads, and do what is right because it is right, and then they will no longer stumble. It is by ignoring the truth, practicing deceit, and choosing selfishness over what is right that the mind is darkened and the life shipwrecked."

11After saying this, he told them, "Our friend Lazarus has now fallen asleep; it is time for me to go there and wake him up."

12His disciples said, "Then there is no need to worry, Lord. If he is resting, he will recover. We don't need to go and risk harassment by the Jewish authorities."13They did not understand that Jesus was speaking of Lazarus' death and was describing death as a sleep; they thought he meant a physiological sleep.

14So Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is asleep in death,15and because I care about you, and want your confidence and trust in me to grow, I am glad I was not there. Had I been there, he could not have fallen asleep in death; but now you will see the crowning evidence that I am all that I have claimed to be. So let us go to him.

16Then Thomas (also known as Didymus), failing to understand what Christ was trying to reveal to them, said to the rest of the disciples, "Well, if he's bound and determined to die, let us go with him that we can all die together."

17When Jesus arrived, he was told that Lazarus had already been buried in the tomb for four days.18Because Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,19many Jews had come to Mary and Martha to comfort them during their mourning.20When Martha heard that Jesus was near, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, I know my brother would not have died.22But I know that even now God will do whatever you ask of him."

23Jesus gently said to her, "Don't be sad. Your brother will awaken from this sleep of death."

24Martha answered, "I know he will awaken at the resurrection at the last day."

25Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection from death and the source of all life. Whoever trusts in me will be healed and live, even though they fall asleep in death;26and whoever is alive and believes in me will never cease to live. Do you believe this?"

27"Yes, Lord," she proclaimed. "I believe you are the Christ — the Son of God — who has come into the world from God to heal and restore the world."

28And after Martha had professed her confidence in Christ, she went and found her sister, Mary, and said to her, "The Teacher is here and is asking for you."29When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.30Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had spoken with him.31When the Jews who had been comforting Mary noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to mourn.

32When Mary reached Jesus, she ran to him and fell down at his feet, weeping as she said, "Oh Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

33When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her also crying, he realized they did not comprehend his mission, and his heart was moved in compassion and sadness for them.34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.

35Then Jesus wept, because he was here to vanquish death but no one recognized it.

36The Jews didn't realize that Jesus was about to awaken Lazarus from the sleep of death, and naively thought he was mourning him, and said, "See how he loved him!"

37But some of them said, "If he could heal a blind man whom he didn't even know, why couldn't he keep his close friend from dying?"

38Jesus, once more deeply moved with compassion for the people whose heartache and fear were magnified by their failure to understand his true nature, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.39"Remove the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said the dead man's sister, Martha, "it has been four days, and in this heat, there will be a terrible smell."

40Then Jesus said gently yet firmly, "Did I not tell you that if you have confidence and trust in me, you would see the true life-giving power of God's loving character?"

41Without further hesitation, they removed the stone. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me.42I know that you always hear me, but I say this out loud so that all the people standing here may know that you sent me, and that what I do reveals you; and that their trust may grow."

43After he had said this, Jesus called in a clear and loud voice, "Lazarus, arise and come forth!"44Then the dead man arose from the dead and came out, with his hands and feet still wrapped in the grave clothes, and his face also covered with a cloth. Jesus instructed them, "Take off the burial clothes and set him free."

45Many of the Jews who were there, visiting Mary, were stunned with awe and amazement when they saw what Jesus did, and they put their trust in him.46But some of them refused to change their attitude toward Jesus, and went to the Pharisees and reported what he had done.47Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin to strategize how to deal with him. "What good are all our words and rules, and our criticism of Jesus?" they asked. "We are having no impact. We have words, but this man is performing numerous miraculous signs, and his popularity is rising.48If we don't do something to stop this, everyone will stop listening to us and follow him, and then the Romans will have no further use for us and we will lose our position and power, and possibly–our nation."

49Then the high priest, named Caiaphas, spoke up: "You fools! You don't know anything.50Don't you realize–for our own sake–it is better for one man to die in order to save the people, rather than the entire nation be lost?"

51He did not realize the full meaning of his words, but spoke them in accordance with the Spirit of God, prophesying that Jesus would die as the Remedy for sin;52and not just for the Jewish nation, but as the Remedy for the entire world–for everyone who values God's methods and principles.53From that day on, they laid plans to kill Jesus.

54Therefore Jesus withdrew from public discourse and stayed with his disciples in a village called Ephraim, near a desert.

55When the time for the Jewish Passover was near, large crowds went to Jerusalem for their symbolic cleansing before the Feast.56They were eagerly looking for Jesus, and kept asking one another, "Do you think Jesus will come to the Feast? Where do you think he is?"57But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it at once so they could arrest him.