John 11


John 11:1

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

Lazarus of Bethany was a dear friend of Jesus (John 11:3, 36). His name means God has helped, and God helped him indeed (John 11:43-44). After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many people became believers. This angered the chief priests and they plotted to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (John 12:9-11).


John 11:3

So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

Love. The original word is the verb phileo which means fondness or affection. Jesus was fond of Lazarus and considered him a close friend (John 11:36).


John 11:9

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.

The Light of Life. Adam’s fallen race lives in the valley of the shadow of death. Into this dark valley comes Jesus with the bright and shining revelation that God offers us a new life.


John 11:11

This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.”

(a) Our friend Lazarus. Lazarus of Bethany was a dear friend of Jesus (John 11:3, 36).

(b) Has fallen asleep. Lazarus had died (John 11:14).


John 11:16

Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”

Didymus means “the Twin.” Thomas had a sibling about whom we know nothing.


John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,

The life. Two kinds of life are described in the Bible; the psuche– or soul life we inherited from Adam and the zoe– or spirit life that comes from God (John 5:26). It’s the second kind of life that is described here. See entry for New Life.


John 11:36

So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!”

He loved him. The original word (phileo) is a verb which means fondness or affection. It was obvious to the people of Bethany that Jesus loved Lazarus as a dear friend.


John 11:47

Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.

(a) A council. In Matthew’s account it is the chief priests and the elders who plot to kill Jesus (Matt. 26:3). This plot involved the whole ruling council or Sanhedrin (see entry for Matt. 26:59), with only a few dissenters (Luke 23:50-51).

(b) Many signs. Jesus had performed miracles since the beginning of his ministry, but it was the raising of Lazarus that encouraged many to believe in him (John 11:45).


John 11:54

Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.

Went away from there. Jesus had been in Bethany near Jerusalem (John 11:18). He did not leave because his enemies were plotting to kill him (see previous verse), but because the time for his crucifixion had not yet come. For maximum impact, Jesus had to die at Passover when the city was full of pilgrims.


John 11:55

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves.

The Passover feast was celebrated on the evening preceding the weeklong festival of unleavened bread (Lev. 23:5-6). The feast involved the sacrifice of a lamb.


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