Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
John 11

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

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Verse 1

Joh 11:1

John 11:1

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister Martha.—Mary and Martha seem to have been better known than Lazarus They seem to have been prominent persons of the city. Bethany was on the east of Mount Olivet, a little less than two miles from Jerusalem. [John is the only one of the sacred writers that mentions the name of Lazarus, though his family is spoken of by Matthew, Mark, and Luke.]

Verses 1-16

Joh 11:1-16

The Death of Lazarus - John 11:1-16

Open It

1. What polite phrases do we use to describe death?

2. *When has someone you’ve known died unexpectedly?

Explore It

3. What was wrong with Lazarus? (John 11:1)

4. To whom was Lazarus related? (John 11:2)

5. How did Jesus get word about Lazarus? (John 11:3)

6. *Why did Jesus say Lazarus was sick? (John 11:4)

7. What did Jesus do when He heard about Lazarus? (John 11:6)

8. Why did Jesus’ disciples respond negatively to Jesus’ plan to return to Judea? (John 11:7-8)

9. How did Jesus answer His disciples’ hesitancy about returning to Judea? (John 11:9-10)

10. What did Jesus say had happened to Lazarus? (John 11:11)

11. *How did the disciples misunderstand Jesus? (John 11:12)

12. What did Jesus mean when he used the word "sleeping"? (John 11:13-14)

13. *Why did Jesus say that He was glad He wasn’t with Lazarus? (John 11:15)

14.What melancholic suggestion did Thomas make? (John 11:16)

Get It

15. How would you respond if you heard that a good friend was very sick?

16. *When have you thought you had a better plan for your life than the one God was working out?

17. In what way has God used sickness in your life or the life of another to bring someone to Himself?

18. Why would God choose to use sickness to bring someone to Himself?

19. What shortcoming or disability in your life has God chosen to use to draw others to Himself?

20. *How would you respond differently from the way Jesus did if you heard that a good friend had died?

21. When have you felt that you had to perform a task regardless of the obstacles in your path?

22. What gave you the confidence to pursue a hard task that others strongly opposed?

23. When have you felt misunderstood by your friends or family?

Apply It

24. To what unfulfilled task that God has given you will you recommit yourself today?

25. *What shortcomings or weaknesses in your life will you give to God in prayer, that He may use them to bring glory to Himself?

Verse 2

Joh 11:2

John 11:2

And it was that Mary who anointed the Lord with oint­ment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.—This anointing is most likely that mentioned in chapter 12:1 which occurred after the raising of Lazarus, but this was written by John after that occurred and he refers to it to distinguish this Mary from other Marys mentioned in connection with Jesus. [There was Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Mark, and Mary the wife of Cleophas.]

Verse 3

Joh 11:3

John 11:3

The sisters therefore sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.—There seems to have been no effort upon the part of Jesus or of the sacred writers to con­ceal the special love that Jesus had for this family, for the apostles, and for John above others of his followers and friends. Jesus is absent at this time in Bethabara, and when Lazarus sickens, the minds of the sisters turn toward Jesus as one able to relieve in time of sickness. It was two days’ journey from Jerusalem to Bethabara. They appeal to the love Jesus bore to Lazarus to induce him to come to their relief. [The disease is not stated, but it proved fatal.]

Verse 4

Joh 11:4

John 11:4

But when Jesus heard it, he said, This sickness is not unto death,—[That is, death was not its object. It had been permitted for another reason as follows:]

but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glo­rified thereby.—Jesus made up his mind as to his course and so told his disciples that he would be glorified through this sickness. [Jesus was glorified through the manifestation of miraculous power in raising Lazarus from the dead as well as the lessons surrounding the case furnished.]

Verse 5

Joh 11:5

John 11:5

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.—Martha seems to have been the head of the household, pos­sibly from her energy and business habits. [Probably this explains why the sisters sent for him and that his delay in coming was not from indifference.]

Verse 6

Joh 11:6

John 11:6

When therefore he heard that he was sick, he abode at that time two days in the place where he was.—Jesus had often healed the sick, but had not raised one buried and time was given for the decay of the body to begin. He intends now to give an example of this so remains until he is dead and buried. [He did not allow personal sympathy and friendship to in­terfere with his work, so he did not hasten away. Then, too, the longer the interval between his burial and resurrection, the more convincing would the miracle be, and greater means to silence his enemies who might claim that Lazarus was not really dead. He left no room for doubt and a charge of fraud.]

Verse 7

Joh 11:7

John 11:7

Then after this he saith to the disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.—The matter had passed from the minds of the disciples as he had told them that his sickness was not unto death.

Verse 8

Joh 11:8

John 11:8

The disciples say unto him, Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?—When he speaks of returning to Judea, they do not seem to think of Lazarus, but of the danger to Jesus since the Jews sought to stone him at the feast of dedication, the time of his last visit. (John 10:31). [They did not want him to return to the locality of his enemies for fear they would stone him.]

Verse 9

Joh 11:9

John 11:9

Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.—To walk in the day here means to walk in the allotted time.

Verse 10

Joh 11:10

John 11:10

But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him.—If he walks after the time allotted for life passes, he will stumble and come to his end. [Jesus often expressed himself by simile as in this case. It means that he is not walking in darkness, but in light for the reason he knows what he is going to do. He is not stumbling in dark­ness. He is not groping in the night or walking uncertainly. He has a clear pathway on which the sun is shining. Whether it leads him to Judea, to Jerusalem, to his enemies, or to death, in either case he will walk in the light, for the reason all his purposes and plans are made out and he is walking accordingly. What was dark and mystified to the disciples was clear to him.]

Verse 11

Joh 11:11

John 11:11

These things spake he: and after this he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.—He now directs their minds to Laza­rus and his affliction as causing him to return to Judea. Sleep is often used to represent death. [The term sleep is used as a symbol of death in scripture. (See 2 Chronicles 14:1; Psalms 13:3; Jeremiah 51:57; Job 14:12; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 27:52; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 1 Thessalonians 4:13).]

Verses 12-13

Joh 11:12-13

John 11:12-13

The disciples therefore said unto him, Lord, if he is fallen asleep, he will recover. Now Jesus had spoken of his death: but they thought that he spake of taking rest in sleep.—His disciples took his language as literal, and to sleep in sickness rests the system and restores vigor. [They also took it that since Lazarus was resting well that his case was hope­ful, and lessens the Master’s reason for going into the com­munity where his enemies, who desired to stone him, would be. So they use the fact that Lazarus was sleeping as an argument for Jesus not going.]

Verses 14-15

Joh 11:14-15

John 11:14-15

Then Jesus therefore said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.—Jesus tells them plainly his condition and was glad that he was not there, as now he will have the opportunity of rais­ing him from the grave after the time for decay to set in, that they may see a more striking manifestation of God’s presence with and in him, and so their faith in him may grow stronger. [It is implied that if Jesus had been present, on account of the friendship existing between him and the fam­ily, he would have been constrained to restore his health. Such a miracle would be less effective than the one now to be performed in raising him from the dead. To raise one from the dead after he had been in the grave four days, and after decomposition began, was as great a manifestation of divine power as was in creating the world.]

Verse 16

Joh 11:16

John 11:16

Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said unto his fellow-disciples,—Thomas is Hebrew, Didymus is the corre­sponding name in Greek and means twin.

Let us also go, that we may die with him—The characters drawn in the scriptures always harmonize. Thomas was a doubting man that looked on the dark side and saw the diffi­culties that threatened. He anticipated the death of Jesus, but proposed to the other disciples to go with him and share his fate. Thomas was faithful to his Master, although an­ticipating the worst.

Verse 17

Joh 11:17

John 11:17

So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already.—Lazarus had died about the time the message of his sickness reached Jesus. He remained two days and spent two days in the journey, making four days from his death until the arrival of Jesus.

Verses 17-37

John 11:17-37

Jesus Comforts the Sisters - John 11:17-37

Open It

1. *What is one of your greatest disappointments in life?

2. In what different ways do people respond when a loved one dies?

Explore It

3. What did Jesus find when He arrived at Bethany? (John 11:17)

4. What did Mary and Martha do when they heard that Jesus was coming? (John 11:20)

5. *What did Martha say to Jesus about His having come after Lazarus had died? (John 11:21-22)

6. What did Jesus tell Martha Lazarus would do? (John 11:23)

7. How did Martha misunderstand Jesus? (John 11:24)

8. What did Martha and the others learn about Jesus’ identity? (John 11:25)

9. *What did Jesus say would happen to those who believed in Him? (John 11:26)

10. What belief did Martha express to Jesus? (John 11:27)

11. What did Martha tell Mary? (John 11:28)

12. What did Mary do after Martha told her Jesus was asking for her? (John 11:29)

13. Where did the Jews think Mary was going? (John 11:30-31)

14. How did Mary respond when she saw Jesus? (John 11:32)

15. What did Mary say to Jesus when He finally arrived? (John 11:32)

16. *How did Jesus respond to the weeping by Mary and the others? (John 11:33-35)

17. What question did some people have about what Jesus could have done? (John 11:37)

Get It

18. When has God’s response to your situation in life seemed untimely?

19. In what way do we sometimes second-guess God?

20. *When do we tend to second-guess God?

21. How and when has God disappointed you?

22. Why are we sometimes disappointed by God?

23. *How should we respond to disappointment?

24. When has God given you comfort in the middle of a sad time of life?

25. In what way is Jesus’ response to Lazarus’s death a model for us to follow?

Apply It

26. *What attitude of disappointment do you need to confess to God and change to trust in His sovereign control?

27. How can you be a comfort to a struggling or hurting believer this week?

Verse 18

Joh 11:18

John 11:18

Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off;—[A little less than two miles and located on the eastern slope of Mount Olivet.]

Verse 19

Joh 11:19

John 11:19

and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary,—Martha and Mary were known to and esteemed by many of the Jews in Jerusalem. The Jews, as most of the eastern nations, were demonstrative in their sorrow and made much show of mourning. The formal mourning lasted thirty days. The first three days were called the “days of weeping.”

to console them concerning their brother.—Their friends from Jerusalem came to sympathize and sorrow with them.

Verse 20

Joh 11:20

John 11:20

Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was com­ing, went and met him: but Mary still sat in the house.—Martha, the stirring active one of the sisters, naturally heard of the coming of Jesus first and went out to meet him. Mary, ignorant of his coming, sat in the house.

Verse 21

Joh 11:21

John 11:21

Martha therefore said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died—Jesus had healed many sick, and the thought first expressed was that if Jesus had been there before his death he could have saved him from death.

Verse 22

Joh 11:22

John 11:22

And even now I know that, whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee.—The thought occurred to her that even now he was able to restore him to life. We often accept a truth as a theory that we cannot realize in practice.

Verse 23

Joh 11:23

John 11:23

Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.—Jesus promptly assured her that her thoughts should be realized.

Verse 24

Joh 11:24

John 11:24

Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.—Martha, unable to fully be­lieve the promise, evasively says, “I know that he shall rise at the last day.” [All the Jews, except the Sadducees, looked forward to, and believed in, a resurrection. Mary was not a skeptic.]

Verse 25

Joh 11:25

John 11:25

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live;—It is through Christ that all shall rise. He will call them forth from the grave. [He means that he is the power which will open every grave, that will give life to every sleeper, and will call them forth from the tomb to a new existence, that the life that endows men with eternal being is in him and proceeds from him. In the light of his own resurrection, he means that when he opens the tomb he does it for all men and that they may have won the victory over death.]

Verse 26

Joh 11:26

John 11:26

and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this?—He here speaks of spiritual life and death. He who believes in Jesus shall never die spirit­ually. He saw Martha’s inability to realize the truths he was teaching, and pointedly asked if she believes his teaching.

Verse 27

Joh 11:27

John 11:27

She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even he that cometh into the world:—She confesses her faith in him as the Christ, but evades the expression of her faith in the resurrection. She accepted the theory, but found it difficult to accept the reality.

Verse 28

Joh 11:28

John 11:28

And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Teacher is here, and calleth thee.—Jesus failed to get a clear conception of him­self and of his proposed work of raising her brother and asked for Mary. So Martha notified Mary of the Master’s call.

Verse 29

Joh 11:29

John 11:29

And she, when she heard it, arose quickly, and went unto him.—Mary, less active and energetic in worldly affairs, was much devoted to the Master, and when his presence was made known to her she quickly responded without making it known to her company and went out to meet the Master.

Verse 30

Joh 11:30

John 11:30

(Now Jesus was not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met him).—Jesus had come from beyond Jordan, where John at first did baptize. (John 10:39-40). He heard of the sickness of Lazarus at Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, and had now come to the place, but was yet without the town where Martha had met him.

Verse 31

Joh 11:31

John 11:31

The Jews then who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going unto the tomb to weep there.—They thought she was going to the grave to give greater expression to her grief. Mary, less active and self-reliant, likely gave way to grief over the loss of her brother more than Martha did. A number of her Jewish friends were with her in the house to console and comfort her, and saw her rise up hastily and go out—not knowing that Martha had called for her—supposed she arose to go to the grave to weep so they followed her. In deep grief and sorrow, persons alone are liable to give way to excess that may work injury to them, so their friends dislike to leave them alone. The Jews followed Mary to console her.

Verse 32

Joh 11:32

John 11:32

Mary therefore, when she came where Jesus was, and saw him, fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.—Concentrating her feelings on the object of her grief when she saw Jesus, she fell on her face before him to worship him. Like Martha, the thought occurred to her that if Jesus had been there before the death of her brother, he had not died. She showed her reverence for him by falling at his feet upon her knees and “saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” She knew of his kindly feeling toward her brother and sister, of his power and willingness to heal sick­ness and relieve from suffering, and believed his love would have led him to heal her brother, so she said, if thou had been here, you could and would have healed him, that he had not died. This was the language of Martha when she met him. Mary gives no expression to a thought that he could raise him as Martha did, so he did not speak of the resurrec­tion to Mary as he did to Martha.

Verse 33

Joh 11:33

John 11:33

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,—Jesus was troubled at her excessive grief, and sympathized with the sisters and people and groaned in spirit out of deep sympathy for others. This is a character­istic trait of Jesus worthy of being kept in memory. Mary had less self-reliance and gave way to grief more than Martha did. Jesus had more than a human sympathy for human suffering and sorrow. God sympathizes with man, and the sympathy of Jesus was more tender and strong than any mere human sympathy can be; so, touched with the grief and sor­row of Mary and the Jews weeping with her, "he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” His sympathy for their sorrow disturbed his feelings.

Verse 34

Joh 11:34

John 11:34

and said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see.—He asked that he might go to the grave and call him forth. They showed him the grave, that he might see the place where one he loved was laid that he might look upon it with affection. But his purpose was fixed before he left beyond the Jordan.

Verse 35

Joh 11:35

John 11:35

Jesus wept.—[The shortest verse in the Bible, but one of the most touching. How precious those tears which assure the real, tender, loving, sympathizing humanity of Jesus in the very moment in which he is preparing to exert his omnip­otence !] This was an overflow of sympathy for the sorrow of the sisters. The grief and sorrow shown on this occasion must have grown out of sympathy for the grieving sisters, not from sorrow for the dead brother. He knew, even before he came that he was dead, and that he would raise him to life, and he was glad for the sake of his apostles that he was not there before he died. He had often shown his power to heal sickness. He now wishes to show his power to raise the dead—his power over death—“I am glad for your sakes . . . to the intent ye may believe.” (John 11:15). [Jesus had both sorrow and gladness in the death of his friend.] “This sick­ness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby.” (John 11:4) His weeping shows his kind sympathetic nature. He did not weep because Laz­arus was dead and he would see him no more, for he knew he would restore him to life, but in sympathy for the sorrows of others. Only on one other occasion is it said that Jesus wept, then he wept over wickedness and sins and consequent sorrow that must come upon the city of Jerusalem. (Luke 19:41-44). On Jerusalem God had bestowed his most abun­dant blessings and sought its good, but the Jews of the city had rejected him and brought upon themselves his direct curses.

Verse 36

Joh 11:36

John 11:36

The Jews therefore said, Behold how he loved him!—The Jews who saw his tears interpreted them as signs of his love for Lazarus.

Verse 37

Joh 11:37

John 11:37

But some of them said, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him that was blind, have caused that this man also should not die?—These Jews, although they did not be­lieve in and follow him, yet knew of the miracles and signs he had wrought on the afflicted and suffering. And it oc­curred to them, as it had to the sisters that he might have saved the man from death. All seemed to have recognized that it would require greater power to raise the dead than to heal one while yet alive.

Verse 38

Joh 11:38

John 11:38

Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it.—With deep sorrow of heart, he approached the grave, the mouth to which was closed by a heavy stone placed over it. Many of the Jewish burying places were caves in the rocky hill­side rather what we would call a vault than a grave.

Verses 38-44

Joh 11:38-44

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead - John 11:38-44

Open It

1. What do the people you know fear most in life?

2. *What sort of miracle would be the most spectacular to witness?

Explore It

3. How did Jesus feel when He went to Lazarus’s tomb? (John 11:38)

4. In what type of tomb was Lazarus buried? (John 11:38)

5. *What did Jesus tell the others to do? (John 11:39)

6. How did Martha respond to Jesus’ request? (John 11:39)

7. *How did Jesus show Martha the importance of her belief? (John 11:40)

8. What did Jesus do before He called to Lazarus? (John 11:41-42)

9. What did Jesus say to the Father? Why? (John 11:41-42)

10. *How did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? (John 11:43-44)

11. What did Lazarus do when Jesus called to him? (John 11:44)

12. What did Jesus tell the people to do? (John 11:44)

Get It

13. When have you been deeply moved?

14. Under what circumstances have you doubted the power of God?

15. *When have you had faith in God’s ability to work out an impossible situation?

16. *What is one miracle God has done in your life?

17. How does God show His glory to us?

18. In what way has God shown His glory to you?

19. In what way has God "raised you from the dead"?

20. If you had been there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, how do you think you might have responded?

Apply It

21. *What specific situation do you need to trust God to work out in your life?

22. For what "miracle" do you want to thank God today?

23. What can you do today so that others might believe in Jesus?

Verse 39

Joh 11:39

John 11:39

Jesus saith, Take ye away the stone.—Rock vaults were closed with large stones. The sepulcher in which the body of Jesus was placed was one the women could not move, and on the way to anoint his body were troubled to know who would remove the stone for them. Jesus saw it would take some power to remove this stone. He had the fixed purpose to raise him from the dead, and the removing of the stone was preliminary to it.

Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time the body decayeth; for he hath been dead four days.—Martha knew he had been dead long enough for decay to set in, and in her practical, direct way objected to opening the grave. He had been dead four days and in that time the body would be offensive. She took it for granted the common course of nature was followed, and to take away the stone would cause a stench offensive to those present, and unpleasant to be remembered of a beloved brother, so her practical common sense, coupled with her failure to believe Jesus would raise him from the dead, led her to oppose the removing of the stone from the grave.

Verse 40

Joh 11:40

John 11:40

Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God?—The raising of Lazarus could glorify and magnify God through him. So when he told Martha her brother should rise, he told her she should see the glory of God. He reminds her of his promise, and that what she expected to be fulfilled only at the resur­rection at the last day would be manifested now. He would raise Lazarus from the grave. This was not a resurrection to immortality. It was restoring him to temporal life to die again. But it showed his power over death and gave a strong assurance that he would call all the sleeping dead from the grave. “The hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” (John 5:28-29). This is a manifestation of that power, and it set forth the glory, the power, and the presence of God with Jesus. It showed his power over death.

Verse 41

Joh 11:41

John 11:41

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me.—Jesus had such assurance that God heard him that before the people knew his purpose, he in their hearing thanked God that he had heard him and would give life to the dead body. Jesus was one with God and did the will of God in all things. He knew then that God would hear him. In obedience to the command of Jesus the stone was taken away from the mouth of the cave in which the body was laid. There was something in the manner of Jesus that commanded the respect of those around him. Who did this we are not told, but it was likely the friends of Martha and Mary present. It may have been his disciples. When this was done, and the material obstacles to resurrection were removed, he then looked up to God. It is worthy of note that Jesus used miraculous power only when the result could not be effected by natural or ordinary means. He could have removed the stone by a miracle, but as this could be done by ordinary means, he did not exert extraordinary power to do it. Only when supernatural or extraordinary ends were to be accomplished did he use ex­traordinary power. The power used corresponded to the end to be accomplished. Jesus looked up to God as a declaration that all of his power came from him.

Verse 42

Joh 11:42

John 11:42

And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the multitude that standeth around I said it, that they may believe that thou didst send me.—He wished all to know that it was God who did through him what would be done that all might believe that he was sent of God. Jesus prayed only for the things that would bring honor and glory to God—only for those things that were well-pleasing to the Father. God always hears prayers that are made in accord with his will and for his honor and glory. “If any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” (John 9:31). Jesus gave to him a pure, holy, undivided worship, and did his will with faultless obedience. It was his meat and drink to do his Father’s will. He hungered to do his will as the hungry man desires to eat and drink. Doing the will of God brought strength to him as meat and drink bring strength to the weary. Jesus knew God would hear him at all times. “But because of the multitude that standeth around I said it.” That is, he wanted to let them know he raised the dead by the power of God, and that all might know that he was sent by God and spoke only the words of God, hence that the people might believe that God sent him.

Verse 43

Joh 11:43

John 11:43

And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.—After preparing them to understand what was about to be done, he called on Lazarus to come forth. He spoke these things that those who heard him might know God sent him, and his power was from God. Then he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” At the com­mand of Jesus life came into the dead body, and warmth and vigor flowed to the extremities. He arose and came forth from the grave. Jesus said, "The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25). This referred to the final resurrection from the dead. But this calling up of Lazarus required the same power, and he adopts the same means that will call the sleeping dead forth at the last day. The dead hear the voice, awake to life, and come forth. His loud speak­ing let all the people see the connection between his calling and the coming forth that they might know one produced the other. This shows what power is exerted through the word of God.

Verse 44

Joh 11:44

John 11:44

He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.—His body had been prepared for the grave as bodies usually were, so he came forth so clothed. Adam Clarke says: “This binding was with long strips of linen, in which the body was wrapped from head to foot, binding the arms close to the body and the legs and feet together.” The mummies found in the an­cient tombs are so swathed, leaving only the head and face exposed. One could rise and walk with difficulty thus wrapped up. So he walked but little until Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” This shows that he could walk but little, and with difficulty, while bound; and he could not well unloose himself, as his hands were bound to his body. Who unloosed him we do not know, but any would have gladly obeyed such directions. Probably it was the disciples. Those who thus handled him were made to realize more fully his resurrection, and could bear testimony that they handled him and took his grave-clothes off him. Jesus used human agencies where they could do the work. [Jesus just before his own death and burial and in the face of his enemies works a crown­ing miracle. He demonstrates that he is “the resurrection and the life.” It is worked under such circumstances that the most captious cannot question the reality of either the death or the resurrection.]

Verse 45

Joh 11:45

John 11:45

Many therefore of the Jews, who came to Mary and beheld that which he did, believed on him—It would seem singular that any who saw this could doubt, but saying that many believed shows that some did not. Those who followed Mary to the grave were present, and heard and saw what was said and done, and many of them believed on Jesus. The evidence was such that no honest-hearted man could doubt that Jesus was of God, that God was with him, and spoke and acted through him. The strange thing is that any should fail to believe on him.

Verses 45-57

Joh 11:45-57

The Plot to Kill Jesus - John 11:45-57

Open It

1. Without naming names, who is the most dishonest and self-serving person you’ve ever known?

2. *What examples of selfishness do you see in a typical day?

3. How do you deal with problem people in your life?

Explore It

4. How did many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary respond to Jesus’ miracle? (John 11:45)

5. Who was told about Jesus’ miracle? (John 11:46)

6. *What did the Sanhedrin fear? (John 11:47-48)

7. What did Caiaphas say about Jesus? (John 11:49-50)

8. *How did Caiaphas prophesy? (John 11:51-52)

9. What did the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin plot to do? (John 11:53)

10. How did Jesus respond to the Sanhedrin’s plot? (John 11:54)

11. Why did many people go to Jerusalem? (John 11:55)

12. For whom did the people in Jerusalem look? (John 11:56)

13. *What orders had the chief priests and Pharisees given to the people? (John 11:57)

Get It

14. *What motive other than ministry might people have for engaging in Christian service?

15. What personal ambitions might subvert the goal of serving God and others in Christian organizations?

16. When have you intentionally or unintentionally used the church to pursue your own agenda?

17. *Why is it so difficult to have pure and selfless motives in life?

18. How do you respond when your goals and your motives conflict with one another?

19. How might Christianity be challenged or threatened by Jesus if He were to come back today?

Apply It

20. How would you tell a self-centered person the gospel message?

21. *What self-centered motive will you ask God to help you change?

Verse 46

Joh 11:46

John 11:46

But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done.—The facts were told the Pharisees doubtless to see what explanation they would give of the occurrence. Many then as now exercise no faith of their own until their leaders tell them what to believe. The Pharisees themselves, instead of being softened in their feelings toward him by this manifestation of the presence of God with him, were hardened, and took counsel to kill him. "So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed thence into the country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there he tarried with the disciples.” (John 11:53-54). This shows how much the fruits borne by the gospel depend upon the condition of the heart of him who hears it. It is “to the one a savor from death unto death; to the other a savor from life unto life.” While faith rests on testimony, testimony will not produce faith in all hearts alike. Some will not believe, though one arose from the dead. Much of unbelief arises from an evil heart.

Verse 47

Joh 11:47

John 11:47

The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many signs.—They gathered the Jewish Sanhedrin together to consult of the matters. They admitted that many signs were wrought by Jesus. In this they admitted that Lazarus was raised from the dead. Testimony that cannot be questioned in­furiates the hearts of those determined not to believe.

Verse 48

Joh 11:48

John 11:48

If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him:—Jesus had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem in conse­quence of their sins and the scattering of the Jewish nation. They connect the success of Jesus with the triumph of the Roman powers, and so to arouse one another and the people against Jesus tell that his success would be the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of the people as was done by Nebuchadnezzar when the people were taken into captivity into Babylon.

and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.—[Judea was a Roman province; there was a Roman governor; there was a Roman garrison located in the tower of Antonia overlooking the temple itself. So the Romans were already there. But they still had their “place”—there were priests with great revenues, or members of the Sanhedrin with great power. If sedition arose on account of faith in Christ they might lose their “place,” as they did a few years later. To take away their “place,” I take it, would be to destroy their ecclesiastical organization, and take away the “nation” would be to destroy their civil organization.]

Verse 49

Joh 11:49

John 11:49

But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said unto them,—This is the same Caiaphas that sat in judgment on Jesus and urged his condemnation. He was not a believer in Jesus, but was high priest and spoke by virtue of his office.

Ye know nothing at all,—[Not even the simplest rule of statesmanship—that one must be “sacrificed to the many.” He was highly sarcastic and charges the Sanhedrin with blindness to its own interest.]

Verse 50

Joh 11:50

John 11:50

nor do ye take account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.—Whether there was prophetic power connected with the office or not, he foretold that Jesus would die for the nation. He was anxious for the death of Jesus and the wish was the father of the thought. This was spoken to suggest the death of Jesus to them.

Verse 51

Joh 11:51

John 11:51

Now this he said not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation;—[He thought he spoke it of himself, but unwittingly he announced a prophecy, like Balaam, while wickedly coun­seling the death of Christ interprets the results of his death.]

Verse 52

Joh 11:52

John 11:52

and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God that are scattered abroad.—This verse is the comment of the apostle John on the prophecy of Caiaphas. The children of God here means all among all nations who would believe in Jesus when the gospel should be preached to them. It was a recognition that there were people among all nations who would believe in Jesus, and that not any fleshly family as such would be blessed of God.

Verse 53

Joh 11:53

John 11:53

So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death.—The irresistible testimony that God was in him, given by raising one from the dead, was the time from which the more determined purpose to destroy Jesus dates. If we cannot confute his claims we will kill him is the demoniacal spirit that prompts them.

Verse 54

Joh 11:54

John 11:54

Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews,—Jesus had done his duty to them; they were infuriated by the evidence; he withdraws from them and leaves them to their fate. He can do them no good. His presence would inflame their feelings and draw abuse upon himself.

but departed thence into the country near to the wilder­ness, into a city called Ephraim; and there he tarried with the disciples.—Ephraim is supposed to be the place called Ephron (2 Chronicles 13:19), called also Ephrata, near Bethel, and about twenty miles from Jerusalem. It is supposed that he went to this place soon after the feast of the Passover.

Verse 55

Joh 11:55

John 11:55

Now the passover of the Jews was at hand: and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the passover,—When the Passover drew nigh many people from all the country where Jesus dwelled went up to the feast. They nat­urally expected Jesus who had created such a stir wherever he went, and who claimed to be a teacher sent from God, to be present. These people went up and after reaching Jeru­salem prepared themselves to eat the passover.

to purify themselves.—[This explains why they came in advance of the time of the Passover—to purify themselves from ceremonial uncleanness before the feast. While there were no special rites of purification required of the Jews before the Passover, yet they were expected to purify them­selves before participating in any important event (Exodus 19:10-11), and were accustomed to go through certain special rites of purification before the Passover (2 Chronicles 30:13-20).]

Verse 56

Joh 11:56

John 11:56

They sought therefore for Jesus, and spake one with an­other, as they stood in the temple, What think ye? That he will not come to the feast?—There was general conversation concerning him and an interest among the people, each ask­ing to know of the others if they thought he would come.

Verse 57

Joh 11:57

John 11:57

Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given com­mandment, that, if any man knew where he was, he should show it, that they might take him.—The chief priests and Pharisees expected him to be present and had come to the fixed determination to kill him at this feast, so had given the direction that they might be aided in their work. Other scriptures say that they required his presence to be made known to them when in a retired and quiet place that they might take him without exciting the multitude. [Bear in mind that it was the Sanhedrin that published the edict com­manding any man who knew of his whereabouts to reveal it in order that he might be arrested.]

[Note here—1: How baneful and destructive evil counsel is, especially out of the mouths of leading men, and how soon embraced and followed. Caiaphas no sooner propounds the putting of Christ to death, but from that day forward they lie in wait to take him. The high priests had satisfied their con­sciences, and now they made all possible speed to put their malicious designs and purposes in execution. Note 2: The prudential care and means which Jesus used for his own pres­ervation, to avoid their fury he withdraws himself privately. Observe 3: When the time was come that he was to expose himself; when the time of the Passover drew near, in which he, being the true Paschal lamb, was to be slain, to put an end to that type; he withdraws no more, but surrenders him­self to the rage and fury of his enemies and dies a shameful death for sinners, as the next chapter more at large informs us.]

[Observe from these latter verses that the spirit of prophecy did fall sometimes upon very bad men and that God has been pleased to reveal some part of his mind to the worst of men. Thus Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar had in their dreams a revelation from God—what things he intended to do. It is consistent with the holiness of God sometimes to make use of the tongues of the worst of men to publish and declare his will. Caiaphas, though a vile and wicked man, was, it is thought by many, influenced by God to prophesy and speak as an oracle. God may, when he pleases, employ wicked men this way without any prejudice to his holiness.]

Questions on John Chapter Eleven

E.M. Zerr

1. Where did Lazarus live?

2. Name his sisters.

3. What was the matter with him?

4. Ten what was said of Mary.

5. Where was Jesus now?

6. State the message he received.

7. How did he comment on the subject?

8. What were Jesus’ sentiments toward the family?

9. How long did he delay his journey?

10. State his proposal to the disciples.

11. Why did they disapprove of it?

12. How did Jesus reason in reply?

13. What did he then announce to them?

14. State their reply.

15. On what idea was it based?

16. Of what did Jesus say he was glad?

17. Did Thomas’ father have another child?

18. Why did Thomas expect to "die with him"?

19. Where was Bethany?

20. For what did many of the Jews come?

21. What did Martha do?

22. Repeat her first statement to Jesus.

23. Was she past hope now?

24. What was Jesus’ first promise to her?

25. State her response to this.

26. What constitutes the resurrection?

27. Tell what is required to share in it.

28. What will it bring to those sharing it?

29. State the profession of faith Martha made.

30. After this what move did she make?

31. Where did they meet?

32. What comment did Jews make on Mary’s departure?

33. Repeat her remark to Jesus.

34. What did Jesus behold her doing?

35. Whom else did he behold thus?

36. This caused him to do what?

37. What did he ask them?

38. Repeat the 35th verse.

39. And the remark of the Jews.

40. What miracle did they recall?

41. How did they reason from that?

42. What did Jesus do in himself?

43. Describe the burial place.

44. Repeat Jesus’ orders.

45. How long had Lazarus been dead ?

46. This caused what objection?

47. Of what was Martha reminded?

48. Who removed the stone?

49. To whom did Jesus first speak?

50. For whose sake did he do this?

51. To whom did he next speak?

52. In what condition did he come forth?

53. Who removed the bandages?

54. How did this affect the Jews?

55. To whom was this reported?

56. What gathering was then called?

57. State the purpose.

58. What did they fear from the Romans?

59. Tell who intervened.

60. State his prediction.

61. Why was he able to make this prediction?

62. What gathering together did he predict?

63. Tell what was determined from that time.

64. How did this affect the travels of Jesus?

65. What feast was about due?

66. For what purpose did many go up to Jerusalem?

67. What discussion was had among them?

68. State the orders that had been given.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 11". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/john-11.html.
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