Lazarus Is Sick
Jesus received word that Lazarus was dead. He waited two more days before going to the home of Lazarus. This made a total of four days that Lazarus was in the grave.
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“The previous passage (10:40-42) marked the end of John’s treatment of Jesus’ public ministry. At that point, He began to move into seclusion and minister to His own disciples and those who loved Him as He prepared to face death.” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1393)
The miracle of raising Lazarus gave evidence of “His glory in three ways: (1) it pointed to His deity; (2) it strengthened the faith of the disciples; and (3) It led directly to the cross (12:23).” (MacArthur, 1394)
1. “This Bethany is different from the other ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in 1:28. It lies on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives about two miles from Jerusalem along the road leading toward Jericho.” (MacArthur, 1394)
We learn that Lazarus was sick.
2. Read Luke 10:38-42 to learn more about Mary and Martha.
3. “One day, a messenger arrived with the sad news that our Lord’s dear friend Lazarus was sick.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 334)
4. “Jesus sent him back the next day with the encouraging message recorded in John 11:4.” (Wiersbe, 334)
5. “Because He loves us, we are to come with boldness to present our problems to Him.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 437)
“Our Lord’s message to the sisters did not say that their brother would not die. It promised only that death would not be the ultimate result, for the ultimate result would be the glory of God. (Note that once again, Jesus called Himself ‘the Son of God’).” (Wiersbe, 334)
6. “What about our Lord’s delay? He was not waiting for Lazarus to die, for he was already dead. Jesus lived on a divine timetable (John 11:9), and He was waiting for the Father to tell Him when to go to Bethany.” (Wiersbe, 335)
“When one reviews the time sequences in the story, it is quite possible that Lazarus was dead by the time Jesus received the message.” (Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002], 351)
7-8. “The disciples realized that the animosity toward Jesus was so great that His return could result in His death because of the murderous Jews (cf.8:59; 10:31). (MacArthur, 1395)
Jesus “knew that His return to Judea and the miracle of raising Lazarus would precipitate His own arrest and death.” (Wiersbe, 335)
Lazarus is Asleep
9-10. “Employing the traditional religious theme of light and darkness usually associated with good and evil, he applied these symbols to the imagery of travel by day and night. The former permits of safe travel whereas the latter is to be associated with the danger of stumbling.” (Borchert, 351)
“Jesus was emphasizing that as long as He was on earth doing God’s will, even at this late time in His ministry, He would safely complete God’s purposes.” (MacArthur, 1395)
11. “The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant when He said that Lazarus was sleeping.” (McGee, 438)
“Yet Jesus’ words hardly calmed their troubled hearts because he added his intention to go and waken his sleeping friend, Lazarus.” (Borchert, 352)
12. “The disciples’ fearful reply, however, was in fact a plea that he should avoid doing anything rash because sleeping and sick people usually wake up and get well.” (Borchert, 352)
13. “The issue here was not, as they learned, one of the natural sleep or general illness which recovery can be expected because of normal processes.” (Borchert, 352)
14. “Instead, Lazarus was dead.” (Borchert, 352)
15. “He did not say He was glad that His friend died, but that He was glad He had not been there, for now He could reveal to His disciples His might power. The result would be glory to God and the strengthening of their faith.” (Wiersbe, 335)
16. “As with many people today, human problems crowd out the sense of the divine presence, and as a result hopelessness can reign even in the company of God’s people.” (Borchert, 353)
“The hopelessness of Thomas, however, was not the perspective of a coward. It was resignation in the face of the perceived possibility of death on his part.” (Borchert, 353)
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Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
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New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004