John Lesson 15 Day 2 ~ John 11:1-16
(Lazarus’) resurrection took place after four days of death (John 11:17). This is the longest recorded period of death in Scripture from which anyone came back.
It’s interesting that such a miraculous event as Lazarus being raised from the dead after four days was omitted by the other Gospel writers. It is thought by many scholars that this is because when they were writing their Gospels, Lazarus and his sisters were still alive. It is recorded here in John that after Jesus’ resurrection the Jews sought to kill Lazarus too, so possibly the other Gospel writers did this to protect Lazarus and his sisters. But by the time John wrote his Gospel, they were dead and he therefore felt free to include this miraculous event.
According to Luke, Bethany was the town or area from which Jesus ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50-51 and Acts 1:12). The Mount of Olives will be the place to which He returns at His Second Coming. A village by the name of al-Eizariya (“Place of Lazarus”) still exists on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives today and is the probable site of ancient Bethany. Andrew Wommack
Bethany is a little less than two miles southeast of Jerusalem on the road to Jericho. (IVP New Testament Commentaries)
3. a. “This sickness is not fatal.”
When the messengers told Jesus that his dear friend was sick, Jesus said, “This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son.” (MSG)
Was Jesus saying that the end result of this sickness would not be death but the glory of God because he knew he would raise Lazarus up?
God’s glory and power are revealed—Just like the healing of the man born blind, raising Lazarus reveal the glory and power of God.
Even though they suffered for a while, their sorrow was turned into unbelievable joy. As a woman forgets the pain of childbirth for joy that a child has been born, so they soon forgot the confusion and grief of those four days.
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.
This miracle provides additional confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
b. To God be the glory
Trial—A test of faith, patience or stamina by suffering or temptation.
If I do the following regardless on my circumstances, I bring glory to God:
- Rejoice—Count it all joy (James 1:2)
- Be patient.
- Be steadfast.
- Be humble.
- Be gentle.
- Bear with the weaknesses of others. (Romans 15:1)
- Pray. (Romans 12:12)
- Continue in faith.
- Resist temptation.
- Love our neighbors as ourselves.
- Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:35)
- Jesus overcame the world. (John 16:33)
4. a. Two more days
Lazarus was probably already dead by the time the messenger found Jesus.
When Jesus said the sickness would not result in death, was he speaking about the final outcome? It does seem Jesus knew Lazarus would walk out of that tomb. I believe he waited because he knew God’s perfect timing.
Apparently, a Jewish tradition believes a man’s soul hovers near the body for three days and then leaves without and possibility of return. By raising Lazarus after four days, not only was his body decaying, his soul could not be reunited with his body. This miracle, like healing the man born blind, was indisputable evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. No other prophet or rabbi worked miracles like this.
It also seems Jesus waited two more days because he loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
John 11:5-6 (WuestNT)
5 Now Jesus was loving Martha and her sister and Lazarus with a love divine in its essence and self-sacrificial in its nature. Therefore, when He heard that he was ill, at that time He remained in the place where He was, two days. Then after this He says to the disciples, Let us be going into Judaea again. The disciples say to Him, Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and again are you going there? Answered Jesus, Are there not twelve hours of daytime? If a person is walking about in the day he does not stumble because the light of this world he sees. But if a person is walking about in the night, he stumbles, because the light just mentioned is not in him.
Jesus’ beloved friends became participants in this spectacular miracle.
b. When Jesus doesn’t show up when I expect
A close family member has suffered from an unidentified, chronic illness for many years. We’ve won battles, but the war continues.
Waiting and wondering is tough. It’s easy to feel unheard and unloved.
Jesus’ love for Lazarus and his sisters teaches us that our faith in God’s love, even in the midst of adversity, is well grounded. Even those especially dear to God must endure such things (cf. Chrysostom In John 62.1). “The one sick, the others sad, all of them beloved: but He who loved them was both the Savior of the sick, nay more, the Raiser of the dead and the Comforter of the sad” (Augustine In John 49.7). (IVP NT Commentaries)
I’m learning to say, “Whatever it looks like, whatever it feels like, I trust you.”
I want my heart to be right with him—Learn to rest in him. Ask him to lead me how to intercede, and believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
26 In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.
28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. (Romans 8:26-28 AMP)
5. Let’s go back to Judea.
When the disciples remind Jesus it’s dangerous to go back, they are looking at the circumstances. After all, some of the Jews were trying to stone him the last time he was there. He answers them with a short parable. Jesus is saying God lights the way if we are in his will. Walking in the night means following the path outside his will. The Light of the World is with them.
“Here is a word of assurance and a call to all believers to take their bearings from God and not from their circumstances.” (IVP)
MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on John Lesson 15 Day 2 John 11:1-16