A friend of Jesus, named Lazarus, became very sick (147). Lazarus lived in Bethany, with his sisters, Martha & Mary, and Jesus loved them all dearly. The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Master, your dear friend is sick.” To this news, Jesus responded: “Lazarus will not die, but he will be used to bring glory to God.”
Jesus delayed going to Bethany for two more days. Then he told his students it was time to go back to Bethany in the region of Judea. The students questioned Jesus: “Teacher, there are people in Judea who want to stone you to death! Why go back now?” Jesus replied, “Because the people need the light I bring. Anyone who walks in the light doesn’t stumble, but if he walks in the darkness he will definitely stumble.”
Then Jesus added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I must go & wake him up.” The students answered, “If he’s only asleep, Master, he’ll be alright.” They thought he meant natural sleep, so then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I’m glad that I wasn’t with him when he died. When we go to him, your faith will be strengthened.”
Thomas said to his fellow students, “Let’s go with the teacher. Even if we die, it’s better to stay with him!”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days earlier. The town of Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem; many Judeans had come from Jerusalem to see Martha & Mary and to comfort them about their brother’s death.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went outside the town to meet him.
She said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Master, my brother wouldn’t have died! But I know that God will raise him, if you ask him.” “Yes, Lazarus will rise to life,” Jesus said.
Martha replied, “I know that he will rise to life on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “That’s not exactly what I mean. I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who lives in me will live forever, even after his body dies. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Master,” she answered. “I believe that you are the promised Messiah who has come into the world.” After Martha said this, she went back home and told her sister Mary, “The teacher is here and he is asking for you.”
When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried outside the town to meet him. Friends who were comforting Mary followed her when they saw her get up & hurry out; they thought she was going to the grave to weep there.
(147) John 11:1-31