The Raising of Lazarus John 11:1–46

Author Greg Koukl Published on 03/22/2013

A. This critical event happened very close to Passion Week and highlighted His power over death and the source of Life that Jesus own death and resurrection would ensure.

B. Jesus delayed his trip purposely, even though He knew Lazarus was sick.

  1. The Jew’s concept of death was that after three days the spirit leaves the body.
  2. The body would already be decomposing (v39).
  3. By everyone’s definition, Lazarus was beyond hope.

C. Jesus is deeply grieved by the death of His friend. The language used conveys the depth of His feelings.

  1. He weeps (v35).
  2. He’s not just sorrowful but angry, possibly at the tragedy of death itself (v38).
    • “...deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled” (v33).
    • “...deeply moved within” (v38).
    • lit. embrimaomai, “to snort with anger, as of horses” (Vines, p. 96).

D. It was a public display of Jesus’ Messianic power, but it only turned the leaders more against Him

  1. He would work this wonder not only for the multitudes (v42) but also for the sake of His disciples. Raising Lazarus was meant to be a sign to help them believe what He’d taught them.
    • It was almost like a down payment on the promise of His own resurrection to come just weeks later. He demonstrated His power over death in raising Lazarus, and therefore could make good His claims to rise from the dead.
    • Against the backdrop of the hopelessness and sadness of Lazarus' death, Jesus declares the hope that He alone embodies: “I am the resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies” (v25).
  2. The Pharisees and Sadducees, characteristically political and theological rivals, unite to put Jesus to death. This event stimulated their resolve to kill Jesus. Rather than believe in the man who’d raised Lazarus from the dead, their hard hearts were strengthened against Him.

E. Jesus retreats to northern Judea to avoid the plot made by the Pharisees and Sadducees, and then comes back for the Passover Feast (v54).