|Carl Bloch, "The Raising of Lazarus"|
- For a discussion of these episodes, see my original post Prelude: The Raising of Lazarus
- Lazarus Saturday: read John 11:1‒12:11; discuss the raising of Lazarus and why Mary anointed Jesus; sing “My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 135); make Lazarakia
- See also the suggestions of Emily Belle Freeman, Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter, 11‒19
- Inspiring art includes Carl Bloch, Healing the Blind Man and The Raising of Lazarus; vignettes from James Tissot’s The Life of Christ such as The First Shall Be Last, Jesus and the Little Child, Get Thee Behind Me, Satan, The Two Blind Men at Jericho, The Resurrection of Lazarus; Harry Anderson, Christ and the Children; Michael Coleman, Road to Jerusalem; and J. Kirk Richards, Sight Restored.
Text: John 11:1–12:11
The Bethany episodes,
consisting of the story of the death and miraculous raising of Lazarus followed
by a feast that Martha and Mary held for Jesus and their brother afterward,
occupy a pivotal position in the Gospel of John, overlapping with and serving
as a bridge between “The Book of Signs,” which narrates the miraculous signs
and the doctrinal discourses of Jesus’s ministry (John 2:1‒11:57), and “The
Book of Glory,” which chronicles Jesus’s final days and resurrection
(12:1‒20:31). Just as these “bridge episodes” prepare the reader for the coming
passion narrative, they can help us in our preparation for Holy Week. The problematic Johannine expression “the Jews” (Greek, hoi Ioudaioi) appears several times in this
selection. As we discuss further in our exegesis below, we have placed
it in quotations to signal to readers that John seems to be using it to refer
to a specific group and not to all Jewish people.
1There was a certain man, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha, who was sick. 2Now Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair whose brother was sick. 3So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, see, the one whom you love is sick!” 4Yet when Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness is not to the point of death; rather it is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it,” 5for Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6Therefore, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he still stayed in the place where he was for two days. 7After this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8His disciples said to him, “Master, recently the ‘the Jews’ were seeking to stone you, and they still are! Are going back there again?” 9Jesus answered,
“Are there not twelve hours in the day?
Whoever walks around in the daytime does not stumble,
because he sees the light of the world.
10 But whoever walks around in the nighttime stumbles,
because there is no light in him.”
11He said these things, and after this he told them, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, but I am going to wake him up.” 12His disciples said to him, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will recover.” 13Now Jesus had spoken about Lazarus’s death, but they thought that he was speaking about getting rest through sleep. 14So Jesus spoke openly to them, “Lazarus has died. 15Yet I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Now let us go to him.” 16Then Thomas, who is called “the Twin,” said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him!”
17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was close to Jerusalem, about two miles away, 19and many of the “the Jews” had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus had come, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed sitting at home. 21Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died! 22Yet even now I know that whatever you ask God, God will grant it to you.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her,
“I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in me,
even if he dies,
he will live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in me
will not die forever.
Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes indeed, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who is coming into the world.”
28After she had said this, she went back and secretly called her sister Mary, saying, “The teacher has arrived and is calling you.” 29Now when Mary had heard this, she quickly got up and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31Therefore when the “the Jews” who were in the house with Mary and had been consoling her saw her quickly get up and go out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32So after Mary came to where Jesus was, when she saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33Now when Jesus saw her mourning deeply and the “the Jews” who had come with her also mourning, he was greatly distressed in his spirit and troubled, 34and he asked, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. 36Therefore “the Jews” said, “Look how much he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man bring it about that this man would not have died?”
38Then Jesus, again deeply upset within himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was set upon it. 39Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the one who had died, said, “Lord, he already smells, for it is the fourth day.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they removed the stone, and Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Father, I give thanks to you,
because you have heard me.
42 And I know that you always hear me,
but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing around,
that they may believe that you sent me.”
43After he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44He who had been dead came forth, bound hand and foot with strips of graveclothes and his face wrapped in a face cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him and let him go.”
45Therefore, many of the “the Jews” who had come to Mary and had seen what he had done believed in him. 46Yet some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called the Sanhedrin into session and said, “What are we doing? This man is performing many miraculous signs! 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and remove both our place and our nation. 49But one of their number, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You do not know anything! 50You do not understand that it is advantageous for you that one man die for the people and the whole nation not be destroyed.” 51This he did not say of himself, but because he was high priest, he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only but also to gather together all the scattered children of God. 53And so, from that day they planned to put him to death.
54Therefore, Jesus no longer walked around openly among the “the Jews,” but he went from there to a region near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and he stayed there with his disciples.
55Now it was almost the Jewish Passover, and many went up to Jerusalem from the countryside for the Passover, that they might purify themselves. 56Then they were looking for Jesus and kept saying to each other as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? He won’t come to the festival, will he?” 57But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, they should report it, that they might arrest him.
1Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Then they made a feast for him there. Martha served, but Lazarus was among those who reclined with him at the table.
3Then Mary, having brought a pound of very expensive, pure nard ointment, anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair, and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, who was about to betray him, said, 5“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6He did not say this because the poor mattered to him but because he was a thief and, being the one who held the moneybag, used to pilfer from what was put in it. 7And so Jesus said, “Leave her alone so she may keep it for the day of my burial, 8for you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
9A great crowd of “the Jews” came to know that he was there, and they came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests deliberated how they might put Lazarus to death also, 11because on account of him many of “the Jews” were changing sides and beginning to believe in Jesus.
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