3 The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is ill.” 4 When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this illness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the Son of God will receive glory.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two more days. 7 Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.” 23 “Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her. 24 “I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26 and all those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” 33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people who were with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34 “Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. 35 Jesus wept. 36 “See how much he loved him!” the people said. 37 But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39 “Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!” 40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41 They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave clothes, and with a cloth round his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.” 45 Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did, and they believed in him.
*This is a shortened form of today’s reading. The full reading is John 11:1-45. Other readings: Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11
Mary and Martha are very close friends of Jesus, so they are dismayed when he appears to arrive too late – after their brother has died.
From the outset Jesus is aware that his Father has a glorious plan (verse 4) but that still doesn’t prevent him from sharing their grief (verses 33-35).
Jesus declares “I am the resurrection and the life” and promises that those who believe in him will never die (verses 25-26). Martha expresses her faith that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead so that people will believe he is the Son of God. Many people do believe, but for the religious leaders Jesus now poses so great a threat that they plot to kill him (verse 53).
What things strike you most from this story? What does this miracle demonstrate about Jesus’s authority?
“I am the resurrection and the life.” What does this statement mean for you? What do you think about eternal life?
Respond to God in prayer. Bring your hopes and fears to him and thank him for his loving care.
Read Romans 8:8-11 and let these verses strengthen your faith and confidence in God’s promises.
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