1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
The Doctrine of Sickness/Disease: Where does sickness originate from? Most likely the curse from Genesis 3. Furthermore, sickness is judgment upon mankind’s sin over the centuries. God has allowed disease processes and infectuous pathogens to develop over time secondary to man’s sin. Lazarus became ‘sick’ not because he sinned, but for the glory of God (similar in some degree to Job’s issue). Thus, sickness can come to us simply that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Some sicknesses are ‘unto death’, meaning, that they will soon cause the person to die.
The Doctrine of the love of God: While Jesus was on the Earth, He had closer relationships with some over others. Jesus was fairly close to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (all 3 were siblings of each other). This might be in part because of the love that they showed to Him; especially Mary, with the anointing of Him with ointment. Does God love some people more than others? I believe that God has the same amount of love for everyone, but, can have a closer relationship with some over others (all dependent upon the individual’s choice).
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
The Doctrine of Providence: The disciples were dumbfounded why Jesus would purposely want to go back into harms way. Jesus’ reply was interesting: He basically stated that if one walks in the light (i.e. following the leading of God through the Holy Spirit with the revealed truth in the Bible) he doesn’t have to worry about ‘persecution’, danger, trouble, etc.. For, they are walking right in the center of God’s will. There is work to be done for the Lord, and one can’t be fretting about whether or not it will be dangerous or not…
The Doctrine of Death: A Biblical term used for a Christian who has died is ‘sleep’ (or sleepeth). This shows the peacefulness of death for a Christian; and, that they are still very much ‘alive’ and well. Lazarus had indeed died by this time; so, where was his soul/spirit at this point? And, where did his soul/spirit go after he had been raised from the dead (weeks later)?
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. 18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
The Doctrine of Faith: Martha had great faith. She solidly believed that Jesus could ask the Father for her brother to come back to life again, and it would be granted Him. Do you have faith like this? Martha was a saved woman for she had placed her faith in the Christ, Messiah, the Son of God…Jesus. However, Martha had appeared a bit accusatory in verse 21. Those that have placed their faith in Jesus ‘shall never die’; spiritually speaking…not physically.
The Doctrine of the Resurrection: The ‘resurrection at the last day’ is in reference to when ‘the dead in Christ shall rise first’, at the Rapture. The hope of the resurrection of one’s body from the dead is completely based upon Jesus Christ, for He said “I am the resurrection, and the life”. Though one is spiritually dead, they can be made spiritually alive, by believing in Jesus Christ; and thus they will never die, spiritually.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
The Doctrine of Obedience: Martha ran to meet Jesus when He came into their town, but Mary did not. Mary chose to wait for Him to call her. I believe that she did this out of an obedient, submissive, humble heart. When Jesus called her she rose up hastily and went to Him. I believe Mary’s statement in verse 32 was in a more respectful and humble manner than Martha’s in verse 21.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
The Doctrine of Sorrow: Why did Jesus weep? Were they right when they said ‘behold how he loved him’? Was Jesus sorrowful that Lazarus was dead? Why would He be?… for He knew all along that Lazarus was going to die and then raised from the dead 4 days later. Was it because He saw how sorrowful His beloved friends were? Doubtful, for He knew that He was about to make them very much full of joy in just a few minutes (when Lazarus is raised from the dead). I believe that Jesus wept for the following reasons: 1) He Himself was going to suffer and die and be buried in just about 6 or so days, and it concerned Him greatly; 2) Because they all lacked faith in Him; some were even putting Jesus down (v.37); they weren’t expecting Jesus to raise him from the dead.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
The Doctrine of Miracles: “The power of raising the dead is the highest of which we can conceive. It implies not merely giving life to the deceased body, but the power of entering the world of spirits, of recalling the departed soul, and of reuniting it with the body.” (Barnes’ Notes) While Jesus was on Earth He had to ask His Father to perform a miracle (for He had taken on the form of a mere mortal); though, He would be typically silently praying to the Father. Why did He cry with a loud voice? So that Lazarus could hear Him? No, it was to make sure everyone paid attention and heard Him. Some say that if He didn’t clarify ‘Lazarus’, that all of the dead would immediately have risen.
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
The Doctrine of Miracles: The miracles that Jesus did caused many to believe on Him; but some would not believe. The Pharisees’ fear was that ‘all would believe on Him’. Jesus had done ‘many miracles’.
The Doctrine of Prophecy: The high priest (Caiaphas) made a prophecy that Jesus would die for the nation of Israel. But, he misinterpreted the prophecy; he thought it would be in a national context (i.e. the salvation of their nation), and not a spiritual one.
54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. 55 And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
The Doctrine of Feasts: “This being called the Jews’ Passover shows that John wrote this gospel among people who were not Jews, and to whom it was necessary, therefore, to explain their customs.” (Barnes’ Notes) All Jewish males were required to attend the Jewish feasts.
“As the Passover was nigh, many of the inhabitants of Ephraim and its neighbourhood went up to Jerusalem, some time before the feast, that they might purify themselves, and not eat the Passover otherwise than prescribed in the law.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary)