God’s Renewing Word of Hope
John 11:1-27: Today we will read the first part of the account of the death and raising of Lazarus. Jesus receives word that his friend Lazarus is ill, but he delays making the trip to Bethany to see him. The conclusion of the story will provide an occasion for Jesus to reveal the glory of God. Today’s reading includes another of the “I am” passages (verse 25) that appear only in John’s Gospel—Jesus’s self-revelation connecting him to the Divine Name (see Exodus 3:14) and identifying him as the one who has come to make God known (see the reading from John 14:1-14 on February 10).
The Death of Lazarus
1 A man named Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, became sick. Bethany was the town where Mary and her sister Martha lived. ( 2 This Mary was the one who poured the perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.) 3The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is sick.”
4When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this sickness 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.”
5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days. 7Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8“Teacher,” the disciples answered, “just a short time ago the people there wanted to stone you; and are you planning to go back?”
9Jesus said, “A day has twelve hours, doesn’t it? So those who walk in broad daylight do not stumble, for they see the light of this world. 10But if they walk during the night they stumble, because they have no light.” 11Jesus said this and then added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up.”
12The disciples answered, “If he is asleep, Lord, he will get well.”
13Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, but they thought he meant natural sleep. 14So Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15but for your sake I am glad that I was not with him, so that you will believe. Let us go to him.”
16Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow disciples, “Let us all go along with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!”
Jesus the Resurrection and the Life
17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother’s death.
20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22But 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.”
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26and 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.”
Today’s Key Verse: John 11:25
Jesus said . . . “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die.”
How does Jesus respond to the message from Mary and Martha (verse 4)? What does Jesus say to his disciples (verses 11, 14, 15)? What are your thoughts about Jesus waiting two days before going to Bethany? What do his words in verse 15 indicate? What does Jesus say to Martha (verses 23, 25, 26)? According to verse 27, what does Martha’s response to Jesus indicate about her faith?
Lord Jesus, I believe you are the resurrection and the life, and I trust in you. As I walk with you each day, strengthen my faith and help me to grow in knowledge of you. Amen.
John 11:28-44: Lazarus is brought to life.