(e.g. john 8 32)

John 11:4  (King James Version)

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Topical Studies
<< John 11:3   John 11:5 >>

John 11:1-46

About a month before His own death and resurrection, Jesus visited Bethany and performed His third miracle of resurrection, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46). No one knows how often Jesus visited the home of the sisters, Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus, but Scripture records some of His visits to their friendly, peaceful, and loving home (Matthew 21:17; Mark 11:11, 19; Luke 10:41-42).

This resurrection is the most extraordinary of all His great works while in the flesh. It foreshadowed His own resurrection, made a profound impression in Jerusalem, and in contrast, brought the wrath of the Sanhedrin to a head, stirring them to decide to murder Jesus. After performing this miracle, He withdrew to the wilderness of Ephraim for some private time with His disciples before the Passover and His final hours.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Resurrection of Lazarus (Part One)

John 11:1-5

Obviously, quite a close bond existed between Lazarus and Jesus. Luke 10:38-42 shows that Jesus had spent time with the family, eating, talking, and perhaps even staying with them occasionally during His travels around Judea. Twice in these five verses, it is mentioned that Jesus loved Lazarus, and this fact is connected with His approach to this man's death. For, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, even knowing it was a fatal illness, He remained where He was for two more days (John 11:6)! John describes Jesus' attitude toward death as calm and confident, an assessment again depicted in verses 11-13.

What He says to His disciples in John 11:14-15 takes it still further: "Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.'" He was glad that Lazarus had succumbed to this illness! It was not a macabre pleasure but a positive outlook, a kind of righteous joy, since He knew that the resurrection He would perform would bring about a great deal of good: Lazarus would live, the disciples' faith would be bolstered, a great witness would be made, and the path to Calvary would be set firmly in motion.

Jesus surely took a different approach to death than we do!

Later, John records that "Jesus wept" (verse 35), and many people blithely assume that He was grieving for Lazarus, but they are mistaken. He had no need to weep for Lazarus because He knew the miracle He would soon perform. Verse 33 says, "He groaned in the spirit and was troubled" when He saw Mary and the Jews with her weeping. A word study of "groaned in the spirit" shows that He was upset, even angry or indignant, rather than grief-stricken, and His emotion came out in tears. The context shows that He wept for their unbelief and their lack of hope. Even Mary, who had hung on His every word, did not understand His power or the true hope of the resurrection. Jesus is Master over death (Hebrews 2:14), and still they disbelieved!

In summary, Jesus views death through the lens of hope and the good that lies beyond it.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Death Is Not the End (Part Two)

John 11:3-5

His relationship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus was different from the relationship He had with other people. Why? One reason is, as we find in other places, He stayed with this family when He was near Jerusalem. He had undoubtedly eaten quite a number of meals at their home, and they had had ample time to talk about the plan of God, as well as their hopes and dreams, problems, trials, and difficulties. Jesus likely counseled them in these matters. As a result of this fellowship, within this family atmosphere, grew an intimacy of thinking that He did not have with many others. The Bible does not say all that often that He loved somebody the way He loved these.

Trust in a historical fact can be essentially passive, but so what? It might not be a vital part of life. However, a Christian cannot have the kind of conviction needed unless he recognizes that he is fellowshipping with a very wonderful, living, dynamic, and gracious Personality. When we pray to Him, He wants us to think about that relationship, about Him, His power, His willingness, His purpose, and everything connected with Him in His relationship with us.

Trust in a Personality energizes the quality of the prayer. In this case, it infuses the trust with a firsthand knowledge of the Being to whom we are appealing. Prayer's most important fruit may well be the understanding gained of this Personality: what He is and what He does.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Fervency

John 11:1-16

With Lazarus' death imminent, Christ's friends were to learn that the wisdom of godly love does not always shield its recipients from suffering, sorrow, and death (John 16:20-22; II Corinthians 7:9-10). Even the personal affection that His friends enjoyed with Him did not persuade Jesus to stray from His responsibility to glorify God in all that He did. So the family had to experience illness and grief.

The gospels do not record the nature of Lazarus' illness, but it was serious enough for his sisters to request Christ's intervention, expecting Him to immediately heal the disease. The ease and simplicity of their message, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (John 11:3), shows the faith they had in His ability to heal.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Resurrection of Lazarus (Part One)

Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 11:4:

Luke 4:39
John 11:1-46
John 11:33-35
Hebrews 1:4-5


<< John 11:3   John 11:5 >>

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