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John 11 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-32- Lazarus and his sisters are probably some of the closest friends Jesus had while He was on earth, so it's quite surprising to reading in v6 that Jesus didn't drop everything to go help His sick friend. After all, how many times hasn't Jesus healed people whom He had no previous relationship with, but when His friend is in need, Jesus holds back. The sisters call Jesus out on this when He finally arrives - after Lazarus has been dead for four days. They both say the same thing:

If you had been here, my brother would not have died (v21 & 32).

While it may seem like Jesus didn't care enough to go, He gives the actual reason He stayed away in v42 - so that the people standing there (as well as the people who would read this thousands of years later) may believe that the Father sent Him.

Jesus could have taken great offense at Mary and Martha's accusations against Him. He could have responded by explaining how He had given up all the glories of heaven just to come to earth and how amazing it is that God had become incarnate and was living in poverty for the sake of His sinful people. He could have brought back up both Mary & Martha's wretched, wrecked past and reminded that without Him they'd be nothing. But He doesn't. Mary and Martha are not the only two in the Bible to express anger at God, but God never gets angry at those who are angry with Him.

  • v33-45 - Not only does Jesus not get angry at the sisters' anger with Him, but He enters into their pain. The two words of v35 are the shortest verse in the Bible:

Jesus wept.

Isn't it an amazing comfort to knows what it is to feel the anger, sadness and loss so many of us experience?

Jesus orders the tomb's door to be removed, despite Martha's disbelieving protest the smell of decay would be overwhelming.

After a short prayer, Jesus speaks, calling Lazarus to come out, and Lazarus does. There's power in God's Word!

  • 46-53 - Although it seems like it would be hard not to believe in Jesus after witnessing this resurrection, there are some who don't and instead rat Him out to the establishment.

    • Their conversation in the Sanhedrin helps shed some light on why it is they're so threatened by Jesus. They're afraid that if the people throng to Jesus, they're going to make Him king, and that will cause the wrath of the Romans to come in and eliminate Israel once and for all.

    • Ironically, the high priest recognizes the need for Christ to die for the people, but unfortunately he only sees it in terms of a political need, not a spiritual need.

  • v54-57 - Jesus pulls Himself out of the limelight once again, as was His ongoing habit.

    • As preparations are being made to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem, everyone's hoping to catch a glimpse of the miracle man.

    • But the establishment's put a price on His head.

OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: Jesus used the sheep/shepherd analogy both because people in that culture were very familiar with the concept, but also because the establishment was supposed to be Israel's shepherd, but they failed. Ezekiel 34:1-31 tells of how they failed, and how God promised to do the job Himself.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: After Jesus received word from Mary and Martha that Lazarus was sick, how many days did He wait before going to see them? (See verse 6.)

  2. What in this chapter do you think might be the most interesting to someone learning about Jesus Christ for the first time, and why?

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who listens to our anger but who has shown His glory by overcoming death (v40-41)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen your belief so that you can see God's glory even in the midst of tragedy (v40)



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