Friday, April 27, 2012

John 11

The Death of Lazarus

There was a man Lazarus in Bethany who is ill. Mary and Martha are his sisters, Mary is the one who anointed Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. They sent word to Jesus asking for help. He heard that Lazarus was in trouble, so he decided to stay put for a few days and then head back to Judea.

I'm confused, is Bethany and Judea the same thing or something? Shouldn't he be heading toward Bethany? Does he perhaps have to travel through Judea?

The disciples say that he is crazy because in Judea the people want to kill him. Jesus tells them he needs to go because Lazarus has fallen asleep. They say he will wake up so why worry about it. Then Jesus says more plainly that Lazarus has died and they need to go to him. Thomas then says to his fellow disciples "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

I suddenly like Thomas. Seriously though, why is Jesus being confusing on purpose? I feel like he does this all the time and it just serves to make things harder to follow.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

When they get to Bethany Lazarus has been dead and in the tomb for 4 days already. Martha said that if Jesus had been there Lazarus would not have died. Jesus said Lazarus would rise again, Martha said she knows he will rise on the last day. Jesus said he is the resurrection and the life, everyone who lives and believes in him shall never die.

I'm curious what exactly this really means. Lazarus is dead right there. And people die all the time. We commonly interpret this as life in heaven after death, but that doesn't seem to be what Jesus is really saying here, he is saying people won't die.

Jesus Weeps

Mary heard the Jesus was calling for her, so she went to him and the disciples followed. She was weeping and said if he was there Lazarus wouldn't have died. He asks to be shown the body and he was so overcome that he wept when he saw how moved she was. Some people ask why Jesus let Lazarus die since he is able to heal a blind man.

Seems like a big leap, to expect that if you can heal blindness you can stop death. It actually reminds me of an episode of TNG.

Jesus Raises Lazarus

They get to the tomb, which is a cave with a stone in the way, and Jesus says to move the stone. They say that he has been dead for days and there will be an odor. Jesus asks if they believe in him, if they do they will see the glory of God. They take away the stone and Jesus talks to God and presumably asks for Lazarus to be brought back to life. Then they yelled for Lazarus to come out and he did, his hands and feet were wrapped with linen.

It occurred to me while I was reading this, is Lazarus a rich man? It seems that way as he is buried in a cave with a boulder at the entrance. Certainly this isn't how they bury everyone right? How does that mesh with the idea that rich people can't get into heaven and that people are supposed to give away all of their stuff?

The Plot to Kill Jesus

Many of the people who witnessed this believed in Jesus, but some went to the Pharisees and told them what happened, they didn't want him to do these things as it might make them lose power. So they worked on a plan to capture and kill Jesus

[Edit] If you want a much more thorough look at this passage, you should check out The Wise Fool post about it]


  1. The Death of Lazarus. Judea looks like it was a province of sorts> I think Bethany was atown. This is kind of a sick story to me. Lazarus died so Jesus could look good when he raised him from the dead. For his “glory.

    I think the Thomas character gets a bad rap. “Doubting Thomas” or as I like to call him, Thomas the skeptic. If he asks questions and gets answers, he's going to believe a lot more than someone who just doesn't question stuff.

    I Am the Resurrection and the Life Jesus says people will not die. I'd assume back then, this was a literal thing, but like most stuff in the bible, eventually got changed to be a “metaphor.” Interesting comparison with the Star Trek episode.

    Jesus Raises Lazarus I think this story is forgotten when in other places in the bible that say Christ was the first to rise from the dead.
    You bring up a lot of great questions about the stone at his tomb. It does seem like that would be something wealthy people would be able to afford. Maybe they were placed there to prevent bandits from stealing stuff buried with the dead?

  2. Good call on the verse from acts, it certainly goes against this. It also seems to contradict the mini zombie uprising in Matthew.

  3. Because I like the Zombie uprising and I think it's one of the coolest parts of the Bible, I am going to say "therefore, no contradiction." :)

  4. Great work on this blog, Hausdorff. I hope that this type of content stirs on dialog and promotes understanding. That's part of why I blog too.

    As JKerber says, Judea is like a province or a state. The "Promised Land" was divided up for the 12 tribes* of Israelites, with each tribe getting a piece. One tribe consisted of the descendents of the patriarch Judah, which is where the name comes from.

    * (There are some convoluted details of how many tribes there actually were, but twelve is the figure consistently used in the Bible when spoken of collectively.)

    As for JKerber's comment on not dying and the Acts verse, I disagree with his opinion. As you saw in my Lazarus post, there were Old Testament resurrections, and many New Testament resurrections, but those people eventually died. There are many different theories about what happens at death, but I think that the part about Jesus being the first raised from the dead refers more to a specific type of resurrection in which the flesh becomes incorruptible. That is to say, it will no longer age or be affected by disease, parasites, or any other malady or irregularity. You may have already seen some of that "corruptible" language in the Epistles. If not, you will. :-)

  5. Thanks for stopping by TWF. I do like your take on the resurrection and the difference between the different varieties of resurrection.

    It was interesting to come back and read my post on this after reading yours. I was confused on a few details and many others I was simply unaware of. I am going to edit the original post with a link to your write up on this section (I'm assuming you don't mind)


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