Chapter 8

  1. Now a man named Lazarus, living in Bethany, who was the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick. It was in their house that Mary, the Elect Lady, anointed Jesus with sacred oil and cut his hair. Mary and Martha lived together in the Bethany house, and Lazarus was in their house while ill. The sisters sent a message to Jesus saying, Lord, have pity, our brother you love is gravely ill. And when Jesus heard of the sickness, he said, This sickness will not cause his death, but it will show the glory of God, and will make it clear that the Son of God is glorified by the Father.
  2. Now Jesus loved the entire family, Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. Jesus waited two days after he heard Lazarus was sick, remaining where he was when first informed of the illness. After that delay he said to his followers, Now let us go to Judea again. But his disciples reminded him, Master, the Jews recently attempted to stone you; and you want to return there again? Jesus answered, Are there only twelve hours of light each day? During the daylight a man can see to walk and does not stumble and fall because the daylight informs him. But at night, without the light, a man stumbles because of the darkness surrounding him. He said these things, and he said also to them, Our friend Lazarus is now sleeping, but I will go to awaken him from his sleep. Then his disciples said, Lord, if he is sleeping he will be fine. However Jesus meant that he had died, but they thought he meant resting in sleep. Then Jesus said bluntly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that now you will believe; nevertheless let us go to him. Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, We may as well go with him so that we can die alongside him. They were all afraid the leaders of the Jews would arrest and kill Jesus, for they did not yet understand the power of God.
  3. And when Jesus came to Martha’s house in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the grave four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, less than two miles distant. There were many Jews at the house to mourn with Martha and Mary over their deceased brother. As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming and nearby, she hurried to meet him, but Mary remained in the house. Martha cried to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But I know that even now whatever you ask of God, God will give you. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha replied to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life. He that believes in me, even though he were dead, yet will he live. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die, worlds without end. Do you believe this? She said to him, Yes, Lord. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was foretold to come into the world.
  4. After this discussion, she quietly entered the house and told Mary to secretly leave with her. She said to her, Our Lord is here, and asking for you to meet with him. As soon as Mary heard that Jesus was there, she arose quickly and rushed out to meet him.
  5. Jesus had not yet arrived in the town, but was still at the place where Martha met him. The Jews in the house who were mourning with her, saw Mary abruptly depart and thought she was overcome with grief and was headed to the grave. They said, She is headed to the grave to weep and mourn there. When Mary arrived where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet and said to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
  6. Jesus looked upon her weeping, and the others who followed her also weeping, and he was grieved in his heart, and was troubled and said, Where have you laid his body? They told him, Lord, come and see. Jesus also wept. The Jews noticed and said, Look at how much he loved him! Some of them asked, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, have not also saved this man from dying? Hearing this Jesus again was grieved because of their misunderstanding.
  7. And he went to the grave. It was a burial cave, and had a stone blocking entry to it. Jesus said, Remove the stone blocking the cavern. Martha, the sister of the deceased man, said to him, Lord, by this time his decomposing body will stink because he has been dead for four days. Jesus reminded her, Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would behold God’s glorious power? Then they removed the stone blocking the cave where the body lay. Then Jesus looked up to Heaven and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know you always listen to me, but I mention it for the benefit of those who are here witnessing this moment. Perhaps they will believe that I have been sent by you if they hear my prayer. Then with a loud voice Jesus commanded: Lazarus, return to us from the grave. The man who was dead came out from the grave, his hands and feet still bound by grave-clothes, and his face covered with a burial shroud. Jesus instructed them, Untie him, and let him go.
  8. When the group of Jews who followed Mary saw what Jesus had done, most believed on him. But there were still some who immediately ran to the Pharisees to tell them what Jesus had just done.
  9. When they heard the report, the leaders summoned the Sanhedrin to meet, discussing the event and asking, What should we do? This man continues to do many miracles. If we ignore him and this continues, everyone will believe him, and the Romans will respond by taking away our right to lead, and will break apart our followers. A participant named Caiaphas, who was the high priest at that time, said to them, You understand nothing about how to deal with this threat to ourselves. It is better for one man to die to save our people than for our people to be lost. These words were inspired by God. Because he was the high priest at the time, he unwittingly spoke a true prophecy that Jesus would die to save those people. He would not merely save the Jews but also God’s people throughout the world, whom he would gather as his family. From that moment the leaders determined on a plan to have Jesus killed.
  10. Jesus sensed their plan and avoided them. He traveled unseen into the Judean wilderness to the city of Ephraim, where he and his followers remained undetected.
  11. The time for the Jewish Passover arrived. Many people traveled up to Jerusalem before the Passover to participate in ceremonies to purify themselves. The leaders looked for Jesus to be there and asked members of the crowd standing in the temple, What do you think, will Jesus be coming to the Passover? There was standing direction from the Sanhedrin that if anyone saw Jesus in the city they were to tell the informants so that they could detain him.
  12. Six days before the Passover, Jesus returned to Bethany where he had raised Lazarus from the dead. They made supper for him and Martha served. Lazarus was among those who sat at the table with him. Many came to be there to see the man who was raised from the dead and to hear Jesus who had raised him.
  13. And among those who were present were his mother, and Mary, the Elect Lady who was companion with Jesus. She cut off the seven locks of his hair that had not been cut before because of the vow, which fell at her feet. This troubled his disciples who feared his strength would depart from him but said nothing because Jesus permitted it to be done. Jesus, seeing their concern, asked, Is not a lamb shorn before it is sacrificed? But they did not understand his meaning. And she took royal oil used to coronate a king, containing spikenard, frankincense and myrrh, and applied it to the head, arms and hands, legs and feet of Jesus. And the house was filled with the smell of the royal anointing oil. One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would later betray him, spoke up and asked, Why was this anointing oil wasted instead of sold for a year’s wages of $40,000, and the money used to help the poor? He did not say this because he cared for the poor, but because he was a greedy thief who acted as treasurer for the group, and he wanted to get control over the money. Jesus rebuked him and said, Leave her alone. My mother has safeguarded this gift from my birth until now to be used for this moment. This anointing is required to be done to establish me before I lay down my life. The poor are always in need in this world, but I reign among you for only a short while and then am offered up as a sacrifice on your behalf.
  14. Many of the Jews heard he had come to this dinner and came to see not only Jesus, but also to see Lazarus who had been raised from the dead. The Sanhedrin wanted Lazarus killed also, because raising him from the dead converted many people to believe Jesus was the Messiah.