Gospel of John 2015 – 07 lesson 7 John ch. 11, 12



Anderson, Paul. N.  The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2011).


Brown, Raymond E.   The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times.  (Paulist Press, New York, 1979).


________________.   The Gospel According to John I – XII.    Volume 29 of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1966).


________________.   The Gospel According to John XIII – XXI.    Volume 29A of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1970).


Elowsky, Joel C. editor.  John 1 – 10.  Volume IVa of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2006).


__________________.  John 11 – 21.  Volume IVb of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2007).


Keener, Craig S.   The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume One(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


_______________  The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume Two(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


Lewis, Scott M.  The Gospel According to John and the Johannine Letters. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series edited by Daniel Durkin O.S.B.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).


Maloney S.D.B., Francis J.   The Gospel of John.   Volume 4 of the Sacra Pagina series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J.   (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1998).


Martyn, J. Louis.  History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel.  One of the Classics in the New Testament Library series whose editorial board is C. Clifton Black, John T. Carroll, and Beverly Roberts Gaventa.  Third Edition.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).


O’Day, Gail R.  The Gospel of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.  In Volume IX of the New Interpreter’s Bible whose editorial board is convened by Leander Kick.  (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1995).


Sloyan, Gerard.   John.   Part of the Interpretation series edited by Mays, Miller, Achtemeier.

(John Knox Press, Atlanta GA, 1988).




John Chapter 11


Now a man was ill, Lazarus fromBethany,

thevillageofMaryand her sister Martha.

Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.

So the sisters sent word to him, saying,

“Master, the one you love is ill.”


When Jesus heard this he said,

“This illness is not to end in death,

but is for the glory of God,

that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

So when he heard that he was ill,

he remained for two days in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to his disciples,

“Let us go back to Judea.”


The disciples said to him,

“Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you,

and you want to go back there?”

Jesus answered,

“Are there not twelve hours in a day?

If one walks during the day,

he does not stumble,

because he sees the light of this world.

But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”


He said this, and then told them,

“Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.”

So the disciples said to him,

“Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.”

But Jesus was talking about his death,

while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep.


So then Jesus said to them clearly,

“Lazarus has died.

And I am glad for you that I was not there,

that you may believe.  Let us go to him.”

So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples,

“Let us also go to die with him.”


When Jesus arrived,

he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

NowBethanywas nearJerusalem,

only about two miles away.

And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.


When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,

she went to meet him;

but Mary sat at home.

Martha said to Jesus,

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

(But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God,

God will give you.”


Jesus said to her,

“Your brother will rise.”

Martha said to him,

“I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”



Jesus told her,

“I am the resurrection and the life;

whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,

and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?”


She said to him,

“Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah,

the Son of God,

the one who is coming into the world.”


When she had said this,

she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying,

“The teacher is here and is asking for you.”

As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him.

For Jesus had not yet come into the village,

but was still where Martha had met him.


So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him,

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”




When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,

“Where have you laid him?”

They said to him,

“Sir, come and see.”

And Jesus wept.

So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.”

But some of them said,

“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”


So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.

It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.

Jesus said,

“Take away the stone.”

Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,

“Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.”


Jesus said to her,

“Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone.

And Jesus raised his eyes and said,

“Father, I thank you for hearing me.

I know that you always hear me;

but because of the crowd here I have said this,

that they may believe that you sent me.”


And when he had said this,

he cried out in a loud voice,

“Lazarus, come out!”

The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them,

“Untie him and let him go.”


Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said,

“What are we going to do?

This man is performing many signs.

If we leave him alone, all will believe in him,

and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.”


But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them,

“You know nothing,

nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.”


He did not say this on his own,

but since he was high priest for that year,

he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,  and not only for the nation,

but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.


So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.


Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country toJerusalembefore Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area,

“What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”

For the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should inform them, so that they might arrest him.



John  Chapter 12


Six days before Passover Jesus came toBethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.


Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.


Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,

“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”

He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.


So Jesus said,

“Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.

You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”


(The) large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.


On the next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out:

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,

(even) the king of Israel.”


Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written:

“Fear no more, O daughterZion;

see, your king comes,

seated upon an ass’s colt.”

His disciples did not understand this at first, but when Jesus had been glorified they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done this for him.


So the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from death continued to testify. This was (also) why the crowd went to meet him, because they heard that he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another,

“You see that you are gaining nothing.

Look, the whole world has gone after him.”


Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was fromBethsaidainGalilee, and asked him,

“Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

Jesus answered them,

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

Amen, amen, I say to you,

unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,

it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.


Whoever loves his life loses it,

and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me,

and where I am, there also will my servant be.

The Father will honor whoever serves me.


“I am troubled now.  Yet what should I say?

‘Father, save me from this hour’?

But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.

Father, glorify your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven,

“I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”


The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;

but others said,

“An angel has spoken to him.”

Jesus answered and said,

“This voice did not come for my sake but for yours.

Now is the time of judgment on this world;

now the ruler of this world will be driven out.

And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.


So the crowd answered him,

“We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever.

Then how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up?

Who is this Son of Man?”


Jesus said to them,

“The light will be among you only a little while.

Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you.

Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going.

While you have the light, believe in the light,

so that you may become children of the light.”

After he had said this, Jesus left and hid from them.


Although he had performed so many signs in their presence they did not believe in him, in order that the word which Isaiah the prophet spoke might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed our preaching, to whom has the might of the Lord been revealed?”


For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said:

“He blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not see with their eyes and understand with their heart and be converted, and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him.


Nevertheless, many, even among the authorities, believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not acknowledge it openly in order not to be expelled from the synagogue. For they preferred human praise to the glory of God.


Jesus cried out and said,

“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me,

and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.

I came into the world as light,

so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.


And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,

I do not condemn him,

for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.

Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day,

because I did not speak on my own,

but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.

And I know that his commandment is eternal life.

So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”






Two keys to John:

  1. 1.      A deeper understanding of the Gospel of John builds on the believer’s experience.  What we have seen and understood, our struggle to follow Jesus etc.  A magic pool in which an infant can paddle and an elephant can swim.
  2. 2.      John is more of a reflection on the meaning of Jesus than it is a straight narrative or story.


Moloney – structure and theology of the Gospel closely intertwined.  Phrases, characters placement etc.  are used to convey meaning.


The first communities that received the gospel were believers who were struggling with the reaction of their Jewish brothers, sisters, families, neighbors against Christian claims.  Some are leaving.  Expulsion from the synagogue shocked and hurt.


Early in John Jesus is rejected by many, in conflict.  The clearer the truth about Jesus is evident the more clear the conflict.  Hence, even overwhelming miracles (Lazarus) get undermined.


Lazarus story:

  • Jesus gets urgent message.
  • Doesn’t go, delays several days.  Incomprehensible to his followers.
  • There are key characters and less developed ones.  The 12 are heroes in the synoptic gospels, much less so in John – they are often muddled in their vision and understanding – even as the cured blind man and the Samaritan woman both clearly proclaim Jesus as Messiah (after conversion).
  • What do these verses mean? (weeping, he was “perturbed”, Jesus wept…)  More accurate translation may be “deeply angered and frustrated”.  Awareness of the obstacles to people hearing His word.  Even Martha and Mary did not have complete faith in Him.
  • They did not get the core or see: Jesus is God’s saving Word.
  • Jesus’ enemies get more organized in their resistance.
  • On one hand people are fascinated by him or are planning his demise.  On the other Jesus articulates more and more the consequences of being his disciple, that He is not what they and others expected but is instead what the prophets foretold.


Jesus is anointed by Mary – final anointing for burial.


Increasingly those close to Jesus are seen to be weak-hearted.  Jesus more resolved to show all by his signs and wonders their God has sent.


Comes on a donkey in peace to Jerusalem.  Calm and resolved.

“Glory” / “hour” for Jesus has come.


In the rebuilding of Judaism after 70ad destruction of the Temple there was no room in Judaism for followers of Jesus.


The cross – rejection and persecution by this world – is not the only sure consequence of following Jesus.  The other consequence is the Father’s promise of eternal life.




Raising of Lazarus


O’Day p. 684:  John changes the structure here.  Instead of miracle followed by dialogue followed by discourse.  Here the miracle concludes the story.  “The bulk of the story focuses on Jesus’ conversations with characters in preparation for the raising of Lazarus: with the disciples, with Martha, with Mary and the “Jews”.  There is no concluding discourse.”


Lewis p. 57: in the Synoptic gospels it is the “cleansing of the Temple” episode that caused the Jewish authorities attitude to harden and strengthen their resolve to eliminate Jesus.  In John it is the raising of Lazarus.  The one is a direct assault on the authority of the priests and leaders.  The other presents the problem of belief in Jesus and what it does / is doing to the Jewish community.


More irony – the apostles will go back to Judea to die with Jesus.


Lewis p. 59: “The promise of life to the believer in verses 25-26 seems nonsensical if it is taken to refer to biological life and death.  But spiritual and biological life and death are contrasted in a manner to convey the promise to the believer that he or she will never be separated from God, even by death.  Eternal life, which is direct knowledge of God, begins in the present rather than in some distant future.”


Elowsky (b) p. 3:  Chrysostom in Homilies on the Gospel of John  62.1 says: “Many are offended when they see any of those who are pleasing to God suffering anything terrible.  There are those, for instance, who have fallen ill or have become impoverished or have endured some other tragedy.  Those who are offended by this do not know that those who are especially dear to God have it as their lot to endure such things, as we see in the case of Lazarus, who was also one of the friends of Christ but was also sick.”


Lewis p. 60,61: Lazarus has been resuscitated, will die again.  He emerges from the tomb still bound by burial cloths.  Jesus will be resurrected – he will emerge from the tomb, the burial clothes will be rolled up and left behind.


Moloney p. 325: “As Jesus’ ministry comes to an end a number of themes are gradually being drawn together.  Jesus’ words about his “hour” and his being “lifted up” suggest that his glorification will be linked with his death.  If this is the case the events surrounding Lazarus will set in motion the glorification of the Son of God.”


more irony – Caiaphas notes that it is best for one man to die instead of the people


Notice that there a few chapters of the gospel had Jesus in Galilee / Cana.  Everything else has taken place inJerusalemor its environs.


Moloney p. 337: “As well as the physical decomposition of the body after four days, and related to it, there is a widely cited Jewish opinion that the soul hovered near the body for three days, but by the fourth day all hope of resuscitation was gone.”


Jesus was “troubled” – the word really is “angry”.  Why?  Because Mary is weeping, she doesn’t get it yet, though she is close.


The high priest was elected for life.  The “that year” is only to highlight who was the high priest during this particular time period.  Caiaphas was high priest from 18 to 36 AD.



Anointing by Mary


This chapter ends the first portion of the Gospel (Book of Signs).  Sloyan p. 152: “In an important sense there is nothing new here, only a summation of what has gone before.”  The next chapter begins the remainder of the gospel – the Book of Glory.


Little is truly known of Judas and his motive for betraying Jesus.  The author proposes that it was greed.  The point of the story of anointing however is that Jesus was getting ready for death and burial.


Anointing of the feet – prepare for burial.  but also looks ahead to Jesus washing the feet at the last supper. 


Moloney p. 357 – The whole house filled with fragrance – symbolic of the spread of Christianity and the message?  A denarius was a day’s wage – so the perfume was quite expensive / valuable.


Keener (vol. 2) p. 863: “Whether Mary was single or married, however, to use her prized feminine hair to wipe Jesus’ feet, when normally only servants even touched the master’s feet, indicates the depth of her humble submission to and affection for Jesus.  Banqueters were known to wipe excess water or oil on the head or hair of servants; Mary seeks this servant’s role as an expression of devotion to Jesus.”


Jesus enters the city ofJerusalemon an ass – biblical prophecy.  Key – it’s not a war chariot as a king would normally ride.


Lewis p. 63: “The presence of Lazarus causes a sensation and attracts many to faith in Jesus (vv. 9-11, 17-19). The fear of the Pharisees in verse 19 that the “whole world” is going after Jesus is well-founded and fulfills the fears voiced in 11:50-52.  If this is accurate, it is hard to understand why there is no mention of Lazarus in the other Gospels.”


Who were the “Greeks”?  Could be Greek speaking Jews of the diaspora.  Could be Greek “God-fearers” who did not convert but lived as much like the Jews as possible.  The text / John seem to want hearers to read “Greek speaking Gentiles” and connect this to the “hour” coming – all things are in place, including the beginnings of going out to the whole world.


Sloyan p. 154: “Historical or not, the Johannine record is not one of unrelieved opposition to Jesus by “the Jews” but of a people divided over him.”


Sloyan p. 156: “In true Johannine fashion, the Christian’s hour of glory is identical with the hour of obedience, pain, and servanthood.  The adage has it, “No cross, no crown.”  In John, cross and crown are one.”






  • Read and pray over John chapters 13 and 14:1-14.
  • Read the commentary pages 67-74.
  • Ponder and pray over the questions in the workbook for this unit.  Which questions are most important to you?


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