The Gospel of John, The Period of Conflict - The Clash of Belief and Unbelief, The Raising of Lazarus, Part XXXIX, John 11:1,2 - Lesson 86
Read Verses John 11:1-10:
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
At the time of this event Jesus has returned to the place where John the Baptist baptized him three years prior.
He is on the east side of the Jordan river, having left Jerusalem after his confrontations with the Jews.
This passage describes the seventh miracle that John includes in his Gospel.
The first one concerns the happiest event of life, the wedding at Cana, and the last one concerns the saddest event in life, a funeral at Bethany.
John 11:1, Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Bethany, a small village, is located on the eastern slope of the Mt. of Olives', about two miles southeast of Jerusalem.
It was the final stop before Jerusalem while traveling the main east‑west road, the high road, coming from Jericho.
Besides the raising of Lazarus that took place at Bethany, Mary gave Jesus His "burial anointment." at the home of Simon the Leper.
And Bethany was the location for Jesus Christ's final blessing to His disciples and the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven as Luke has recorded.
John gives us a point of reference to Lazarus, a connection, by mentioning an event in the life of Christ that Christ told him to remember as a memorial of Mary.
Mat 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Lazarus (an abbreviation of Eleazar, "God has helped") is the brother of that Mary, that Mary that anointed the feet of the Lord Jesus.
John says: "You will know whom I mean if I tell you that he was the brother of that Mary who anointed the Lord."
That Mary who we are told spent much time at the feet of Jesus.
(Since there are six women named Mary in the New Testament this identification is helpful)
John mentions Mary first because she was the one who was well known at the time of the writing of John's Gospel.
The Lord has insured this because of his command to tell of her anointing of him throughout the whole world.
One writer says that one act, virtuous or vicious, may render a person noted through all ages.
God remembers Mary by her act of anointing Jesus Christ and asks us to remember her.
Aren't you glad that it is God who remembers us.
It is God who remembers the gold, and silver and precious jewels of our life.
Our memories may grow dim but God's does not.
I'm thankful that our rewards do not depend on us reciting the gold, and silver and precious jewels of our lives before the judgment seat of Christ.
But Lazarus was sick, he was weak unto death.
This was serious illness and his sisters knew this.
Do you suppose they prayed for Jesus to heal him from afar?
Don't you suppose that they wondered why Jesus did not come without asking?
Why was he delaying?