There was a man named Lazarus who was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. (This is the same Mary who poured perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. It was her brother who was sick.) So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus saying him, “Lord, your friend is very sick.”
When Jesus heard this he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.
Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of light in the day. During this period people walk safely because they have the light of this world. It’s at night that they stumble because they have no light.” Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m going to wake him up.”
The disciples said, “Lord, if he’s sleeping, he’ll get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was sleeping naturally, but Jesus meant the sleep of death.
So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will believe. Come, let’s go see him.”
Thomas, called the Twin, said to the other disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. Bethany was only a few miles from Jerusalem, and many of the people had come out of the city to console Martha and Mary in their loss.When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
“I know,” Martha said. “He will rise at the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who has come into the world from God.”
She then returned to Mary, called her aside from the mourners and said, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” So Mary immediately went to him.
Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha had met him. When the people who were in the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her.
When Mary reached Jesus, she fell at his feet and cried, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died!”
When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people weeping with her, he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.”
Then Jesus wept.
The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!”
But some said, “If this man could heal a blind man, why couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
Jesus was still troubled as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone away,” Jesus said.
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
Jesus said, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”
So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me, but I’m saying this for the sake of the people standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.”
Then Jesus called, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, and his face wrapped in a headcloth.
Jesus told them, “Take off the grave clothes him and let him go.”
Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they what happened, but some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”
Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world.
So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, a village called Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.
It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?”
Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him.