Gospel of John  
 
from the New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
 
The Death of Lazarus
 
11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,[a] ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ 4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ 5 Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6 after having heard that Lazarus[b] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
 
7 Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ 8 The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ 9 Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ 11 After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ 12 The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin,[c] said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’
 
Jesus the Resurrection and the Life
 
17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus[d] had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles[e] away, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ 23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ 24 Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ 25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.[f] Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ 27 She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,[g] the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’
 
Jesus Weeps
 
28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ 37 But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’
 
Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life
 
38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ 40 Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’
 
The Plot to Kill Jesus
 
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place[h] and our nation.’ 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! 50 You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ 51 He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53 So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
 
Reflection on Lazarus Saturday 2016 - Poor Lazarus
 
“I realize now that some people said, ‘Poor Lazarus almost made it to heaven but got called back to earth.’ But I would not have made it to heaven before Jesus went there. I would have remained in Sheol with the other souls, waiting. I came back when I heard the Teacher call my name. I do not think I would have come if anyone else had called, not even my dear sisters Martha and Mary.
 
I am sure they called out my name in their mourning and weeping. I know they trusted the Rabbi as much as I did. I know they were captivated by His teaching like the others were, especially Mary. She loved to sit and listen to His stories. It used to upset Martha because she was always trying to make Him comfortable and to feed Him. We were blessed to call Him friend and to have Him come into our home to rest, away from the pressing crowds.
 
He worked hard for three years, walking from place to place, telling parables, healing so many sick people, comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable. He really knew what to say. He raised up a lot of sick people, even some that others thought were dead. That is why my sisters were confused when He did not come right away when I was ill. I always trusted that He would make things right. He taught us that He was able to control the weather and to cure all kinds of maladies. He spoke with such authority. That is how I knew it was Him when I heard, “Lazarus, come forth!”
 
At first I was not sure from which direction His voice was coming. I didn’t know that I would have such an important role in this last sign, His greatest miracle. Of course, that was the beginning of the end for Him. I suppose it could have been the end for me, too. Our religious leaders did not accept Him like we did. It just seemed He always spoke the truth. And here I am living proof of the power of Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, as He called Himself.
 
We wonder what will happen now. The people love Him and want to make Him the new King of Israel. The authorities want to put Him to death, both the Jews and the Romans. We just want Him to go on doing good works. We love Him and know he loves us. I would gladly go with Him. My sisters and the other women will stay near to Him. They won’t harm the women. They don’t understand how courageous and devoted these women are. I can feel the tension in the crowds during these holy days of Passover. I wonder what He will do this time. He is my life and my salvation, whom shall I fear now?”


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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