Today an Arab village with a population of about 1,000 occupies the site where the events of John 11 take place, which is called El-Azarieh – “The Place of Lazareth.” The tomb at Bethany associated with Lazarus has been so identified since the fourth century.
Little is said about Lazarus, either in scripture or in history, outside of the events in John 11. One tradition states that because of the Jews’ desire to kill him, he left Israel and traveled to Cyprus, where he became the first bishop of Kittim. A later medieval tradition states that Lazarus instead went to France and became a bishop there.
Read John 11:1-32
1) Where did Lazarus live? Where was this in relation to Jerusalem? (See verse 18)
2) What does the Hebrew name Lazarus mean? How is this fitting, or appropriate, to the events that are about to take place?
3) Verses 1 through 5 describe the relationship between Jesus and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. List the specific phrases that describe his relationship with them?
4) We already know that John referred to himself in this Gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. How does it affect your view of Jesus to see that some people seemed to enjoy a closer relationship with Jesus than others?
5) Read Luke 10:38-42. What further insights does Luke give about Mary and Martha?
6) Despite this close relationship, Jesus delayed leaving for two days. What can we learn for our own lives from this delay?
7) Verse 4 states that Lazarus’ illness was for the glory of God. What is the glory of God? How does this compare with John 9:1-5?
8 ) In what ways do the following scriptures suggest that God is glorified?
a) Philippians 3:7-11
b) 2 Corinthians 1:8-9
c) Hebrews 5:5-10
d) 2 Corinthians 4:7-18
e) 1 Peter 4:12-16
f) Hebrews 11:24-26
9) Why did Jesus’ disciples not want to go to Judea? (v.8)
10) How should we understand verses 9 and 10? (See John 8:12, 9:4-5, 13:35-36, Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:12-17)
11) Why does Jesus speak of Lazarus sleeping even though he was dead? (see Daniel 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
12) Why did the disciples misunderstand Jesus though the Old Testament frequently speaks of death in this manner?
13) From the following scriptures, what do we know about the present state of those who “sleep” in Jesus”? (2 Corinthians 5:8, 1 Philippians 1:21-24, Revelation 6:9-11)
14) Why was Jesus glad that he was not present when Lazarus died? (v.15) What does this verse tell you about what is and is not important to Jesus as he acts in our lives? (See 1 Peter 1:3-9)
15) According to Jewish tradition, the soul of the dead person stayed near the body until decomposition began to take place (until the “face was changed”), and then departed after three days. Why do you think John mentioned that Lazarus had been in the grave for four days?
16) Compare Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 7:11-17. How is the length of time that Lazarus has been dead important to John’s purpose in writing his Gospel? (see John 20:30-31)
17) Thomas is often criticized for his lack of faith after Jesus’ resurrection. What did he not lack according to verse 16?
18) Based on verses 20 to 27, describe Martha’s faith.
19) How do Mary’s words in verse 32 compare with Martha’s words in verse 21? In your own words, what is it that both Martha and Mary believe?
20) What did Jesus mean when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life?”
21) We have already examined the state of those who die in Christ. Compare Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 9:2, 1 Corinthians 15:54-58, and Hebrews 2:14-15, with Jesus’ words in verses 25-26. What implications do these verses have for both our lives and for the day of our physical death?by beakennedy and comments are closed.