Studies In The Book Of John


John 11:17-29


John 11:17-19 – “(17) Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.  (18) Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: (19) And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.”


A. Lazarus had been in the grave for four days, which means his body had gone through some changes: “Human decomposition begins approximately 4 minutes after death has occurred” (  After two or three days: “Under normal conditions, the intestinal bacteria in a corpse produce large amounts of foul-smelling gas that flows into the blood vessels and tissues. It is this gas that bloats the body, turns the skin from green to purple to black, makes the tongue and eyes protrude, and often pushes the intestines out through the vagina and rectum. The gas also causes large amounts of foul-smelling bloodstained fluid to exude from the nose, mouth, and other body orifices” ( 

1. After four days, true evidence of a dead body would be present (John 11:39).

2. A true miracle is significant and leaves no room for doubt (Acts 3:1-11; cf. Acts 4:5-16).

B. People were not looking for Lazarus to be resurrected (cf. Mark 5:35-42). 

1. When loved ones die, others often seek to comfort the families (II Samuel 10:1-2 and I Chronicles 7:21-22).

2. As brethren, we’d always want to be there for each other during times of loss (Romans 12:15, I Corinthians 12:25-27, and I Thessalonians 5:11).


John 11:20-24  “(20) Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.  (21) Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  (22) But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  (23) Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  (24) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”


A. Martha went and met Jesus before He made it to town (John 11:30).

1. When Martha met Jesus she declared that she knew He could have prevented the death of Lazarus (John 4:47-51).

2. Martha knew that the Heavenly Father would give Jesus anything He asked for (John 3:35 and John 11:41-42; cf. John 8:29).

B. Jesus declares that Lazarus will be resurrected (John 12:1-2).

1. Martha thought that Jesus was referring to the Resurrection Day (John 5:28-29).

2. Remember, many Jews believed that there would be a resurrection of the dead even if they did not believe in Christ (Acts 23:6-8 and Acts 24:10-16).


John 11:25-29 – “(25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  (27) She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.  (28) And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.  (29) As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.”


A. Jesus is the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:21-22) and the life (John 14:6).

1. We have the hope of eternal life through Christ (John 6:39-40, II Corinthians 4:14, and I Peter 1:3-5).

2. This means that you will die, but live again (I Thessalonians 4:14-18).

3. In eternity, there is no death (Matthew 25:46, Romans 6:23, and Jude 21).

B. Martha knew who Jesus was (I John 5:1).

1. We all MUST be able to profess our faith in Christ both before and after initial obedience to the Gospel (Matthew 10:32-33, Matthew 16:15-17, Matthew 27:54, John 1:49, John 6:69, John 9:35-38, Romans 10:9-10, I Timothy 6:12, and I John 2:22-24).

2. We must also hold fast to Him whom we profess our faith in (Hebrews 4:14 and Hebrews 10:23).

C. Martha told Mary: “The Master is come…” (Matthew 23:10 and John 13:13).

1. Mary obviously wanted to speak with our Lord as she arose quickly and came to Him (Proverbs 28:5).

2. Her coming to Christ in that manner suggests faith on her part (Hebrews 11:6), which her actions later will verify (John 11:32).




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