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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

According to John 11:1-57

11  Now a man named Lazʹa·rus was sick; he was from Bethʹa·ny,+ the village of Mary and her sister Martha.+  This was the Mary who poured perfumed oil on the Lord and wiped his feet dry with her hair;+ it was her brother Lazʹa·rus who was sick.  So his sisters sent a message to him, saying: “Lord, see! the one you have affection for is sick.”+  But when Jesus heard it, he said: “This sickness is not meant to end in death, but is for the glory of God,+ so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazʹa·rus.  However, when he heard that Lazʹa·rus was sick, he actually remained in the place where he was for two more days.  Then after this he said to the disciples: “Let us go into Ju·deʹa again.”  The disciples said to him: “Rabbi,+ just lately the Ju·deʹans were seeking to stone you,+ and are you going there again?”  Jesus answered: “There are 12 hours of daylight, are there not?+ If anyone walks in daylight, he does not stumble into anything, because he sees the light of this world. 10  But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11  After he said these things, he added: “Lazʹa·rus our friend has fallen asleep,+ but I am traveling there to awaken him.” 12  The disciples then said to him: “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will get well.”* 13  Jesus, however, had spoken about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. 14  Then Jesus said to them plainly: “Lazʹa·rus has died,+ 15  and I rejoice for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16  So Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples: “Let us also go, so that we may die with him.”+ 17  When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazʹa·rus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18  Now Bethʹa·ny was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19  And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary+ kept sitting at home. 21  Martha then said to Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22  Yet even now I know that whatever you ask God for, God will give you.” 23  Jesus said to her: “Your brother will rise.” 24  Martha said to him: “I know he will rise in the resurrection+ on the last day.” 25  Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life.+ The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; 26  and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.+ Do you believe this?” 27  She said to him: “Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” 28  When she had said this, she went off and called Mary her sister, saying privately: “The Teacher+ is here and is calling you.” 29  On hearing this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30  Jesus had not yet come into the village, but he was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31  When the Jews who were with Mary in the house consoling her saw her get up quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb+ to weep there. 32  When Mary arrived where Jesus was and caught sight of him, she fell 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 had come with her weeping, he groaned within himself and became troubled. 34  He said: “Where have you laid him?” They said to him: “Lord, come and see.” 35  Jesus gave way to tears.+ 36  At that the Jews began to say: “See, what affection he had for him!” 37  But some of them said: “Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind man+ prevent this one from dying?” 38  Then Jesus, after groaning again within himself, came to the tomb. It was, in fact, a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39  Jesus said: “Take the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: “Lord, by now he must smell, for it has been four days.” 40  Jesus said to her: “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”+ 41  So they took the stone away. Then Jesus raised his eyes heavenward+ and said: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42  True, I knew that you always hear me; but I spoke on account of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe that you sent me.”+ 43  When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice: “Lazʹa·rus, come out!”+ 44  The man who had been dead came out with his feet and hands bound with wrappings, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them: “Free him and let him go.” 45  Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to Mary and who saw what he did put faith in him,+ 46  but some of them went off to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47  So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Sanʹhe·drin together and said: “What are we to do, for this man performs many signs?+ 48  If we let him go on this way, they will all put faith in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49  But one of them, Caʹia·phas,+ who was high priest that year, said to them: “You do not know anything at all, 50  and you have not reasoned that it is to your benefit for one man to die in behalf of the people rather than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”+ 51  He did not say this, however, of his own originality, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was to die for the nation, 52  and not only for the nation but also to gather together into one the children of God who were scattered about.+ 53  So from that day on they conspired to kill him.+ 54  Therefore, Jesus no longer walked about publicly among the Jews, but he departed from there to the region near the wilderness,+ to a city called Eʹphra·im,+ and he stayed there with the disciples. 55  Now the Passover+ of the Jews was near, and many people from the countryside went up to Jerusalem before the Passover to cleanse themselves ceremonially. 56  They were looking for Jesus, and they were saying to one another as they stood around in the temple: “What is your opinion? That he will not come to the festival at all?” 57  But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone got to know where Jesus was, he should report it, so that they could seize* him.

Footnotes

Or “he will be saved.”
Or “arrest.”

Study Notes

Lazarus: Probably the Greek form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, meaning “God Has Helped.”

Bethany: A village on the ESE slope of the Mount of Olives at a distance of about 3 km (2 mi) from Jerusalem. (Joh 11:18, ftn.) The home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, located in this village, appears to have been Jesus’ base in Judea. (Joh 11:1) Today the site is marked by a small village with an Arabic name meaning “The Place of Lazarus.”

Judeans: Or “Jews.” Though the Greek word can properly be rendered “Jews” here (as at Joh 10:31, 33), Jesus had just told his disciples: “Let us go into Judea again.” Therefore, the rendering “Judeans” is used to show that it was the Jews from Judea who had tried to stone him.—Joh 11:7.

has fallen asleep: In the Bible, death is often likened to sleep. (Ps 13:3; Mr 5:39; Ac 7:60; 1Co 7:39; 15:51; 1Th 4:13) Jesus was going to bring Lazarus back to life. Therefore, he may have said this to demonstrate that just as people can be awakened from a deep sleep, they can be brought back from death. The power to resurrect Lazarus came from Jesus’ Father, “who makes the dead alive and calls the things that are not as though they are.”—Ro 4:17.

Thomas: This Greek name comes from an Aramaic word meaning “Twin.” The apostle Thomas was known by another Greek name, Diʹdy·mos (in some English Bibles rendered “Didymus”), which also means Twin.

tomb: Or “memorial tomb.”—See Glossary, “Memorial tomb.”

about two miles: About 3 km. Lit., “about 15 stadia.” The Greek word staʹdi·on (singular) denotes a linear measurement that equaled 185 m (606.95 ft), or one eighth of a Roman mile.—See Glossary, “Mile,” and App. B14.

I should resurrect them on the last day: Jesus states four times that he will resurrect people on the last day. (Joh 6:40, 44, 54) At Joh 11:24, Martha too refers to “the resurrection on the last day.” (Compare Da 12:13; see study note on Joh 11:24.) At Joh 12:48, this “last day” is associated with a time of judgment, which will apparently include the Thousand Year Reign of Christ when he will judge mankind, including all those resurrected from the dead.—Re 20:4-6.

I know he will rise: Martha thought that Jesus was talking about the future resurrection, on the last day. (See study note on Joh 6:39.) Her faith in that teaching was remarkable. Some religious leaders of her day, called Sadducees, denied that there would be a resurrection, though it is a clear teaching in the inspired Scriptures. (Da 12:13; Mr 12:18) On the other hand, the Pharisees believed in the immortality of the soul. Martha knew, however, that Jesus taught the resurrection hope and had even performed resurrections, although not of anyone who had been dead as long as Lazarus had been.

has life in himself: Or “has in himself the gift of life.” Jesus has “life in himself” because his Father granted him powers that originally only Jehovah had. These powers no doubt include the authority to give humans the opportunity to have a fine standing before God and thus gain life. They would also include the ability to impart life by resurrecting the dead. About a year after Jesus made the statement recorded here, he indicated that his followers could have life in themselves.—For the meaning of the expression “life in yourselves” as it applies to Jesus’ followers, see study note on Joh 6:53.

I am the resurrection and the life: Jesus’ own death and resurrection opened the way for the dead to return to life. After Jesus was resurrected, Jehovah granted him the power not only to resurrect the dead but also to impart eternal life. (See study note on Joh 5:26.) At Re 1:18, Jesus calls himself “the living one,” who has “the keys of death and of the Grave.” Therefore, Jesus is the hope of the living and the dead. He promised to open up the tombs and give the dead life, either in the heavens as his corulers or on his new earth ruled by his heavenly government.—Joh 5:28, 29; 2Pe 3:13.

will never die at all: When Jesus spoke about not dying, or of living forever, he clearly did not mean that his listeners back then would never experience death. Jesus was making the point that faith in him could lead to everlasting life. That conclusion is supported by what Jesus said earlier, as recorded in Joh chapter 6, where he connects exercising faith with gaining everlasting life.—Joh 6:39-44, 54.

tomb: Or “memorial tomb.”—See Glossary, “Memorial tomb.”

gave way to tears: The word used here (da·kryʹo) is the verb form of the Greek noun for “tears” that is used in such scriptures as Lu 7:38; Ac 20:19, 31; Heb 5:7; Re 7:17; 21:4. The focus seems to be more on the tears shed than on audible weeping. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, this Greek verb is used only here, and it is different from the one used at Joh 11:33 (see study note) to describe the weeping of Mary and the Jews. Jesus knew that he was going to resurrect Lazarus, but it saddened him greatly to see his beloved friends stricken with grief. Moved by deep love and compassion for his friends, he shed tears openly. This account makes it clear that Jesus has fellow feeling for those who lose loved ones to Adamic death.

weeping: Or “crying.” The Greek word for “weeping” often refers to weeping audibly. The same verb is used of Jesus on the occasion when he foretold the coming destruction of Jerusalem.—Lu 19:41.

groaned . . . and became troubled: The combination of these two original-language words describes Jesus’ very intense emotions on this occasion. The Greek verb rendered “groaned” (em·bri·maʹo·mai) generally denotes strong feeling, but in this context it indicates that Jesus was so deeply moved that he groaned. The Greek for “became troubled” (ta·rasʹso) literally refers to agitation. According to one scholar, in this context it means “to cause one inward commotion; to affect with great pain or sorrow.” The same verb is used at Joh 13:21 to describe Jesus’ reaction to the thought of being betrayed by Judas.—See study note on Joh 11:35.

within himself: Lit., “in the spirit.” The Greek word pneuʹma is apparently here used in the sense of the impelling force that issues from a person’s figurative heart and causes him to say and do things in a certain way.—See Glossary, “Spirit.”

weeping: Or “crying.” The Greek word for “weeping” often refers to weeping audibly. The same verb is used of Jesus on the occasion when he foretold the coming destruction of Jerusalem.—Lu 19:41.

gave way to tears: The word used here (da·kryʹo) is the verb form of the Greek noun for “tears” that is used in such scriptures as Lu 7:38; Ac 20:19, 31; Heb 5:7; Re 7:17; 21:4. The focus seems to be more on the tears shed than on audible weeping. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, this Greek verb is used only here, and it is different from the one used at Joh 11:33 (see study note) to describe the weeping of Mary and the Jews. Jesus knew that he was going to resurrect Lazarus, but it saddened him greatly to see his beloved friends stricken with grief. Moved by deep love and compassion for his friends, he shed tears openly. This account makes it clear that Jesus has fellow feeling for those who lose loved ones to Adamic death.

tomb: Or “memorial tomb.”—See Glossary, “Memorial tomb.”

by now he must smell: Martha’s comment shows that Jewish custom did not involve an elaborate embalming process designed to preserve the body for a long time. She would not have expected the body to smell if Lazarus had actually been embalmed. Lazarus’ feet and hands were bound with wrappings and “his face was wrapped with a cloth,” but most likely not with the intention of preserving his body from decay.—Joh 11:44.

it has been four days: Lit., “it is fourth.” The Greek word is simply an ordinal number, with “day” being understood from the context. Apparently three full days plus a portion of a fourth day had passed.

Lazarus: Probably the Greek form of the Hebrew name Eleazar, meaning “God Has Helped.”

his face was wrapped with a cloth: The Jews had the custom of preparing bodies for burial by binding them with cloths of clean linen along with spices. This, however, was not an embalming process such as practiced by the Egyptians. (Ge 50:3; Mt 27:59; Mr 16:1; Joh 19:39, 40) When Lazarus was resurrected and came out of the tomb, his face was still wrapped with the cloth that had been placed over his head. The Greek word sou·daʹri·on, here rendered “cloth,” refers to a small piece of material used as a towel, napkin, or facecloth. The same Greek word is used at Joh 20:7 about “the cloth that had been on [Jesus’] head.”

our place: That is, our place of worship, or holy place, probably referring to the temple in Jerusalem.—Compare Ac 6:13, 14.

high priest: When Israel functioned as an independent nation, the high priest held his office for life. (Nu 35:25) However, during the Roman occupation of Israel, the rulers assigned by Rome had authority to appoint and to depose the high priest. (See Glossary, “High priest.”) Caiaphas, appointed by the Romans, was a skillful diplomat who held his office longer than any of his immediate predecessors. He was appointed about 18 C.E. and remained in office until about 36 C.E. By saying that Caiaphas was high priest that year, that is, in 33 C.E., John apparently meant that Caiaphas’ term as high priest included the memorable year in which Jesus was executed.—See App. B12 for the possible location of Caiaphas’ house.

Ephraim: A city generally considered to be the same as the Ephrain captured by Abijah the king of Judah from Jeroboam the king of Israel. (2Ch 13:19) The site commonly suggested for this city is the village of et-Taiyiba (also spelled et-Taiyibeh), about 6 km (3.5 mi) ENE of Bethel and 3 km (2 mi) ESE of the suggested location of Baal-hazor. (2Sa 13:23) It is located near the wilderness, overlooking the desert plains of Jericho and the Dead Sea to the SE. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the Roman General Vespasian conquered Ephraim during his march against Jerusalem.—The Jewish War, IV, 551 (ix, 9).

the Passover: Jesus started his preaching activity after his baptism in the fall of 29 C.E., so this reference to a Passover early in his ministry must have been to the one celebrated in the spring of 30 C.E. (See study note on Lu 3:1 and App. A7.) A comparison of the four Gospel accounts indicates that four Passovers were celebrated during Jesus’ earthly ministry, leading to the conclusion that his ministry was three and a half years long. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (often called the synoptic Gospels) do not mention any Passover except the final one, at which Jesus died. John’s account specifically mentions three Passovers (Joh 2:13; 6:4; 11:55), and a fourth one is most likely referred to by the expression “a festival of the Jews” at Joh 5:1. This example highlights the value of comparing the Gospel accounts to gain a more complete picture of Jesus’ life.—See study notes on Joh 5:1; 6:4; 11:55.

a festival of the Jews: Although John does not specify which festival is referred to, there are good reasons to conclude that it is the Passover of 31 C.E. John’s account was generally in chronological order. The context places this festival shortly after Jesus said that there were “yet four months before the harvest.” (Joh 4:35) The harvest season, particularly the barley harvest, got under way about Passover time (Nisan 14). So it seems that Jesus’ statement was made about four months before that, about the month of Chislev (November/December). Two other festivals, the festivals of Dedication and of Purim, fell during the time period from Chislev to Nisan. However, these festivals did not require an Israelite to go up to Jerusalem. So in this context, the Passover seems to be the most likely “festival of the Jews” that required Jesus to attend in Jerusalem according to God’s Law to Israel. (De 16:16) It is true that John records only a few events before the next mention of the Passover (Joh 6:4), but a consideration of the chart in App. A7 shows that John’s account of Jesus’ early ministry was abbreviated, and many events already covered by the other three Gospel writers were not mentioned. In fact, the great amount of activity of Jesus recorded in the other three Gospels lends weight to the conclusion that an annual Passover did indeed come between the events recorded at Joh 2:13 and those at Joh 6:4.—See App. A7 and study note on Joh 2:13.

the Passover: Apparently referring to the Passover of 32 C.E., the third Passover during Jesus’ earthly ministry.—See study notes on Joh 2:13; 5:1; 11:55 and App. A7.

the Passover: That is, Passover 33 C.E., apparently the fourth Passover mentioned in the Gospel of John.—See study notes on Joh 2:13; 5:1; 6:4.

Media

The Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin

Seventy-one members constituted the Jewish high court called the Great Sanhedrin. It was located in Jerusalem. (See Glossary, “Sanhedrin.”) According to the Mishnah, the seating was arranged in a semicircle three rows deep, and two scribes were present to record the court’s rulings. Some of the architectural features shown here are based on a structure discovered in Jerusalem that is considered by some to be the Council Chamber from the first century.—See Appendix B12, map “Jerusalem and Surrounding Area.”

1. High priest

2. Members of the Sanhedrin

3. A defendant

4. Clerks