Contemporary English Version
The Death of Lazarus
11 1-2 A man by the name of Lazarus was sick in the village of Bethany. He had two sisters, Mary and Martha. This was the same Mary who later poured perfume on the Lord’s head and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 The sisters sent a message to the Lord and told him that his good friend Lazarus was sick.
4 When Jesus heard this, he said, “His sickness won’t end in death. It will bring glory to God and his Son.”
5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and brother. 6 But he stayed where he was for two more days. 7 Then he said to his disciples, “Now we will go back to Judea.”
8 “Teacher,” they said, “the people there want to stone you to death! Why do you want to go back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours in each day? If you walk during the day, you will have light from the sun, and you won’t stumble. 10 But if you walk during the night, you will stumble, because you don’t have any light.” 11 Then he told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, and I am going there to wake him up.”
12 They replied, “Lord, if he is asleep, he will get better.” 13 Jesus really meant that Lazarus was dead, but they thought he was talking only about sleep.
14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead! 15 I am glad that I wasn’t there, because now you will have a chance to put your faith in me. Let’s go to him.”
16 Thomas, whose nickname was “Twin,” said to the other disciples, “Come on. Let’s go, so we can die with him.”
Jesus Brings Lazarus to Life
17 When Jesus got to Bethany, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many people had come from the city to comfort Martha and Mary because their brother had died.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus had arrived, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Yet even now I know that God will do anything you ask.”
23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will live again!”
24 Martha answered, “I know that he will be raised to life on the last day,[a] when all the dead are raised.”
25 Jesus then said, “I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. 26 And everyone who lives because of faith in me will never really die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord!” she replied. “I believe that you are Christ, the Son of God. You are the one we hoped would come into the world.”
28 After Martha said this, she went and privately said to her sister Mary, “The Teacher is here, and he wants to see you.” 29 As soon as Mary heard this, she got up and went out to Jesus. 30 He was still outside the village where Martha had gone to meet him. 31 Many people had come to comfort Mary, and when they saw her quickly leave the house, they thought she was going out to the tomb to cry. So they followed her.
32 Mary went to where Jesus was. Then as soon as she saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset 34 and asked, “Where have you put his body?”
They replied, “Lord, come and you will see.”
35 Jesus started crying, 36 and the people said, “See how much he loved Lazarus.”
37 Some of them said, “He gives sight to the blind. Why couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
38 Jesus was still terribly upset. So he went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. 39 Then he told the people to roll the stone away. But Martha said, “Lord, you know that Lazarus has been dead four days, and there will be a bad smell.”
40 Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you had faith, you would see the glory of God?”
41 After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. 42 I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so that the people here would believe that you sent me.”
43 When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The man who had been dead came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of burial cloth, and a cloth covered his face.
Jesus then told the people, “Untie him and let him go.”
The Plot To Kill Jesus
45 Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw the things that Jesus did, and they put their faith in him. 46 Others went to the Pharisees and told what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called the council together and said, “What should we do? This man is working a lot of miracles.[b] 48 If we don’t stop him now, everyone will put their faith in him. Then the Romans will come and destroy our temple and our nation.”[c]
49 One of the council members was Caiaphas, who was also high priest that year. He spoke up and said, “You people don’t have any sense at all! 50 Don’t you know it is better for one person to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed?” 51 Caiaphas did not say this on his own. As high priest that year, he was prophesying that Jesus would die for the nation. 52 Yet Jesus would not die just for the Jewish nation. He would die to bring together all of God’s scattered people. 53 From that day on, the council started making plans to put Jesus to death.
54 Because of this plot against him, Jesus stopped going around in public. He went to the town of Ephraim, which was near the desert, and he stayed there with his disciples.
55 It was almost time for Passover. Many of the Jewish people who lived out in the country had come to Jerusalem to get themselves ready[d] for the festival. 56 They looked around for Jesus. Then when they were in the temple, they asked each other, “You don’t think he will come here for Passover, do you?”
57 The chief priests and the Pharisees told the people to let them know if any of them saw Jesus. That is how they hoped to arrest him.
12 Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death. 2 A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there.
3 Mary took a very expensive bottle of perfume[e] and poured it on Jesus' feet. She wiped them with her hair, and the sweet smell of the perfume filled the house.
4 A disciple named Judas Iscariot[f] was there. He was the one who was going to betray Jesus, and he asked, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 6 Judas did not really care about the poor. He asked this because he carried the moneybag and sometimes would steal from it.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone! She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me.”
A Plot To Kill Lazarus
9 A lot of people came when they heard that Jesus was there. They also wanted to see Lazarus, because Jesus had raised him from death. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus. 11 He was the reason that many of the Jewish leaders were turning from them and putting their faith in Jesus.
Jesus Enters Jerusalem
12 The next day a large crowd was in Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard that Jesus was coming for the festival, 13 they took palm branches and went out to greet him.[g] They shouted,
God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord!
God bless the King
14 Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the Scriptures say,
15 “People of Jerusalem,
don’t be afraid!
Your King is now coming,
and he is riding
on a donkey.”
16 At first, Jesus' disciples did not understand. But after he had been given his glory,[i] they remembered all this. Everything had happened exactly as the Scriptures said it would.
17-18 A crowd had come to meet Jesus because they had seen him call Lazarus out of the tomb. They kept talking about him and this miracle.[j] 19 But the Pharisees said to each other, “There is nothing that can be done! Everyone in the world is following Jesus.”
Some Greeks Want To Meet Jesus
20 Some Greeks[k] had gone to Jerusalem to worship during Passover. 21 Philip from Bethsaida in Galilee was there too. So they went to him and said, “Sir, we would like to meet Jesus.” 22 Philip told Andrew. Then the two of them went to Jesus and told him.
The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up
23 Jesus said:
The time has come for the Son of Man to be given his glory.[l] 24 I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat. 25 If you love your life, you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you will be given eternal life. 26 If you serve me, you must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. If you serve me, my Father will honor you.
27 Now I am deeply troubled, and I don’t know what to say. But I must not ask my Father to keep me from this time of suffering. In fact, I came into the world to suffer. 28 So Father, bring glory to yourself.
A voice from heaven then said, “I have already brought glory to myself, and I will do it again!” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some of them thought it was thunder. Others thought an angel had spoken to Jesus.
30 Then Jesus told the crowd, “That voice spoke to help you, not me. 31 This world’s people are now being judged, and the ruler of this world[m] is already being thrown out! 32 If I am lifted up above the earth, I will make everyone want to come to me.” 33 Jesus was talking about the way he would be put to death.
34 The crowd said to Jesus, “The Scriptures teach that the Messiah will live forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
35 Jesus answered, “The light will be with you for only a little longer. Walk in the light while you can. Then you won’t be caught walking blindly in the dark. 36 Have faith in the light while it is with you, and you will be children of the light.”
The People Refuse To Have Faith in Jesus
After Jesus had said these things, he left and went into hiding. 37 He had worked a lot of miracles[n] among the people, but they were still not willing to have faith in him. 38 This happened so that what the prophet Isaiah had said would come true,
“Lord, who has believed
And who has seen
your mighty strength?”
39 The people could not have faith in Jesus, because Isaiah had also said,
40 “The Lord has blinded
the eyes of the people,
and he has made
the people stubborn.
He did this so that they
could not see
and so that they
would not turn to the Lord
and be healed.”
41 Isaiah said this, because he saw the glory of Jesus and spoke about him.[o] 42 Even then, many of the leaders put their faith in Jesus, but they did not tell anyone about it. The Pharisees had already given orders for the people not to have anything to do with anyone who had faith in Jesus. 43 And besides, the leaders liked praise from others more than they liked praise from God.
Jesus Came To Save the World
44 In a loud voice Jesus said:
Everyone who has faith in me also has faith in the one who sent me. 45 And everyone who has seen me has seen the one who sent me. 46 I am the light that has come into the world. No one who has faith in me will stay in the dark.
47 I am not the one who will judge those who refuse to obey my teachings. I came to save the people of this world, not to be their judge. 48 But everyone who rejects me and my teachings will be judged on the last day[p] by what I have said. 49 I don’t speak on my own. I say only what the Father who sent me has told me to say. 50 I know that his commands will bring eternal life. That is why I tell you exactly what the Father has told me.
- 11.24 the last day: When God will judge all people.
- 11.47 miracles: See the note at 2.11.
- 11.48 destroy our temple and our nation: The Jewish leaders were afraid that Jesus would lead his followers to rebel against Rome and that the Roman army would then destroy their nation.
- 11.55 get themselves ready: The Jewish people had to do certain things to prepare themselves to worship God.
- 12.3 very expensive bottle of perfume: The Greek text has “expensive perfume made of pure spikenard,” a plant used to make perfume.
- 12.4 Iscariot: See the note at 6.71.
- 12.13 took palm branches and went out to greet him: This was one way that the Jewish people welcomed a famous person.
- 12.13 Hooray: This translates a word that can mean “please save us.” But it is most often used as a shout of praise to God.
- 12.16 had been given his glory: See the note at 7.39.
- 12.17,18 miracle: See the note at 2.11.
- 12.20 Greeks: Perhaps Gentiles who worshiped with the Jews. See the note at 7.35.
- 12.23 be given his glory: See the note at 7.39.
- 12.31 world: In the Gospel of John “world” sometimes refers to the people who live in this world and to the evil forces that control their lives.
- 12.37 miracles: See the note at 2.11.
- 12.41 he saw the glory of Jesus and spoke about him: Or “he saw the glory of God and spoke about Jesus.”
- 12.48 the last day: See the note at 6.39.