John 11:1-5
John 11:1 (KJB)
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
Our studies now bring us to one of the most famous chapters in the Bible with one of the most powerful teachings for the Christian which we will look at a little later. Bethany means “house of unripe dates” or “house of affliction.” Bethany was located about 3 miles (5 km) east of Jerusalem. The town of Mary and Martha. The name Mary comes from The Hebrew “mara” which means “bitterness.” The name Martha means “who becomes bitter.” Their names carry the idea of “calamity or distress.” (Ruth 1:20 KJV) And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. The name Lazarus means “God is my help.” It was here that Jesus will perform His third and last resurrection.
John 11:2 (KJB)
(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Matthew 26:6-13 describes this event. Matthew does not name her but refers to her as a woman but here we are given her identity. The Bible here confirms that this Mary was the sister of Lazarus since there were three others in the New Testament named Mary. They were Mary, mother of Jesus; Mary the wife of Cleopas; and Mary Magdalene.
John 11:3 (KJB)
Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
Since the sisters knew that Jesus was able to heal, they sent for Him in hopes that He would come and see His friend Lazarus. Their message had implied that they hoped Jesus would come and heal him. They hoped that their friendship would prompt a fast return by Jesus. Here we are told that Jesus loved Lazarus which means that he was a believer since the love of Jesus is qualified. (John 13:1 KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. Notice in John 13:1 we read that Jesus loved His own.
John 11:4 (KJB)
When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Looking from a human standpoint, to say that this sickness was not unto death would have been confusing since it actually took the physical life of Lazarus. However, when it is viewed from the standpoint of Jesus, what was about to happen would be preached until the end of time everywhere in the world. Wherever this event is published it brings glory to God and glorifies the Son of God because no religion in the world can ever boast of an event which took place like this that had so many witnesses to verify it. Even the enemies of Christ could not deny what happened. The disciples probably thought that Jesus would heal him from a distance like He did the Centurion’s daughter in Matthew 8. They too were about to witness the miracle of miracles.
John 11:5 (KJB)
Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
The Scripture now states that not only did Jesus love Lazarus, but He also loved Mary and Martha which means that that they were true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus loving them was about to show that His love for them went far beyond the love one has for a friend. The word “loved” used here is in the “imperfect tense.” Since it is in the imperfect tense, it means that the love in view is a progressive action rather than a completed action. So His love for them has not yet reached a crescendo. It is like love in a marriage, it never reaches its peak as it is always progressing for the good of the other spouse.