John 11 Lesson

Faith in Jesus

Chapter 11 has two major events:

  1. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
  2. The Jews plot to seize Jesus.

You may remember the story of a woman named Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. This story is written about in all four gospels (Mathew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, and John 12:1-8). The Lazarus that Jesus raises from the dead is the brother of this woman. They also have another sister named Martha.

It is significant to realize the order in which these events take place. First Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, and then Mary anoints Jesus’ feet to prepare Him for burial. That is assuming that John wrote His gospel in chronological order.

It is helpful to be able to put the whole Bible into context. Through today’s study of John 11, we know that when Mary comes to anoint Jesus’ feet, she had just witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus and had a strong belief that He was the Christ.

John also tells us that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were siblings, and that Jesus loved them. John writes beginning in verse 21:

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

The Bible is full of stories about people whose faith allowed God to do works in their lives. Here the family of Lazarus suffers a hardship, the death of their brother Lazarus. They turn to Jesus for help and believe that He can help them, even in death. Jesus, who knows all, knows how strong their faith is and brings Lazarus back from the dead.

In the same way, if we turn to Jesus in our darkest times, and believe that He can help our situations, He will. As it says in Mark 11:23-24:

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.  Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”

John 11 also contains the shortest passage in the Bible, just two words.

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35.

We have a Savior that can relate to our sorrows and our pain. God’s plan called for Him to come to earth, take the form of man, and experience all the emotions that we experience. That should make us trust in Him even more. Like Mary and Martha, when we suffer hardship, or loss, we can turn to Jesus and know that He hears our prayers.

The other key theme to John 11 is the chief priests and Pharisees conspiring to kill Jesus. John’s writings give us a good idea of why they were doing this. John writes, beginning in verse 47:

“Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

They were not only jealous of Jesus; they were afraid of what would happen if they allowed Jesus to continue to perform signs and more and more people believed in Him. As they say in verse 48:

“And the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

They did not want to lose their power, so they plotted to kill Jesus.

It is sad to read. We know that jealousy and greed are still prevalent today. We can not allow ourselves to fall victim to this evil, as the chief priests and Pharisees did back in Jesus’ day. One way to do that, is to focus on all the blessings that we have in life and remember to thank God for them. 


Dan W

It certainly IS sad to see attitudes that caused Jesus to be mistreated and crucified!


Many have pondered why Jesus wept since being the Son of God He knew everything, including the spiritual state of Lazarus. Was He weeping at the lack of faith of Lazarus'; sisters and bystanders? Or did the tears of others evoke tears in the Savior? It seems that the latter choice might fit the context. Jesus was empathetic to those who suffered: "We don't have a high priest who cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. . . " (Hebrews 4:15).

We know what it is like to cry at a funeral because the closest relatives are crying. Jesus was touched by our grief. He still is, as our faithful and merciful High Priest.


Thanks so much for your thoughts Brother. I had not thought of this scripture that way before. It's very thought provoking - in a good way!


Jesus wept because Lazarus, whom He loved, was dead. It showed the human side of Jesus. It's incredibly significant to us that Jesus had these feelings. On the one hand, He was deity and knew that He could raise Lazarus up. But on the other hand, He was being chased by the Jewish leaders to be put to death, He knew that the time for Him to fulfill His mission was quickly approaching, his friend was dead, and for just a moment, He wept and "let it out."

We should keep this scripture in mind when we are weeping and praying to God. Our Lord and Savior understands our hurt because He experienced the same emotions that we are going through.