28 Jesus Travels to Bethany and Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. Jesus Hears of Lazarus’s Sickness and Waits Two Days Before Leaving

Scripture: John 11:1-16

Notes: Only John records this sensational miracle, and he makes it clear that in very important ways preparation for the events of the Passion Week was laid in this event. Notice that this miracle occurred only several weeks before the Passover at which Jesus would die.

Questions/Observations: Because He waited for two days before departing Perea for Bethany, when Jesus arrived Lazarus had been dead for four days. This is important. Why?

B. Jesus Arrives in Bethany and Raises Lazarus from the Dead

Scripture: John 11:17-44


  1. Why do you think Jesus wept (John 11:35)?
  2. Contemplate carefully the dramatic effect of this miracle.

C. The Consequence of Raising Lazarus from the Dead

Scripture: John 11:45-57


  1. John identifies several specific results of this miracle (John 11:45-57). Carefully note those results as cataloged by John, specifically the impact on Jesus’s enemies (John 11:45-53), on Jesus’s travels (John 11:54), and on the city of Jerusalem (John 11:55-56).
  2. According to John 11:57, after He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus was a fugitive – He is on the run and must order His movements very carefully.

Note: At this point, Jesus’s public travels are entirely completed. He is tarrying north of Jerusalem at the little village of Ephraim (secret from His enemies), waiting for the time when He would make His way to Jerusalem for the Passover at which He would die. The raising of Lazarus was hugely important in setting the stage for the events of that final week to come. In that connection, note John’s comment in John 12:12 – “a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem….” How is it that that multitude heard that Jesus was coming? The answer has a great deal to do with this final and most deliberately spectacular miracle of Jesus’s ministry.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).