The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 120

Return to Judea to Raise Lazarus ~ Part 1

In our last post, we came to the end of His Perean Ministry as He Concluded Teaching in Parables.

In this post, Yeshua Returns to Judea to Raise Lazarus.


Yochanan records one of the most poignant events in all the Gospel accounts. While Yeshua is still in Perea, He learns that His friend Lazarus is seriously ill in Bethany. [1] Yeshua wants to be with Lazarus. But because Bethany is so close to Yerushalayim, His talmidim counseled against returning there. What follows is a touching account of Yeshua meeting Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, and being moved to tears. Yeshua arrives four days after Lazarus has died.

Yeshua Learns El’azar (Lazarus) Is Ill

Like a number of the incidents Yochanan reports, the events of this chapter presume knowledge of material found in the Synoptic Gospels. Beit-Anyah is mentioned in Mark 11:11–12, where Yeshua and His talmidim stayed after their triumphal entry into Yerushalayim. Miryam and Marta are introduced in Luke 10:38–42.

There was a man who had fallen sick. His name was El’azar, and he came from Beit-Anyah, the village where Miryam and her sister Marta lived. (This Miryam, whose brother El’azar had become sick, is the one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent a message to Yeshua, “Lord, the man you love is sick.” On hearing it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may receive glory through it.”

In fact, El’azar did die (v. 14), but Yeshua raised him so that the illness did not “end” in death.

The Talmidim Fear Yeshua’s Return So Close to Yerushalayim

5 Yeshua loved Marta and her sister and El’azar; so when He heard he was sick, first He stayed where He was two more days; then, after this, He said to the talmidim, “Let’s go back to Y’hudah.” The talmidim replied, “Rabbi! Just a short while ago, the Judeans were out to stone you—and you want to go back there?” Yeshua answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a person walks during daylight, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? Yeshua refers to the average hours of sunlight in the summer in Yerushalayim. The light of this world refers to Yeshua. The light was a common Jewish metaphor for God’s providence and guidance.

10 But if a person walks at night, he does stumble; because he has no light with him.”

No light with him refers to God’s power to guide a person’s life through the Ruach. In this setting, He is referring to Himself as their guide.

11 Yeshua said these things, and afterward, He said to the talmidim, “Our friend El’azar has gone to sleep, but I am going in order to wake him up.” 12 The talmidim said to Him, “Lord if he has gone to sleep, he will get better.”13 Now Yeshua had used the phrase to speak about El’azar’s death, but they thought he had been talking literally about sleep. 14 So Yeshua told them in plain language, “El’azar has died.15 And for your sake, I am glad that I wasn’t there so that you may come to trust. But let’s go to him.” 16 Then T’oma (Thomas which means “twin”) said to his fellow talmidim, “Yes, we should go so that we can die with him!”  [2]

T’oma shows enthusiasm to follow Yeshua, a point that later becomes ironic (see Yochanan 20:27).

In our next, we continue our exploration of Yeshua’s Return to Judea to Raise Lazarus.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  This Beit-Anyah is located about a mile and one-half due east of Yerushalayim.

[2]  Yochanan 11:1–16.

3 Replies to “The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 120”

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