"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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John 11:1-44 Commentary
by Elisabeth Johnson
This story is rich in literary and theological themes interwoven with what has gone before in John’s gospel and with what is to come.
Situated just after the “good shepherd” discourse and just before Jesus’ anointing and final entry into Jerusalem, the story is pivotal to the plot of John’s gospel and lifts up central theological themes of the Gospel as well.
Lord, if you had been here…
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, three adult siblings from Bethany, are friends and followers of Jesus. Lazarus has fallen gravely ill, and his sisters Mary and Martha send for Jesus, who is “across the Jordan” (10:40; 11:1-3). Jesus’ response to their situation seems surprisingly nonchalant. “Though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (11:5-6). Jesus expresses confidence that Lazarus’ illness will not lead to death, but rather to the glory of God (11:4), yet by the time Jesus finally gets to Bethany, Lazarus is already dead and buried.
We can understand the anguished cries ...
| Bible Text
Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 120: Raising Lazarus
March 09, 2014
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the text for March 9, 2014: 11:1-44. Accompanying reading: Psalm 104:27-30.