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John 11 Scripture Study: The Resurrection And The Life

In these verses we will see an example of God's will chosen over friendship, earthly love, and personal desires. Do you have a friend that you have known all of your life? Would you literally do anything to save that person from trials and suffering? Drive hundreds of miles? Donate money? An organ? Lazarus was a dear friend to Jesus and he did not want to inflict the sorrows of death upon his family, but those sorrows were a part of God's plan for the village of Bethany.


Break It Down

Wait For God's Will (John 11:17-19)

Did you read this and the background verses thoroughly? Jesus stayed where he was and arrived four days after Lazarus had been placed in the tomb. Lazarus and his sisters were very close friends of Jesus. It would seem that Lazarus died on the day that Jesus learned of his illness. According to their customs, he would have been buried that same day. Jesus stayed where he was for two days longer and then took a day to travel to Bethany. [i] Would you have rushed to the bedside of your sick friend?

Fifteen furlongs is how far Jesus traveled to Bethany. In modern measurements, a furlong would be over 600 feet. Your own research may show 607 or 660 feet so we will just settle with a generalized "more than 600 feet." Fifteen furlongs will equate to about two miles. Now you may question why it took seasoned foot travelers a full day to walk two miles. Remember, though, that Jesus was rarely able to travel uninterrupted.

He couldn't hop in a limo and work on his most pressing issues while someone else did the driving. Jesus was continually thronged with people; whether they had a need to be met or just wanted to see the man able to perform such miracles. The Matthew Henry Commentary says that a blind man was healed and the well known Zaccheus conversion happened on this trip to Bethany. [ii] This trip to raise a man who had been dead for four days was coupled with additional events in a gradual buildup which climaxed with God's resurrection of His son from a borrowed tomb. The biggest difference between this resurrection and Jesus' own is that the soul of Lazarus was taken from God's presence to die again while Jesus was taken bodily from the tomb to sit at the right hand of God until his return to rapture all believers.

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