Red Letter Year: 11/15

John 11.1-10

1 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples,“Let’s go back to Judea.”

8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”

9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.”


One of the things we are prone to when reading the Gospels (and all the Bible really) is to focus solely on the primary characters. We focus so much attention on the Twelve (and really only 3 or 4 of those) and the various religious leaders arguing with Jesus, but we also need to pay attention to those with seemingly secondary roles. Here we see that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were dear friends of Jesus, probably closer to him than the Twelve at this point (Jesus makes a point of beginning to call them friends just before his arrest). Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha – so much that he went back to Judea despite the death threats in order to heal Lazarus. In a way, this goes with what we read this week about Jesus’ having sheep we don’t know about.

I think that’s enough to think about for today, this family that had no standing in the burgeoning church leadership structure and were nonetheless dear friends with Jesus. We will see next week that this friendship shows up as amazing trust in Jesus, well beyond anyone else in John so far. But for today, spend some time thinking about Jesus having (some non-work) friends.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.