John 11:5-16 “The Love of Jesus for His friends”


I. Love, A special close relationship with Jesus.

(John 11:5)  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

            John has inserted in this story a note to the reader.  What Jesus does next is not to be misunderstood.  He lets the reader know that Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus.  This love is different from the love that Jesus has for every human being.  He loved us all with a very powerful love.  It is a love that is unconditional.  He loved us even when we did not love Him.  The love in this verse is a special love that Jesus had for this family.  It is a love which He had for John who wrote this Gospel.

            The verse says He loved Martha.  Martha, earlier had shown more interest in house work that listening to what Jesus had to say.  But Jesus loved her.  She was working so very hard to make things comfortable for Jesus.  She would do anything for Him.  She was a true friend of Jesus. Jesus loved Martha.

            Jesus loved Mary.  Mary sat at the feet of Jesus hanging on His every word.  She will later wash his feet with tears and anoint Jesus with very expensive ointment and will wipe his feet with her hair.  She cared more for Jesus than anything on earth.  Jesus loved Mary.

            Jesus loved Lazarus.  Lazarus opened his home to Jesus and welcomed Him with open arms.  Lazarus loved to spend time with Jesus.  Jesus loved Lazarus.

            Before we leave this verse let me ask you a question.  Does Jesus love you?  Do you, like Martha, work with all your might to help the cause of Christ? Do you, like Mary, spend as much of your time as possible letting Jesus speak to you and do you hang on His every word?  Do you, like Lazarus, welcome Jesus into your home and embrace Him there as a part of your daily life?  If so then be assured that Jesus loves you like He loved them.  If you do not have this close relationship with Jesus then draw close to Him now.


II. Love sometimes does not look like love.

(John 11:6)  When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

            Having firmly placed in our minds that Jesus loves this family we may know that His actions in no way are harmful or hurtful to this family.  Jesus is going to do for them that which is best. Love does just that.  It always has the best interest of the beloved in view.

            My grandson, Caleb, was defiant one day to his mother and father.  His mother took him into the next room and chastened him.  He cried and she made him lay down for a nap.  To view that scene one might think that her actions were mean and hurtful to her two year old son but the truth is that such actions are love based.  She loves her son and wants what is best for him.  So sometimes love does not seem like love.

            Jesus knows that there is great sorrow in the heart of His dear friends but for their good and for the Glory of God He acts out of love. He gave no indication to the messenger that He would come to Bethany and He gave no hint to His disciples about His plans.  As far as they knew Jesus had a very good reason for not going into Judea.


III. Love, overcomes fear.

(John 11:7)  Then after that saith he to [his] disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

            Jesus now tells His disciples that it is time to go back to Judaea again.  He had waited two days and as far as the disciples were concerned Lazarus was doing fine.  Jesus had said that his sickness was not unto death so they had not given Lazarus another thought.  Jesus did not say “let us go to Bethany” to see about Lazarus.  He is going to Judaea even though it is not an appointed time.  Jesus would normally go to Jerusalem for the feasts such as Passover but this time He is making a special trip. 

            The faith of the disciples is not tested in Perea.  The faith of the disciples is not strengthened in Perea but in Judaea.  The disciples need to go back to Judaea for in that environment they will grow in faith.  Jesus is making them face their fear.  Love overcomes fear. Loving Jesus will cause us to face our fears and overcome them through faith. 


(John 11:8)  [His] disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

            The disciples express their concern about this plan.  They were not concerned for themselves, or at least that is what they say, but for Jesus.  The Jews had indeed sought to stone Jesus and had tried to arrest Him.  The disciples question Jesus about the wisdom of such a move.  Jesus seems to have no fear of the Jews.  He seems to be so brave.  He seems to trust that His Father will take care of Him. It is for love of His disciples that He must go back into harms way.


IV. Love begets trust.

(John 11:9)  Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

(John 11:10)  But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

            Jesus gives them the assurance that they need.  If a man walks in the day time he will not stumble.  If he walks in the night he will stumble. Light is the knowledge of the truth and darkness is ignorance of that which is true.  Jesus had work to do and would do that work in about 33 short years.  He would not die before His appointed time. God the Father would protect Him while He went about doing His Father’s will. With this light, that is to say, this knowledge of truth Jesus could go right into the Temple and not fear what men might do to Him for He knew that the Father could, if needed, send legions of Angels to protect Him. 

            As long as we are doing the will of God we have nothing to fear. He has promised that He will never leave us not forsake us. Do not fear men, fear God. Doubt springs from darkness which is ignorance of the truth. Doubt cause the child of God to stumble.  Walk in the light of truth God is able to deliver you and to provide for your every need.

            More sure than the rising and setting of the Sun is the fact that Jesus will not die before He has accomplished all that the Father has sent Him to do.  You will not live one more minute longer or shorter than God intends.  You have a work to do for God in this life and you must redeem the time. Take advantage of every minute of every day. Walk in the light of this truth; that God will take care of you as you seek first His Kingdom.


V. Love begets comfort.

(John 11:11)  These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

            Jesus now lets His disciples know that Lazarus is dead.  Jesus knows everything.  He did not have to be told of the sickness nor of the death of Lazarus.  He is God and God knows everything. Death to Jesus is no more permanent than sleep.  To raise one from the dead is no more difficult for Jesus than for you and I to awake someone from sleep. Jesus is the almighty God. He is able to do anything.  He can calm the winds and the waves, He can feed thousands with five loaves and two fishes, He can heal the sick, give sight to the blind, cast out demons, and raise the dead.  He can even save the souls of lost men. He can not be killed. If He is to die He must lay down His life for men have no power over Jesus Christ the Lord. Men have no power over the Lord’s people but what God allows them to have.


(John 11:12)  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

 (John 11:13)  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

(John 11:14)  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

            His disciples misunderstand Jesus. They take His words literally. He said sleep so they thought He meant sleep. I am glad that the scriptures record such things as this. The disciples often misunderstood the things Jesus said and the thing He did. It is comforting to me that I am not alone.  I often scratch my head at the words and deeds of Jesus.

            Jesus tells them plainly that Lazarus is dead. He is as dead as can be.  He is not in a comma and they have not mistakenly buried him.  He is dead indeed. This must be understood.  Death is like sleep to the child of God. It is said of Stephen when He was stoned that he fell asleep. Sleep is not permanent it lasts only for a time and then it is ended by an awakening. Death for the child of God is death but it is not permanent. There will be a resurrection day.


(John 11:15)  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

            Jesus tells His disciples that He was glad that He was not there when Lazarus was sick and dieing. Had He been there they would have expected Him to heal Lazarus.  But Jesus has waited these two days for a very good reason. He is firmly establishing in everyone’s mind that Lazarus is dead, completely dead. His disciples still have a problem with their faith. They are still weak in their faith. They have proved this even in this text for they fear what will happen to Jesus if He goes back to Judaea.  They walk in darkness because of a lack of faith. They say they have faith but faith without works is dead being alone. The evidence of faith is comfort in a time of trouble.

            They do not believe that Jesus is God.  If they did they would have no fear of men.  They would be able to sleep though the ship be tossed by the storm.  They would not puzzle over how to feed so many with so little. They would go boldly wherever

VI. Love begets sacrifice.

(John 11:16)  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

            Thomas is to be admired here. He is willing to die with Jesus. His words are brave but when they are but to the test Thomas will forsake the Lord as will all of the disciples.  Thomas is called Didymus. This word means “twin.” It is supposed that he had a twin brother and thus he was called twin. What ever the reason he is designated as that Thomas and not another of the same name. It is that Thomas which will later say “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Such lack of faith after all that he had seen Jesus do is inexcusable.

            Jesus is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. His disciples need to know that Jesus has power over death. The grave can not hold God’s children.  The grave can not hold the only begotten Son of God either. If they will but have faith and walk in the light of this great truth they will have nothing to fear. There will be no need for tears.  No one is going to take the life of Jesus from Him, He will lay it down voluntarily.  He will give His life that all may be saved. Jesus will die but not now, not on this occasion. Thomas loved the Lord and I believe that by going with Jesus into Judaea he proved His love for the Lord. Love begets sacrifice for if you truly love the Lord you will, like so many martyrs who have gone before us, be willing to sacrifice your life for the cause of your Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.