Lectionary Year A
March 21, 1999
John 11:1-45

Step IV: Broader Context


v38 Vertical shaft tombs were more common for private burial than horizontal cave tombs. Stones were used to keep animals away.
v39 Dead four days. Rabbinic thought was that the soul of a dead person hovered around a body for three days, but that on the fourth day resuscitation was hopeless.
v41 Looking upward was considered a prelude to prayer--see Luke 18:13 the publican did not feel worthy to lift his head.
v44 The appearance of grave clothes on Lazarus possibly suggested that he would die a second death. this, especially in light of the fact that when Jesus was raised, his grave clothes were left behind, implying that he would never again die. John 20:6-7

The glory that Jesus talked about in v. 40 occurred not at the resurrection of Lazarus, but ultimately at the crucifixion, which resulted directly from the attention given to Jesus after he raised Lazarus. see vs 53.

Chapter 11 acts out the promises made in chapter 5
5:25 I am the resurrection and the life.
28-29 An hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear his voice and will come forth...


Regarding Jesus' prayer in vs 41-42, Elijah prayed a similar prayer at Mt. Carmel before the prophets of Baal for the express purpose of "pointing" to the Lord. 1 Kings 18:37

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