This is truly amazing! John ended the public ministry of Jesus with Lazarus and started with John the Baptist. He spent as much time on the last 48 hours as on the first 32 years. There are a total of 89 chapter in the gospels and only 4 chapters on the first 30 years on the life of Jesus. Out of the 89 chapters 85 deal with the last three years, and of the 85 chapters 27 have to do with the last eight days of Jesus’ life. Now, look how much time He spent on this one story of Lazarus. I believe the focus is as much on Martha and Mary. The lessons for us today are numerous:
The resurrection of Lazarus has been recorded only by John. Various reasons have been offered why the others did not mention the miracle. The most probable is that at the time they wrote Lazarus was still living and the miracle was well known, and yet to have written of it might have exposed Lazarus to persecution from the Jews. Besides, John wrote for Christians who were out of Palestine. The other gospels were written mainly for those who were in Judea and other parts of the world.
This is not speaking of the final resurrection, “sown in corruption and raised in incorruption.” The latter is speaking of the final resurrection. Lazarus was resurrected only to die again.
Bethany was a village on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. The town of Mary, meaning the place where she lived. Jesus spent considerable part of his time there when he was in Judea. The events in this chapter occurred nearly four months after those in chapter one. Those occurred in December, and these at the approach of the Passover in April.
Verse 20, Then Martha. It is possible that she was the first to hear of his coming,
and, without waiting to inform her sister, went immediately out to meet him.
Mary sat still in the house. The meaning is that she remained sitting in the house and this was the common posture of grief among the Jews.