John 11:28-44

John 11:28-44
A Women’s Lectionary – Seventh Sunday of Easter


28 When she had said this, she went backA and calledB her sisterC MaryD and told her privately,E “The TeacherF is hereG and is calling for you.” 

Notes on verse 28

A “went back” = aperchomai. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (to come or go). This is to depart, follow, or go off in a literal or figurative sense.
B “called” = phoneo. From phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is to call out, summon, shout, address. It is making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument.
C “sister” = adelphe. From adelphos (brother in a literal or figurative sense); {from a (with, sharing) + delphus (womb)}. This is sister in a literal or figurative sense.
D “Mary” = Maria. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
E “privately” = lathra. 4x in NT. From lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares). This is secretly or privately.
F “Teacher” = didaskalos. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is teacher or master.
G “is here” = pareimi. From para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + eimi (to be, exist). This is to be near, to be there, to come.

29 And when she heardH it, she got upI quicklyJ and wentK to him. 

Notes on verse 29

H “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
I “got up” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
J “quickly” = tachu. 12x in NT. From tachus (quickly, promptly; without unreasonable delay). This is quickly, but not immediately. It is without undue delay.
K “went” = erchomai. Related to “went back” in v28. See note A above.

30 Now JesusL had not yet comeM to the villageN

Notes on verse 30a

L “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
M “come” = erchomai. Same as “went” in v29. See note K above.
N “village” = kome. This is a village as contrasted with a city that has a wall.

but wasO still at the placeP where MarthaQ had metR him. 

Notes on verse 30b

O “was” = eimi. Related to “is here” in v28. See note G above.
P “place” = topos. This is a place or region. It is a smaller space that can only hold a limited number of people whereas chora is a larger place. Figuratively it could be an opportunity.
Q “Martha” = Martha. 13x in NT. From Aramaic marta (mistress, lady); from mar (master). This is Martha. See also (
R “met” = hupantao. 10x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + antao (to meet with personally) OR from hupo (see above) + anti (opposite, instead of, against). This is to encounter someone or to go to meet them.

31 The JewsS who were with her in the houseT consolingU her

Notes on verse 31a

S “Jews” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
T “house” = oikia. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is a house, household, goods, property, family, or means.
U “consoling” = paramutheomai. 4x in NT. From para (from beside, by, alongside of) + mutheomai (to speak); {from muthos (speech, story, myth, tale); perhaps from the same as mueo (to initiate someone into the secrets or mysteries of an order; to instruct learn, be disciples; properly, shutting your mouth and eyes to experience mystery); from muo (shutting eyes or mouth)}. This is comforting in a sympathetic or encouraging way. It could also be to console or exhort.

sawV Mary get upW quicklyX and go out.Y

Notes on verse 31b

V “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
W “get up” = anistemi. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to raise up, rise, appear. It is to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect.
X “quickly” = tacheos. Related to “quickly” in v29. 10x in NT. From tachus (see note J above). This is quickly, soon, promptly.
Y “go out” = exerchomai. Related to “went back” in v28 & “went” in v29. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (see note A above). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.

They followedZ her because they thoughtAA that she was goingBB to the tombCC to weepDD there. 

Notes on verse 31c

Z “followed” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
AA “thought” = dokeo. From dokos (opinion). This is to have an opinion, seem, appear, think, suppose. It deals with a personal judgment. This is the root of the word “doxology.”
BB “going” = hupago. From hupo (by, under, under the authority of) + ago (lead, bring, guide, spend, drive, carry). This is to lead under so to depart, go away, or die. It is to lead away under the command of someone else, being given a mission or objective to carry out.
CC “tomb” = mnemeion. From mousikos (to remember); from mneme (memory or mention); from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is properly a memorial – a tomb, grave, monument.
DD “weep” = klaio. This is to weep, lament, or sob. It is weeping aloud.

32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she kneltEE at his feetFF and said to him, “Lord,GG if you had been here, my brotherHH would not have died.”II

Notes on verse 32

EE “knelt” = pipto. This is to fall literally or figuratively.
FF “feet” = pous. This is foot, literal or figurative.
GG “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
HH “brother” = adelphos. Related to “sister” in v28. See note C above.
II “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.


33 When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came withJJ her also weeping, he was greatly disturbedKK in spiritLL and deeply moved.MM 34 He said, “Where have you laidNN him?”

Notes on verses 33-34a

JJ “came with” = sunerchomai. Related to “went back” in v28 & “went” in v29 & “go out” in v31. From sun (with, together with) + erchomai (see note A above). This is to go with, assemble, leave together with, cohabit.
KK “greatly disturbed” = embrimaomai. 5x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + brimaomai (snorting due to anger). This is affected by anger, stern admonishment, scolding, or being deeply moved. It is snorting displeasure or anger or roaring from rage. It can also mean to blame, sigh or murmur against someone.
LL “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breathe, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
MM “deeply moved” = tarasso. 18x in NT. This is trouble, agitate, stir up. It is motion back and forth, creating inner turmoil or confusion, roiling water.
NN “laid” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.

They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”OO 

35 Jesus began to weep.PP 36 So the Jews said, “SeeQQ how he lovedRR him!” 

Notes on verses 34b-36

OO “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
PP “weep” = dakruo. 1x in NT. From dakruon (teardrop). This is to cry, shed tears.
QQ “see” = idou. Same as “see” in v34. See note OO above.
RR “loved” = phileo. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person). This is friendship love and fondness with personal attachment.

37 But some of them said, “CouldSS not he who openedTT the eyesUU of the blindVV man have keptWW this man from dying?”

Notes on verse 37

SS “could” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
TT “opened” = anoigo. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + oigo (to open). This is to open in  literal or figurative sense.
UU “eyes” = ophthalmos. Related to “saw” in v31. From optanomai (to appear, be seen by); from horao (see note V above). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
VV “blind” = tuphlos. Derivation unclear. Perhaps from tuphoo (to be conceited, foolish, puffed up, haughty; properly, to blow smoke; figuratively being muddled or cloudy in mind; poor judgment that harms spiritual clarity; also, being covered with smoke – so filled with pride); from tuphos (smoke, vanity, arrogance); from tupho (to raise smoke, smolder, slowly consume without flame). This is blind or a blind person – perhaps in the sense of smoke making things opaque and impossible to see. This is blind literally or figuratively.
WW “kept” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.

38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave,XX and a stoneYY was lyingZZ against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take awayAAA the stone.”

Notes on verses 38-39a

XX “cave” = spelaion. 6x in NT. From speos (cave, grotto). This is a cavern, which implies a place to hide. So, this word can also mean den or hideout. This is the word used for “den of robbers” in Matthew 21:13. Also, this is where the word “spelunk” comes from.
YY “stone” = lithos. This is stone in a literal or figurative sense.
ZZ “lying” = epikeimai. 7x in NT. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + keimai (to lie, recline, be placed, lie outstretched, be appointed). This is to lie up, impose, insist, oblige, press on.
AAA “take away” = airo. This is to lift up in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could mean to lift, carry, or raise. It could also imply lifting something in order to take it away or remove it. Figuratively, this can be used for raising the voice or level of suspense. It can mean sailing off as raising the anchor. It can also correspond to a Hebrew expression for atonement of sin (lift/remove sin).

Martha, the sister of the dead man,BBB said to him, “Lord, already there is a stenchCCC because he has been dead four days.”DDD 

Notes on verse 39b

BBB “dead man” = teleutao. 13x in NT. From teleute (end, finishing, consummation; can also be used for death); from teleo (to complete, fulfill, accomplish, end); from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one). This is to complete or come to the end/end goal. It can also mean to finish life or to meet one’s ultimate fate in heaven or hell.
CCC “is a stench” = ozo. 1x in NT. This is to stink, make a bad small.
DDD “four days” = tetartaios. 1x in NT. From tessares (four; figuratively, can mean total inclusion or universality). This is fourth day.

40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believedEEE you would seeFFF the gloryGGG of God?”HHH 

Notes on verse 40

EEE “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
FFF “see” = horao. Same as “saw” in v31. See note V above.
GGG “glory” = doxa. Related to “thought” in v31. From dokeo (see note AA above). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
HHH “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lookedIII upward and said, “Father,JJJ I thankKKK you for having heard me. 

Notes on verse 41

III “looked” = airo + ho + ophthalmos. Literally, “lifted his eyes.” Airo is the same as “take away” in v39. See note AAA above. Ophthalmos is the same as “eyes” in v37. See note UU above.
JJJ “Father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
KKK “thank” = eucharisteo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); {from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards)}. This is giving thanks, being thankful. It is a recognition that God’s grace is good and actively showing gratitude. It can also be used for saying grace before eating. This is where “eucharist” comes from.

42 I knewLLL that you alwaysMMM hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowdNNN standing here,OOO so that they may believe that you sentPPP me.” 

Notes on verse 42

LLL “knew” = eido. Related to “see” in v34. See note OO above.
MMM “always” = pantote. From pas (all, every, each) + tote (then, whether past or future); {from hote (when); from ho (the)}. This is literally every when. It is always, at all times.
NNN “crowd” = ochlos. Perhaps from echo (to have, hold, possess). This is a crowd, the common people, a rabble. Figuratively, it can refer to a riot.
OOO “standing here” = periistemi. Related to “get up” in v31. 4x in NT. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + histemi (see note W above). This is to stand around, surround, be a bystander, avoid.
PPP “sent” = apostello. Related to “get up” in v31 & “standing here” in v42. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (see note W above)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.

43 When he had said this, he criedQQQ with a loudRRR voice,SSS “Lazarus,TTT comeUUU out!” 

Notes on verse 43

QQQ “cried” = kraugazo. 9x in NT. From krauge (a very emotional shout or cry generally or clamor against someone else; a cry of alarm, trouble, or grief); from krazo (to cry out, scream, shriek; onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call; figuratively, this is means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt). This is to cry, shout, clamor. It is a screaming or shrieking that is often impossible to understand exact words in. It is sound expressing feeling/urgency. Properly, this refers to loud animal sounds.
RRR “loud” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
SSS “voice” = phone. Related to “called” in v28. See note B above.
TTT “Lazarus” = Lazaros. 15x in NT. From Hebrew Elazar (God has helped or God is helper); {from el (God, a god) + azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid)}. This is Lazarus or Eliezer, meaning “God has helped” or “God is helper.”
UUU “come” = deuro. 9x in NT. This is come here, hither, hence, now, until now.

44 The dead manVVV came out,WWW his handsXXX and feet boundYYY with strips of clothZZZ

Notes on verse 44a

VVV “dead man” = thnesko. Related to “died” in v32. 9x in NT. See note II above.
WWW “came out” = exerchomai. Same as “go out” in v31. See note Y above.
XXX “hands” = cheir. This is the hand in a literal sense. Figuratively, the hand is the means a person uses to accomplish things so it can also mean power, means, or instrument.
YYY “bound” = deo. To tie, bind, compel, put in chains. This is to bind in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean declaring something unlawful.
ZZZ “strips of cloth” = keiria. 1x in NT. This is bandage or grave cloths. It could be a winding sheet.

and his faceAAAA wrappedBBBB in a cloth.CCCC

Jesus said to them, “UnbindDDDD him, and letEEEE him go.”FFFF

Notes on verse 44b

AAAA “face” = opsis. Related to “saw” in v31 & “eyes” in v37. 3x in NT. From horao (see note V above). This is seeing, face, features, appearance.
BBBB “wrapped” = perideo. Related to “bound” in v44. 1x in NT. From peri (about, around, concerning) + deo (see note YYY above). This is to tie around or enwrap.
CCCC “cloth” = soudarion. 4x in NT. From Latin sudarium (sweat cloth) This is a napkin, face cloth, or handkerchief. It can be used as a towel to wipe sweat from the face or a cloth for the head of a corpse.
DDDD “unbind” = luo. This is to loose, release, or untie. Figuratively, it can mean to break, destroy, or annul. This is releasing what had been withheld.
EEEE “let” = aphiemi. From apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send). This is send away, release, permit, forgive, allow to depart, discharge, or send forth.
FFFF “go” = hupago. Same as “going” in v31. See note BB above.

Image credit: “Jesus and Lazarus: Part 2” by LUMO Project.

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