Taking a cue from the end of chapter 10 referencing John the Baptist, Carson sees chapter 11 of John as the start of a new segment (Carson 1991, 403). In John 11:1-44 the death of Lazarus is described (Carson 1991, 403). Counter to critics, Carson sees the Lazarus incident as showing all signs of an authentic account of a real event (Carson 1991, 404). John’s identification of the family suggests that they were known to the readers, possibly from other accounts (Carson 1991, 405). Jesus receives a message that Lazarus is ill. In verse four he asserts that the sickness will not “end” Lazarus. Carson notes this as an event in which Jesus intends to show his glory (Carson 1991, 406). Carson discusses the logistics of the various journeys briefly. He conclude that the trip made to notify Jesus would have taken about two days each way (Carson 1991, 408). Jesus’ delay assures us that the only way Lazarus could live was by divine intervention. He had been dead for several days before Jesus arrived. Jesus’ eventual comments that Lazarus has died make it clear that to God death is very much like sleep. Jesus intends to raise the dead (Carson 1991, 410). The response of Thomas in verse 16 is very bold. Thomas is willing to go and die also.
Carson notes that in verse 17 the Jews came to visit Mary and Martha. Because their village is close to Jerusalem he concludes that these people were from there and that Lazarus’ family was well known (Carson 1991, 411). The family is moved with gief. Jesus states rather ambiguously that Lazarus will rise. He then, in verse 25, begins to show that Lazarus will rise soon (Carson 1991, 412). Jesus is here making statements that show his people as possessing eternal life now, as well as later (Carson 1991, 413).
John 11:28-37 takes Mary and a number of visitors to the tomb. Mary also expresses her grief, as does Jesus (Carson 1991, 415). Carson considers some explanations of Jesus’ sorrow, but concludes that it is complex and unexplained (Carson 1991, 416).Jesus goes on in verses 38-44 to raise Lazarus from the dead. Carson describes tombs and the recognized location of Lazarus’ tomb (Carson 1991, 417). Jesus’ prayer emphasizes his unity with the Father. He then calls Lazarus to life. Carson notes that in Lazarus’ resurrection he is still bound. When Jesus rises from the dead he leaves his grave clothes behind (Carson 1991, 419).
Following the raising of Lazarus, people put their faith in Jesus. The Pharisees were consulted. Carson notes that the Sanhedrin was mostly Sadducees (Carson 1991, 420). The concern expressed is that Jesus could spark an uprising and anger Rome. The Sanhedrin does consider the matter. Carson briefly considers the identity of the high priest. Caiaphas and the politicized nature of the priesthood (Carson 1991, 421). John identifies Caiaphas’ statements as prophetic (vv. 51-52). It is best for Jesus to die on behalf of the peopl (Carson 1991, 422).
The third Passover mentioned by John begins at 11:55. Carson notes the importance of purification prior to the Passover. Jesus, however, needs no purification (Carson 1991, 424).
Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.