Text:   John 11:1-45 (emphasis on verses 21-27)

Date:   March 17, 2002




Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance
A.        Comparison of English or other published translations

·        Verse 25 – “I am the resurrection and the life” (NRSV, NIV, NASB, NLT, KJV, NKJV, ASV) vs. “I am the resurrection” (New Jerusalem)

·        Verse 24 – “at the last day” (NIV, KJV) vs. “on the last day” (NRSV, NASB, New Jerusalem) vs. “at the end of time” (Message)

B.         Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism

·        Verse 25 phrase “and the life” omitted in several witnesses, including Diatessaronsyr Cyprian Paulinus-Nola

·        Added to anticipate “will live” at end of v. 25 and “everyone living” in verse 26?

·        Omission by accident?

·        Omission because v. 24 notes “resurrection” only

·        Included based on significance, age, and diverse witnesses that do include

·        Verse 24 phrase “on the last day” en te eschate hemera  cannot be found anywhere else in NT

·        “I believe” in verse 27

·        perfect tense verb pisteuo

·        John uses for formal confessions of faith


C.                 One's Own Rough Translation

·        “Said therefore Martha to Jesus: Lord, if you were here, would have not died the brother of mine.  And now I know that whatever things you ask God will give you God.  Says to her Jesus: will rise again your brother.  Says to him Martha: I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day.  Said to her Jesus: I am the resurrection and the life; the one believing in me even should he die will live, and everyone living and believing in my by no means dies unto the age; believe you this?  She says to him: Yes Lord; I have believed that you are the Christ the Son of God the into the world coming one.”

Step II - Disposition
A.        Genre - How the text says what it says

·        Begins almost as complaint

·        Similar to lament psalm type?

·        John moves it from complaint to identification of Christ to confessional statement

·        Familiar pattern of John helping the reader to know what difference the incarnation makes


B.         Personal Interaction - Questions and observations

·        Was Martha angry?

·        Is her statement a complaint

·        Is it mere regret

·        Remorse

·        Grief

·        Is this story really about Lazarus?

·        Whose resurrection is more central to the story

·        Lazarus

·        Jesus

·        What consoles Martha more

·        Raising of Lazarus

·        Identification of Jesus as Christ

·        Life-giving Messiah

·        Does it matter if we leave out the “and the life” phrase as several witnesses suggest?


C.                 Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located

·        The complaint is found in Martha’s statement: “If you had been here”

·        Ifs and buts spur regret

·        The relief is found in the “I am” statement of Jesus

·        Ifs and buts don’t matter


Step III - Composition
A.        Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope

·        The story follows Jesus’ introduction of his shepherd imagery early in chapter 10 and his later discussions with the Jews who sought to stone him for blasphemy

·        The story precedes Jesus’ anointing at Bethany and his triumphal entry into Jerusalem

·        May well be the precipitating event for Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion

·        Near the conclusion of Jesus’ public ministries


B.                 Organization of the Compositional Whole

·        Again, John’s gospel wants the reader to know what difference the incarnation makes

·        In this story, the difference is seen in the two-fold parallel

·        Believer dies yet lives

·        Believer lives and believes and therefore never dies

·        The difference is belief

·        Unbelief voids Jesus’ offer of transformed life


C.                 Issues of Authorship


Step IV - Context
A.        Primitive Christianity

·        Story itself not repeated in synoptic gospels

·        Verse 11 – sleep as euphemism for death

·        Acts 7:60, I Corinthians 15:6 (Gr. fallen asleep)


B.                 Old Testament and Judaism

·        Complaints part of Jewish faith language

·        Psalms 4, 13, 22, etc.

·        Complaint itself does not negate piety

·        May even enhance Martha’s confidence/confession


C.                 Hellenistic World

·        Resurrection at the end time/last day common among Jews in Roman and Hellenistic periods

·        Daniel 12:1, 2 Maccabees 7:9


Step V - Distillation
A.        Summary of Salient Features

·        Martha loses her brother to death

·        Upset

·        Angry

·        Angry with Jesus?

·        Jesus comes to Martha

·        Too late?

·        Martha intimates so at first

·        Jesus talks to Martha

·        Not about Lazarus

·        About himself

·        Giver of life

·        “I am the resurrection and the life”

·        Not just some future event

·        Power right now


B.                 Smooth Translation

·        “Martha then said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you were here my brother would not have died.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’  Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day.’  Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in me, even if he should die, he will live, and everyone living and believing in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?’  Martha said, ‘Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’


C.                 Hermeneutical Bridge

·        Replacement value

·        Insurance term

·        Used to indicate that cost of replacement is not the responsibility of the policy holder

·        Policy holder’s only responsibility is to pay premium

·        You lose your stuff, you get it replaced with new

·        No additional charge

·        Jesus’ replacement value

·        Replaces whatever we have lost

·        Our responsibility is premium of belief

·        Replacing our losses ourselves doesn’t work

·        Instead, seek relationship with the agent


Step VI - Contemporary Address
A.        Description of Audience

·        UM congregation, mostly rural, in season of Lent

·        In process of difficult replacement of sanctuary


B.                 Intended Goals for the Address

·        Identify with loss

·        We all lose

·        Things

·        People

·        Introduce the restorer

·        Jesus restores

·        Premium of belief

·        Replacement not free

·        Cost found at cross

·        Difference the incarnation makes


C.                 Address