Day 102: The Death of Lazarus

John 10:1-21 Christ spoke of himself using two related images: He is the Good Shepherd who guides his flock and is willing to lay down his life for them, and He is also the Sheepfold, the gateway by which his sheep enter eternal life. THe Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Exekiel referred to the people of Israel as “the flock” and their leaders as “shepherds,” and Psalm 23 speaks explicitly of the Lord as a shepherd who guards, protects, and cares for his sheep. (CCC 574, 582, 596, 754, 764)

Ch 10:3 Calls his own sheep...leads them out: A sheep pen might have included several different flocks of sheep led by several different shepherds. They would be kept together for the night while someone stood guard and then taken back out to pasture in the morning. Each shepherd would call his own sheep, and they would recognize his voice and follow him out of the sheepfold. The analogy calls for the faithful to recognize the voice of Christ so they may follow him wherever he leads them. The faithful of the Church are the sheepfold that enters through the gate, which is CHRIST. (CCC 1706)

Ch 10:11 The good shepherd: God was ultimately the shepherd of Israel, though he appointed human shepherds such as Moses and Joshua, who spoke on his behalf; Christ is the Good Shepherd from the line of David that was prophesied by Ezekiel (cf. Ex 34:11-24). In the Church, the bishops are shepherds of the faithful in their diocese, assisted by their priests and deacons, who serve their parishes. (CCC 553, 894-896, 1465, 2686)

Ch 10:16 Other sheep:  A reference to the Gentiles, whom Christ invited to become part of the new flock, the Church. Through her teaching and witness to the faith, the Church brings the Gospel message to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. (CCC 60)

Ch 10:17-18 The Sacrifice of Christ made reparation for the sins of the world. Since he is the Son of God, consubstantial (one in being) with the Father and the Holy Spirit, his Sacrifice took on a value with no limits. He rose again on the third day by virtue of his own divine power. (CCC 606, 609, 614, 638, 651-655, 649)

Ch 10:22-30 The Feast of the Dedication of the Temple, or HANUKKAH, marks the reconsecration of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus after it had been desecrated by the Hellenist leader Antiochus IV Epiphanes (cf. 1 Mc 4:36-59; 2 Mc 10:1-8). 

Tell us plainly: Jesus was somewhat guarded in revealing his identity as the Messiah to his enemies, possibly to allow him time to complete his mission of teaching and preaching before being subjected to his Passion and Crucifixion. (CCC 548, 582-583, 593)

Ch 10:30 I and the Father are one:  This statement is part of Christ’s gradual revelation of God’s TRIUNE ESSENCE. Christ had previously referred to God as his Father, and here he stated that they are ONE AND THE SAME. This statement reveals that Christ is CONSUBSTANTIAL (one in being) with the Father though a distinct Person. At the Last Supper, Christ will speak about the Holy Spirit, thereby revealing God as a Trinity of Persons. This doctrine of the Trinity can ONLY be known with the light of DIVINE REVELATION. (CCC 590)

Ch 10:31-42 Christ was being accused of blasphemy; therefore, plans began to emerge for his arrest. He invited those who opposed him to recognize at least that his works were prompted by God..

Many came to him: Though some influential people conspired against him, many others came to believe. (CCC 574, 5889,594)

Ch 10:35-38 Scripture cannot be nullified: The Old Testament retains its authority even under the New Covenant, which supersedes but does NOT abolish the Old Covenant. 

Him who the Father consecrated: Consecrated means “set apart as holy.” Christ was making a reference to the consecration of the Temple on its feast. Christ referred to his own Body as a Temple.

Sent into the world: Just as the Father consecrated the Son and sent him into the world to fulfill his mission, so does Christ consecrate his followers to continue his work on earth within their particular states of life. 

Believe the works: The miracles performed by Christ manifest his divine powers and consequently point to his divine nature. (CCC 242, 262, 444,548,591)

Ch 11:1-44 In the raising of Lazarus, Christ showed not only that he has power to raise the dead to life but also that he himself is the Resurrection and the life. This dramatic occurrence is a sign of his future Resurrection and the general resurrection that will take place on the LAST DAY, when  Christ will raise those who have died in faith and lead them to everlasting life and the damned to eternal punishment. (CCC 994, 1001)

Ch 11:1-5 Christ had a particularly close friendship with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. 

Mary who anointed the Lord: This referred to an incident that is not related until the next chapter (Cf. Jn 12:1-8)

Not unto death: Lazarus would indeed die a physical death, but Christ knew he would raise him back to physical life. (CCC 1939, 2347)

Ch 11:6 Christ waited two days before leaving for Bethany knowing that Lazarus would be already dead. Upon his arrival, he would work his most spectacular miracle by bringing Lazarus back to life after he had been in the tomb for four days. The raising of Lazarus prefigures his own Resurrection from the dead (TYPOLOGY!!). (CCC 640)

Ch 11:7-16 Bethany is just two miles from Jerusalem so going to the home of Lazarus meant re-entering Judea, where Jewish leaders were already plotting Christ’s capture. The danger was not lost on him or his Apostles.

Fallen asleep: Since the baptized will live forever in the life of the resurrection, the death of their bodies has only limited effect and thus is a kind of sleep from which they will be awakened; the Apostles understood Christ’s words in their ordinary sense.

Let us also go...die with him: Thomas showed courage, but it would not hold up after Christ was betrayed. (CCC 2473, 2506)

Ch 11:21-22 Although Martha’s faith and hope in Christ and his power to raise Lazarus from the dead was evident, she did not ask him to perform a miracle. She accepted his will ENTIRELY. (CCC 1817-1818)

Ch 11:24 Most Jews of the first century, including the Pharisees, believed in a resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees were a Jewish sect that did not. (CCC 993)

Ch 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life: Essentially an affirmative statement of Christ’s divinity. Our hope for resurrection and eternal life hinges ENTIRELY upon Christ’s Resurrection and his redemption. Through his Death and Resurrection, the faithful will rise from the dead and enter eternal life. (CCC 994)

Ch 11:33-35 Jesus wept: Being perfect man, Christ had strong feelings of sorrow at the death of a loved one. Even though Christ knew that he would soon raise Lazarus from the dead, he felt great human empathy for the suffering of Lazarus and identified with the grief of his family and friends. (CCC 472, 531)

Ch 11:39 Dead four days: For first-century Jews, bodily decay was thought to begin four days after death. The Resurrection of Christ took place on the third day in part to fulfill a prophecy that his Body would not experience the corruption of death (cf. Ps 16:9-10). (CCC 472, 627)

Ch 11:41-43 Father, I thank you...that you sent me: Giving us an example of prayer, Christ showed that he prayed to the Father FREQUENTLY. He began with a prayer of THANKSGIVING to instruct us that God the Father, in his love, will always bestow what is best to those who are docile to his will. (CCC 2604)

Ch 11:43: Loud voice: A sign of the resurrection of the last day, when Christ will call forth the dead to rise upon hearing his voice. The language he used in raising Lazarus from the dead is similar to the language used in EXORCISMS. It shows Christ’s ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY over death. (CCC 1001)

Ch 11:44 The resurrection of Lazarus is qualitatively different from the resurrection on the last day or Christ’s own Resurrection. Lazarus was brought back to his former life before his death and, therefore, would experience physical death once again. The resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgement is not a resumption of EARTHLY LIFE but a rejoining of the souls of the just to their physical bodies in a glorified state as they enter ETERNAL LIFE. The glorified Body of Christ after his Resurrection gives us an idea of what our own glorified state might be like in Heaven. (CCC 640,646)

Ch 11:45-57 The Pharisees and chief priests, alarmed by the miracle of the raising of Lazarus, resolved to take Christ into custody and somehow put him to death. The approaching Passover feast would present an opportune time to seize him since he would be in Jerusalem for the celebration. (CCC 548, 593)

Ch 11:48 Romans will come and destroy...our nation: Some of the Jewish leaders were afraid of the popularity of Christ and of any possible uprising that might give the Romans the opportunity to destroy the Temple and their nation. (CCC 596)

Ch 11:49-52 This statement of Caiaphas became a prophecy but not in the way he imagined. He believed Christ had to die to save the nation of Israel from the oppression of the Romans; in fact, Christ had to die in order to save ALL HUMANITY from sin and death. (CCC 457)

Ch 11:52 In addition to breaking the relationship of God with humanity, soon also caused strife within the human family. God’s response was to save humanity INCREMENTALLY, nation by nation, people by people, until he could unite all people once again. The descendants of Abraham comprised the Chosen People whence would come the Savior of the world. Unity and justice will be restored to the world to the degree that individuals accept the saving graces of Christ’s Redemption. (CCC 56-60, 517, 521, 706, 1987, 1995, 2793)

Ch 12:1-11 Each of the Gospels includes a story of a woman anointing the feet of Christ, but only John identifies her. John tells us the woman was MARY OF BETHANY, the SISTER OF LAZARUS, whom Christ had raised from the dead in the previous chapter.

Ch 12:7 For the day of my burial: This anointing was a foreshadowing of the Death of Christ. Jewish ritual provided for the anointing of the body before burial, but as Christ died just before the beginning of the Sabbath, he was buried without anointing. (CCC 641)

Ch 12:8 Providing for the needs of the poor is a great virtue and Christ often identified himself with the poor and the needy of the world (cf. Mt 25:40), but lavish generosity with God certainly does not detract from those in need. (CCC 2449)

Ch 12:9-11 Lazarus was targeted by the enemies of Christ because of the many converts won by his resurrection. Even his rising from the dead did not move the chief priests to believe because their HEARTS WERE HARDENED (POP QUIZ!! Who else have we read about on our journey so far who had a HARDENED HEART? There is more than just the one person you all are going to say...Give your answer in the Comment Section of the Facebook Group Post 😁). Conversion requires a “new heart” transformed by faith and the Grace of God. (CCC 1432)

Ch 12:12-19 Christ’s renown had spread widely with the news of Lazarus’s coming back to life, and so the crowds in Jerusalem awaited him excitedly. Their chant as he entered Jerusalem (cf. Ps 118:26) indicated their belief that he was the Messiah, the King of Israel. The event is celebrated in the liturgical calendar as Palm Sunday. Christ knew well that he was going to Jerusalem in order to die. (CCC 557)

Ch 12:13 Hosanna: This means literally “save us.” 

Hosanna! of the Lord:  This shout of joy and petition comprises part of the Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy…”) in the Mass. It was commonly sung at Jewish feasts. (CCC 559)

Ch 12:15-16 The prophecy (cf. Zec 9:9) cited here describes a king who comes in peace riding on an ordinary donkey rather than a political or military leader riding on a majestic horse. 

Then they remembered: An indication of the Holy Spirit at work among the Apostles after his descent upon them at Pentecost. The Apostles became enlightened to understand events and teachings of Christ that they did not comprehend during his time on earth and were able to see how he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. (CCC 558, 624)

Ch 12:20-36 Christ announced that his “hour”-the time for the supreme Sacrifice of his Passion and Death-had come. His words indicated his full knowledge and consent for the type of Death he was about to die and his acceptance of his Father’s will. (CCC 569)

Ch 12:24 The image of the grain of wheat is loaded with meaning. The grain of weight points to the Holy Eucharist in which the Sacrifice of Christ becomes REALLY PRESENT. As we die to ourselves in union with him, especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we become OTHER CHRISTS. (CCC 2731)

Ch 12:27-28 Soul: In this context it refers to the very depth of a person’s being. Christ knew the path he was about to undertake, the agony he had to endure, and the enormity of its implications to suffer, die, and rise again was the very purpose for which he was sent by the Father. He embraced the Father’s will completely and so unhesitatingly desired to fulfill it. (CCC 363, 607)

Ch 12:31 Ruler of the world: The Devil, or SATAN, held the whole world in his grasp  since the FALL OF ADAM AND EVE. Christ, who demonstrated his power to cast out demons, would defeat Satan through his Sacrifice  on the Cross and firmly establish his kingdom. (CCC 550, 2853)

Ch 12:32 When I am lifted up: John uses this phrase THREE TIMES; it is a reference to Christ’s Crucifixion as well as his Ascension. The wording evokes the bronze serpent that Moses raised up to save the Israelites who had been bitten by poisonous serpents (cf. Nm 21:8). It is also reminiscent of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, who would be rejected by his own people but later lifted up for all to see (cf. Is 52:13-53:12). 

Will draw all men to myself: The distinction between Jew and Gentile IS NO MORE. Through his Death and Resurrection, Christ beckoned ALL PEOPLE of ALL NATIONS to come to him for salvation and to gather as one PEOPLE OF GOD. Christians are called to place Christ at the center of all human activity through their efforts to grow in holiness amid their daily activities. (CCC 542, 662, 786, 1428, 2795)

Ch 12:34 The Old Testament spoke of a king and priest who would rule for eternity. This is true of Christ, although his kingdom is not of this world. (CCC 2855)

Ch 12:35-36 Those who follow the light follow Christ; those who reject Christ walk in darkness. (CCC 49, 748)

Ch 12:37-50 Despite all that has gone before-his preaching, his profound wisdom, his multiplication of the loaves and fishes, his miraculous cures, and even his raising of Lazarus-MANY WOULD STILL NOT BELIEVE IN CHRIST. Yet, many DID BELIEVE, including some in high positions, although secretly so as not to risk contempt by the Pharisees. (CCC 582, 595)

Ch 12:41 Isaiah gave one of the clearest prophecies of the coming Messiah (cf. 11:1-2). (CCC 712)

Ch 12:44-50 This summary of Christ’s teaching attests to his divinity, his authority from the Father, and his role in salvation history. He was sent by the Father to speak on his behalf and to be the Light of the World. Ultimately, we bring judgement upon ourselves by our works that can either reflect love of God or a refusal to accept God’s invitation to salvation and everlasting life. (CCC 679, 1039, 2466)

Proverbs 6:1-19 Those who have been entrusted with leadership positions or have a high profile have a particular duty to live virtuous lives and give good example to others. (CCC 166, 2495)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

“Jesus if you are who you say you are, then I am who you say I am. And you say that I am yours. So let me be yours.”

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We give you glory. Father, we get to hear how the Son of God, Jesus Christ, speaks to you. How he calls you “Father”. How he calls you “Abba”. How he calls you “Dad”. And because he has given us your Spirit, you also are made into our Dad and we as your sons and daughters, we come before you now, DAD, and we say THANK YOU. WE PRAISE YOU, DAD. Dad, our God and Father, you are good. Help us.  Help us to live as your sons and daughters every moment of every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”


When Jesus reveals himself to be the Good Shepherd, he makes mention of another flock not of the fold of Israel: the gentiles. But together they still are one flock. And so in the Great Commission, he commands his disciples to go make disciples of all nations, so they all, though many, may become One Body in Christ.

Here we read about Jesus celebrating the feast of Hanukah, a major festival not instituted directly by God in the Torah through Moses, but instituted by the Maccabees. One could say it is a man-made tradition, but Jesus, the Son of God, did not reject it such. He kept it.

When the Sanhedrin decided Jesus must die for the sake of Israel, their reason was because they feared that Rome would destroy Jerusalem and the temple because of him. They were right in some ways: Jesus died for sake of all, but would not remain dead for long. And ultimately Rome would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, not directly because of Jesus, but because the Jews, who had an unholy alliance with Rome to persecute Christians, eventually rebelled against Rome. It's like an ironic self fulfilling prophecy the likes of Oedipus in Greek mythology.

What's the deal with the palms? And why is Jesus riding on a donkey? The palms serve as a sign of victory and triumph, the people of Israel proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, the king of Israel. If the king rides off on a horse, he wages war. But if he rides in on a donkey, he comes in peace.

Palm Sunday serves as both a call back and a look ahead: A call back to the Davidic kingdom, when David instructed to have his son Solomon be anointed the next king of Israel, riding on David's mule, while the people rejoiced. Now Jesus, the Messianic King has come in peace to restore and elevate the Davidic Kingdom. It also looks ahead to when Jesus will come again at the end of time, resurrect the dead, and bring all his people to the heavenly Jerusalem, to victory, and eternal peace. And so we see in John's Apocalypse a multitude of people from all nations that can't be counted wacing palm branches and rejoicing for Salvation through Jesus.