John 11:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 11:5, NIV: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

John 11:5, ESV: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

John 11:5, KJV: "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus."

John 11:5, NASB: "(Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus.)"

John 11:5, NLT: "So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus,"

John 11:5, CSB: "Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus."

What does John 11:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Scripture is light on details about the relationship between Jesus and these three siblings. We see Mary and Martha following Jesus' teachings (Luke 10:38–42), and He presumably lodged at their home several times (Matthew 21:17). Several other verses in this passage allude to Jesus' close friendship with Lazarus (John 11:3; 36). This connection explains why the sisters would have sent an urgent message to Jesus when Lazarus fell ill.

Jesus' reply in the prior verse, as it turns out, comes after Lazarus' death. In fact, by the time the messenger got to Jesus in Bethabara, Lazarus would have died earlier that same day. We can piece together a timeline from the rest of this passage, showing that Jesus' response to the sisters is given when Lazarus is already dead (John 11:4). Although their brother is already buried, Jesus will reassure them that his illness won't lead to death.

This demonstrates the nature of God's loving truthfulness. Hearing Jesus' reply would have been confusing, much as Abraham would have been confused when he was commanded to sacrifice his own son (Genesis 22:1–2). However, God has plans in mind that human beings can only fully grasp in hindsight (Genesis 22:12–14; John 11:41–44).