What does John 11:44 mean?
ESV: The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
NIV: The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.'
NASB: Out came the man who had died, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.'
CSB: The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unwrap him and let him go."
NLT: And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, 'Unwrap him and let him go!'
KJV: And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Verse Commentary:
Some of Jesus' miracles were done with little or no preparation, such as granting sight to a blind man (John 9:1–7). Some were done with few people knowing there was a miracle at all, or that Jesus was even involved (John 2:7–10). Some took time to develop or become obvious (John 6:9–14). In contrast, Jesus has set this miracle up for maximum dramatic impact. This is the seventh of seven "signs" indicated by the gospel of John. The purpose of those signs is to prove that Jesus is divine (John 20:30–31).

In keeping with that purpose, Jesus predicted the outcome of His visit to the disciples (John 11:11–15). He waited to arrive until Lazarus' death was absolutely beyond debate (John 11:39). He allowed a crowd to form (John 11:31; 35–37). He publicly prayed to God, connecting His power to the Father's approval (John 11:41–42). And He gave a dramatic, authoritative command for a dead man to leave his grave (John 11:43).

One can only imagine the bedlam erupting after Lazarus did exactly that. In front of many witnesses, Jesus opened a grave and called out to a putrefying corpse—and that person walked out of the tomb alive and healthy, still tangled in grave clothes. Unique among His many miracles, this was a moment of deliberate spectacle. The impact on the people, even those who did not witness it, is immense. Many of those who greet Jesus a few days later, at the triumphal entry (John 12:12–19), are inspired by His ability to raise the dead.

As the next verses show, many of those who witnessed the miracle interpreted it correctly: they believed in Jesus (John 11:45). Others did not (John 11:46). Still others are so hardened and stubborn that they seek an extreme response of their own (John 11:53; 12:10–11).
Verse Context:
John 11:38–44 describes the seventh and final miraculous ''sign'' recorded in the gospel of John. This is by far the most spectacular, as Jesus restores life to a man who has been dead for four days. Lazarus' death is confirmed to the point that his family hesitates to open his tomb, fearing what a putrefying corpse will smell like. For the benefit of the crowd, Jesus prays loudly, then commands Lazarus to arise. Lazarus does so, still wrapped in his burial shrouds. This display of divine power only increases the resolve of Jesus' enemies to have Him killed as soon as possible.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus has left the vicinity of Jerusalem to avoid hostile religious leaders. While gone, He receives word that a good friend, Lazarus, is sick. In fact, Lazarus has died by the time this message reaches Jesus. He purposefully waits a few days before returning to Bethany, arriving four days after Lazarus' burial. In front of Lazarus' mourning sisters—who Jesus weeps with—and an assembled crowd, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in a stirring and spectacular miracle. This is the seventh of John's seven ''signs'' of Jesus' divine power. In response, religious leaders coordinate in their effort to have Jesus murdered.
Chapter Context:
After giving sight to a man born blind (John 9), Jesus sparred with religious leaders on at least two occasions (John 10). After another failed arrest attempt, Jesus left the area and went out where Jerusalem's politics had little influence. In this chapter, He returns to resurrect a recently-departed friend, Lazarus. That results in a renewed commitment from Jerusalem's religious leaders to have Jesus murdered. As the crucifixion draws near, Jesus will stage His triumphal entry in chapter 12, and then begin His final teachings to the disciples.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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