Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Mary, Martha and Lazarus were friends of Jesus. He spent time in their home, enjoying their fellowship and the care they lavished on Him. Martha was the busy bee, working and serving, while Mary preferred to just sit and listen to Jesus.
There is more than one way to show love.
Lazarus doesn’t become central to their story until this incident, in which Lazarus becomes very ill and dies.
They lived in Bethany, an area very familiar to Jesus in His ministry.
Bethany was located on the western tip of the Dead Sea, just a little east of Jerusalem and north of Bethlehem.
And so the scene is set for this dramatic event.