John 11:54-57 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spoke among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think you, that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him.
From the day the Sanhedrin made its final decision to destroy Jesus (11:53), He no longer walked openly among the Jews. The raising of Lazarus was the last of three great miracles that brought this to a climax: There was the healing of the impotent man on the sabbath (John 5:1-16); the healing of the blind man on the sabbath (John 9:16, 22, 34); and raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:46-54).
Ephraim was a city about 32 kilometres north of Jerusalem near Bethel. Jesus stayed here about two months until the passover.
‘Jew’s passover’ It started out to be ‘the Lord’s Passover’ (Ex. 12:11, 27; Lev. 23:5; Num. 28:16), but now it had degenerated to be ‘the Jews’ Passover’ (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55). The feasts of the Lord (Lev. 23:2) had now become the feasts of the Jews (John 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; 11:56; 19:42). Even the commandments were nullified by the traditions of men (Matt. 15:1-9; 16:6-12).
‘Purify themselves’ in preparation of the passover they went through Levitical ceremonial cleansing from touching the dead and other unclean things (Num. 9:6-10).
The Jews sought for Jesus at the temple and wandered amongst themselves whether He would come to the feast. But the chief priests and Pharisees made a commandment, that, if anyone knew where Jesus was, they should reveal Him so that He can be arrested.