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1: One Lazarus - It is probable, Lazarus was younger than his
sisters. Bethany is named, the town of Mary and Martha, and
Lazarus is mentioned after them, (Joh 11:5).
Ecclesiastical history informs us, that Lazarus was now thirty
years old, and that he lived thirty years after Christ's ascension.
2: It was that Mary who afterward anointed, &c. She was more
known than her elder sister Martha, and as such is named before her.
4: This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God - The
event of this sickness will not be death, in the usual sense of
the word, a final separation of his soul and body; but a
manifestation of the glorious power of God.
7: Let us go into Judea - From the country east of Jordan, whither
he had retired some time before, when the Jews sought to stone him,(Joh 10:39,40).
9: Are there not twelve hours in the day? - The Jews always
divided the space from sunrise to sunset, were the days longer
or shorter, into twelve parts: so that the hours of their day
were all the year the same in number, though much shorter in
winter than in summer. If any man walk in the day he stumbleth
not - As if he had said, So there is such a space, a determined
time, which God has allotted me. During that time I stumble
not, amidst all the snares that are laid for me. Because he
seeth the light of this world - And so I see the light of God
10: But if a man walk in the night - If he have not light from God;
if his providence does no longer protect him.
11: Our friend Lazarus sleepeth - This he spoke, just when he died.
Sleepeth - Such is the death of good men in the language of heaven.
But the disciples did not yet understand this language. And the
slowness of our understanding makes the Scripture often descend
to our barbarous manner of speaking.
16: Thomas in Hebrew, as Didymus in Greek, signifies a twin.
With him - With Jesus, whom he supposed the Jews would kill.
It seems to be the language of despair.
20: Mary sat in the house - Probably not hearing what was said.
22: Whatsoever thou wilt ask, God will give it thee - So that she
already believed he could raise him from the dead.
25: l am the resurrection - Of the dead. And the life - Of the
living. He that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he
live - In life everlasting.
32: She fell at his feet - This Martha had not done. So she makes
amends for her slowness in coming.
33: He groaned - So he restrained his tears. So he stopped them
soon after, (Joh 11:38).
He troubled himself - An expression amazingly elegant, and full of
the highest propriety. For the affections of Jesus were not
properly passions, but voluntary emotions, which were wholly in
his own power. And this tender trouble which he now voluntarily
sustained, was full of the highest order and reason.
35: Jesus wept - Out of sympathy with those who were in tears all
around him, as well as from a deep sense of the misery sin had
brought upon human nature.
37: Could not this person have even caused, that this man should
not have died? - Yet they never dreamed that he could raise him
again! What a strange mixture of faith and unbelief.
38: It was a cave - So Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their
wives, except Rachel, were buried in the cave of Machpelah,(Ge 49:29-31). These caves were commonly in rocks, which
abounded in that country, either hollowed by nature or hewn by
art. And the entrance was shut up with a great stone, which
sometimes had a monumental inscription.
39: Lord, by this time he stinketh - Thus did reason and faith
40: Said I not - It appears by this, that Christ had said more to
Martha than is before recorded.
41: Jesus lifted up his eyes - Not as if he applied to his Father
for assistance. There is not the least show of this. He wrought
the miracle with an air of absolute sovereignty, as the Lord of
life and death. But it was as if he had said, I thank thee, that
by the disposal of thy providence, thou hast granted my desire,
in this remarkable opportunity of exerting my power, and showing
forth thy praise.
43: He cried with a loud voice - That all who were present might
hear. Lazarus, come forth - Jesus called him out of the tomb as
easily as if he had been not only alive, but awake also.
44: And he came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes
- Which were wrapt round each hand and each foot, and his face
was wrapt about with a napkin - If the Jews buried as the
Egyptians did, the face was not covered with it, but it only
went round the forehead, and under the chin; so that he might
easily see his way.
45: Many believed on Him - And so the Son of God was glorified,
according to what our Lord had said, (Joh 11:4).
46: But some of them went to the Pharisees - What a dreadful
confirmation of that weighty truth, If they hear not Moses
and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one
rose from the dead!
47: What do we? - What? Believe. Yea, but death yields to the
power of Christ sooner than infidelity.
48: All men will believe - And receive him as the Messiah. And
this will give such umbrage to the Romans that they will come
and subvert both our place - Temple; and nation - Both our Church
and state. Were they really afraid of this? Or was it a fair
colour only? Certainly it was no more. For they could not but
know, that he that raised the dead was able to conquer the Romans.
49: That year - That memorable year, in which Christ was to die.
It was the last and chief of Daniel's seventy weeks, the
fortieth year before the destruction of Jerusalem, and was
celebrated for various causes, in the Jewish history. Therefore
that year is so peculiarly mentioned: Caiaphas was the high
priest both before and after it. Ye know nothing - He reproves
their slow deliberations in so clear a case.
50: It is expedient that one man should die for the people - So God
overruled his tongue, for he spake not of himself, by his own
spirit only, but by the spirit of prophecy. And thus he gave
unawares as clear a testimony to the priestly, as Pilate did to
the kingly office of Christ.
52: But that, he might gather into one - Church, all the children
of God that were scattered abroad - Through all ages and nations.
55: Many went up to purify themselves - That they might remove all
hinderances to their eating the passover.