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1: Six days before the passover - Namely, on the Sabbath: that
which was called by the Jews, "The Great Sabbath." This whole week
was anciently termed "The great and holy week." Jesus came - From
Ephraim, (Joh 11:54).
2: It seems Martha was a person of some figure, from the great
respect which was paid to her and her sister, in visits and
condolences on Lazarus's death, as well as from the costly
ointment mentioned in the next verse. And probably it was at
their house our Lord and his disciples lodged, when he returned
from Jerusalem to Bethany, every evening of the last week of his
life, upon which he was now entered.
3: Then Mary, taking a pound of ointment - There were two persons
who poured ointment on Christ. One toward the beginning of his
ministry, at or near Nain, (Lu 7:37), &c. The other six days
before his last passover, at Bethany; the account of whom is
given here, as well as by St. Matthew and Mark.
7: Against the day of my burial - Which now draws nigh.
10: The chief priests consulted, how to kill Lazarus also - Here
is the plain reason why the other evangelists, who wrote while
Lazarus was living, did not relate his story.
12: The next day - On Sunday. Who were come to the feast - So that
this multitude consisted chiefly of Galileans, not men of Jerusalem.(Mt 21:8).
13: (Ps 118:26,Mr 11:8,Lu 19:36) .
15: Fear not - For his meekness forbids fear, as well as the end
of his coming.(Zec 9:9).
16: These things his disciples understood not at first - The design
of God's providential dispensations is seldom understood at first.
We ought therefore to believe, though we understand not, and to
give ourselves up to the Divine disposal. The great work of
faith is, to embrace those things which we knew not now, but
shall know hereafter. When he had been glorified - At his ascension.
17: When he called Lazarus out of the tomb - How admirably does
the apostle express, as well the greatness of the miracle, as
the facility with which it was wrought! The easiness of the
Scripture style on the most grand occurrences, is more sublime
than all the pomp of orators.
18: The multitude went to meet him, because they heard - From
those who had seen the miracle. So in a little time both joined
together, to go before and to follow him.
20: Certain Greeks - A prelude of the Gentile Church. That these
were circumcised does not appear. But they came up on purpose
to worship the God of Israel.
21: These came to Philip of Bethsaida in Galilee - Perhaps they
used to lodge there, in their journey to Jerusalem. Or they
might believe, a Galilean would be more ready to serve them
herein, than a Jew. Sir - They spake to him, as to one they were
little acquainted with. We would see Jesus - A modest request.
They could scarce expect that he would now have time to talk with them.
23: The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified - With
the Father and in the sight of every creature. But he must suffer first.
24: Unless a grain of wheat die - The late resurrection of Lazarus
gave our Lord a natural occasion of speaking on this subject.
And agreeable to his infinite knowledge, he singles out, from
among so many thousands of seeds, almost the only one that
dies in the earth: and which therefore was an exceeding proper
similitude, peculiarly adapted to the purpose for which he uses
it. The like is not to be found in any other grain, except
millet, and the large bean.
25: He that loveth his life - More than the will of God; shall
lose it eternally: and he that hateth his life - In comparison
of the will of God, shall preserve it.(Mt 10:39).
26: Let him follow me - By hating his life: and where I am - In
heaven. If any man serve me - Thus, him will the Father honour.
27: Now is my soul troubled - He had various foretastes of his
passion. And what shall I say? - Not what shall I choose? For
his heart was fixed in choosing the will of his Father: but he
laboured for utterance. The two following clauses, Save me from
this hour - For this cause I came - Into the world; for the sake of
this hour (of suffering) seem to have glanced through his mind
in one moment. But human language could not so express it.
28: Father, glorify thy name - Whatever I suffer. Now the trouble
was over. I have glorified it - By thy entrance into this hour.
And I will glorify it - By thy passing through it.
29: The multitude who stood and heard - A sound, but not the
distinct words - In the most glorious revelations there may remain
something obscure, to exercise our faith. Said, It thundered
- Thunder did frequently attend a voice from heaven. Perhaps it
did so now.
31: Now - This moment. And from this moment Christ thirsted more
than ever, till his baptism was accomplished. Is the judgment
of this world - That is, now is the judgment given concerning it,
whose it shall be. Now shall the prince of this world - Satan,
who had gained possession of it by sin and death, be cast out
- That is, judged, condemned, cast out of his possession, and out
of the bounds of Christ's kingdom.
32: Lifted up from the earth - This is a Hebraism which signifies
dying. Death in general is all that is usually imported. But
our Lord made use of this phrase, rather than others that were
equivalent, because it so well suited the particular manner of
his death. I will draw all men - Gentiles as well as Jews. And
those who follow my drawings, Satan shall not be able to keep.
34: How sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? - How can
these things be reconciled? Very easily. He first dies, and
then abideth for ever. Who is this Son of man? - Is he the Christ?(Ps 110:4).
35: Then Jesus said to them - Not answering them directly, but
exhorting them to improve what they had heard already. The
light - I and my doctrine.
36: The children of light - The children of God, wise, holy, happy.
37: Though he had done so many miracles before them - So that they
could not but see them.
38: The arm of the Lord - The power of God manifested by Christ,
in his preaching, miracles, and work of redemption.(Isa 53:1).
39: Therefore now they could not believe - That is, by the just
judgment of God, for their obstinacy and wilful resistance of
the truth, they were at length so left to the hardness of their
hearts, that neither the miracles nor doctrines of our Lord
could make any impression upon them.
40: (Isa 6:10,Mt 13:14,Ac 28:26).
41: When he saw his glory - Christ's,(Isa 6:1), &c. And it is there expressly said to
be the glory of the Lord, Jehovah, the Supreme God.
44: Jesus said with a loud voice - This which follows to the end
of the chapter, is with St. John the epilogue of our Lord's
public discourses, and a kind of recapitulation of them.
Believeth not on me - Not on me alone, but also on him that sent
me: because the Father hath sent the Son, and because he and the
Father are one.
45: And he that seeth me - By the eye of faith.
47: I judge him not - Not now: for I am not come to judge the world.
See, Christ came to save even them that finally perish! Even
these are a part of that world, which he lived and died to save.
50: His commandment - Kept, is life everlasting - That is the way to
it, and the beginning of it.