John 11Bethany; a village near Jerusalem—Mary and her sister Martha. They are mentioned Luke 10:38-42.
Which anointed the Lord, &c.; afterwards, as narrated 12:3-9.
He abode, &c.; to allow time for the results of the sickness of Lazarus to be fully developed.
Sought to stone thee; as described 10:31, and 39.
Are there not twelve hours, &c. The meaning seems to be that man may go forward in the discharge of his duty, at the proper time for its performance, safely and without fear. There is a light which will protect and guide him. It is when he attempts to walk in the night,—that is, to go where, or to do what, he ought not,—that he must expect to stumble and fall.
That I was not there; to heal him of his sickness, instead of, as now, restoring him from the dead.
Didymus; the twin.—That we may die with him; with Jesus, who, he supposed, was going into the extreme of danger, Bethany being very near to Jerusalem.
Even now, &c. This is not to be understood as an intimation from Martha that Lazarus might be restored to life, as is evident from the conversation which follows. The meaning is, that even now she did not doubt his power, although he had not been present to exercise it, in saving her brother.
He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. This account of Jesus being so overwhelmed with grief, at the grave of a friend whom he knew that he was in a few moments going to recall again to life, is one of those representations appearing at first view at variance with probability and the laws of the human mind, but, on closer examination, found to be entirely in accordance with them, which constitute a strong internal evidence of the honest historical fidelity of these narratives. Imagination would have pictured the Savior, under such circumstances as these, calm, composed, and, in consequence of his anticipation of the result, rising above all the emotions and sufferings of the scene. But this idea would rest on a superficial view. Grief is not of the nature of regret, its for a loss or a disappointment. It is a form of affection. It is love, as modified, when the object of it lies silent, cold, and lifeless,—a victim of the merciless destroyer. Grief may be mingled with regret for a loss, and with many other painful feelings; but it is, in its own nature, distinct from them all; and it rises spontaneously at the simple contemplation of a beloved object, dead, whatever may be the other circumstances that attend the bereavement. A mother, while dying herself, will mourn the death of her infant child, though, by the event, she expects to preserve, not lose, its society. And so the feelings of Jesus would naturally be as strongly moved to grief by this event, and by witnessing the scene of suffering and sorrow which it occasioned, as if he had been a Sadducee, and supposed that his lost friend had been blotted out of existence forever. In the pictures which the sacred writers have drawn, there are many such touches as this, so profoundly true to nature, in fact, and yet so apparently unnatural, that they would have required far greater knowledge and art, than these simple historians possessed, for their invention, as elements of interest in a fabricated story.
Four days. If we allow one day for the messenger to go to the place beyond Jordan, where Jesus was, and one day for Jesus to come to Bethany, it will appear that Lazarus must have died about the time that the messenger left him.
Bound hand and foot; entirely enveloped in grave clothes.
Ye know nothing at all. He said this in reply, probably, to those speakers in the council who had opposed putting Jesus to death.
He meant that it was better that Jesus should die, whether he were guilty or not, rather than that the displeasure of the Romans should be incurred, and the whole nation be destroyed.
That is, he was led by the divine Spirit to utter words susceptible of a prophetic interpretation,—so different from the meaning which he intended to convey.
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