|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:33-46 Christ's tender sympathy with these afflicted friends, appeared by the troubles of his spirit. In all the afflictions of believers he is afflicted. His concern for them was shown by his kind inquiry after the remains of his deceased friend. Being found in fashion as a man, he acts in the way and manner of the sons of men. It was shown by his tears. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Tears of compassion resemble those of Christ. But Christ never approved that sensibility of which many are proud, while they weep at mere tales of distress, but are hardened to real woe. He sets us an example to withdraw from scenes of giddy mirth, that we may comfort the afflicted. And we have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. It is a good step toward raising a soul to spiritual life, when the stone is taken away, when prejudices are removed, and got over, and way is made for the word to enter the heart. If we take Christ's word, and rely on his power and faithfulness, we shall see the glory of God, and be happy in the sight. Our Lord Jesus has taught us, by his own example, to call God Father, in prayer, and to draw nigh to him as children to a father, with humble reverence, yet with holy boldness. He openly made this address to God, with uplifted eyes and loud voice, that they might be convinced the Father had sent him as his beloved Son into the world. He could have raised Lazarus by the silent exertion of his power and will, and the unseen working of the Spirit of life; but he did it by a loud call. This was a figure of the gospel call, by which dead souls are brought out of the grave of sin: and of the sound of the archangel's trumpet at the last day, with which all that sleep in the dust shall be awakened, and summoned before the great tribunal. The grave of sin and this world, is no place for those whom Christ has quickened; they must come forth. Lazarus was thoroughly revived, and returned not only to life, but to health. The sinner cannot quicken his own soul, but he is to use the means of grace; the believer cannot sanctify himself, but he is to lay aside every weight and hinderance. We cannot convert our relatives and friends, but we should instruct, warn, and invite them.
Verse 42. - And I knew that thou hearest me always, but because of the multitude which standeth around I said it, that they may believe that thou didst send me. This great utterance declares all the intimate relation which subsists between the Father of all and the Son in Jesus. A continuous absolute communion is ever going on between heaven and earth in the heart of Jesus. His consciousness of the Father is a door opened in heaven. Alas! these words have been a stumbling-block to many; have suggested to Baur the idea of a "show-prayer," and to Weisse a "deceptive prayer" (schaugebet), and to Strauss that they were introduced into a later but in-authentic narrative of the second century to establish the Divinity of Christ. The simple fact is that the words are not "petition" at all, but they are spoken thought and Divine communion, graciously unveiled for the advantage of the disciples. They are built upon the wonderful assurance which had been repeatedly given by our Lord of his union with and association in unique Personality with the Father. We see from John 16:29-31 that the profound desire occupying the heart of Jesus was that his disciples, first of all, should know that he came out from God, and almost with pathetic eagerness he asks them, "Do ye now believe?" But in John 17:21 he shows that his wishes were not limited to the faith of disciples, but extended to the production of a like conviction in the κόσμος. Here he says, after a pause, "I know that thou art hearing me always." There is no surprise in the discovery that Lazarus was as he really is. Christ's own prayers are always heard, even those in Gethsemane and on the cross (cf. Hebrews 5:7, εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας). I said it for the multitude that standeth around. The use of ὄχλον περιεστῶτα rather than Ἰουδαίους reveals the genuine language of our Lord rather than that of the evangelist. To what does he refer, what saying has he uttered for the sake of this miscellaneous group? Surely to the great declaration, "I thank thee that thou heardest me." His reason for the audible utterance of his gratitude is, "That they may believe that thou didst send me." If he had not uttered this thanksgiving, the multitude would have glorified him rather than his Father, nor would they have learned, as now they may, that he came forth from God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I knew that thou hearest me always,.... Which was not only a support to the faith of Christ, as man, but is also to his people, whose advocate, intercessor, and mediator he is.
But because of the people which stand by, I said it; that he was heard, and always heard by God; and, therefore must have great interest in his affection, and knowledge of his will; yea, their wills must be the same:
that they may believe that thou hast sent me: for if he had not sent him, he would never have heard him in anything, and much less in everything; wherefore this was a full proof, and clear evidence of his divine mission.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
42. And—rather, "Yet."
I knew that thou hearest me always, but because of the people that stand by I said it, that they might believe that thou hast sent me—Instead of praying now, He simply gives thanks for answer to prayer offered ere He left Perea, and adds that His doing even this, in the audience of the people, was not from any doubt of the prevalency of His prayers in any case, but to show the people that He did nothing without His Father, but all by direct communication with Him.
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