|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 44. - He that (had died and) was (up to that time) dead, came out (of the grave), bound feet and hands with grave-bands. The swathing of the limbs after the Egyptian fashion, each limb separately, renders the action most natural, because ἐξῆλθεν is used. Lazarus did not simply stand in his grave. The early commentators and Stier saw in this emergence of the swathed Lazarus an additional miracle, just as they augmented the force of the supposition involved in the ὄζει, into the fact that our Lord raised from death a putrefy-tug corpse. Both suppositions would be unnecessary adjuncts of the proof of the glory of God and power of Christ. Lucke and others refer to the habit of swathing separate limbs, but in such a way as not to impede motion if the person thus swathed desired it. Meyer and Godet see no necessity for the suggestion of the early writers. Kuinoel thinks that ἐξῆλθε was used of the mere struggle of the swathed body to escape. The above supposition is the most probable. So Westcott. (Κειρία, an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον of the New Testament, is used of girdle or bandage.) And his face was bound about with a napkin. The surrounding of the face with a sudarium is the touch of an eyewitness. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and suffer him to depart; the part which bystanders might perform; this was the wise advice of Friend and Teacher. (For similar injunctions of a physical and practical kind on other occasions, see Luke 7:15 and Luke 8:55.) The majestic miracle is no further pressed by the evangelist, but left to tell its own sublime meaning, which in the multiplicity of exegetical hypotheses we are in danger of missing.
"Behold a man raised up by Christ.
The rest remaineth unrevealed -
He told it not; or something sealed
The lips of that evangelist."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he that was dead came forth,.... That is, he who had been dead, being now made alive, and raised up, and set on his feet, came out of the cave:
bound hand and foot with grave clothes; not that his hands were bound together, and much less his hands and feet together, with any bands or lists of cloth; but his whole body, as Nonnus expresses it, was bound with grave clothes from head to foot, according to the manner of the eastern countries, Jews, Egyptians, and others, who used to wrap up their dead in many folds of linen cloth, as infants are wrapped in swaddling bands: and their manner was to let down their arms and hands close by their sides, and wind up altogether from head to foot: so that there was another miracle besides that of raising him from the dead; that in such a situation, in which he could have no natural use of his hands and feet, he should rise up, stand on his feet, walk, and come forth thus bound, out of the cave:
and his face was bound about with a napkin; the use of which was not only to tie up the chin and jaws, but to hide the grim and ghastly looks of a dead corpse; and one of the same price and value was used by rich and poor: for it is said (m),
"the wise men introduced a custom of using "a napkin", (the very word here used, which Nonnus says is Syriac,) of the same value, not exceeding a penny, that he might not be ashamed who had not one so good as another; and they cover the faces of the dead, that they might not shame the poor, whose faces were black with famine.''
For it seems (n),
"formerly they used to uncover the faces of the rich, and cover the faces of the poor, because their faces were black through want, and the poor were ashamed; wherefore they ordered, that they should cover the faces of all, for the honour of the poor.''
Jesus saith unto them; to the servants that stood by:
loose him, and let him go; unwind the linen rolls about him, and set his hands and feet at liberty, and let him go to his own house.
(m) Maimon. Hilchot Ebel, c. 4. sect. 1, (n) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 27. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
44. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him and let him go—Jesus will no more do this Himself than roll away the stone. The one was the necessary preparation for resurrection, the other the necessary sequel to it. The life-giving act alone He reserves to Himself. So in the quickening of the dead to spiritual life, human instrumentality is employed first to prepare the way, and then to turn it to account.
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