|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.
Verses 45-57. -
(4) The effect of the miracle (sign) upon the multitude and on the authorities. Their final resolve, and its bearing upon the great sacrifice of Calvary. Verses 45, 46. - Many therefore of the Jews which came to Mary, and beheld that which he did, believed on him; but certain of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. Πρὸς τὴν, Μαρίαν. Here Mary is named alone, as the sister who was most deeply afflicted by the death of Lazarus, and most in need of friendly consolation (cf. also John 5:1). This clause may be read so as to include those who went to communicate the startling intelligence to the Pharisees among the πολλοὶ of the Jews who went to comfort Mary and who "believed;" on the ground that οἱ ἐλθόντες is in apposition with πολλοὶ, not (according to the text of D, τῶν ἐλθόντων) with Ἰουδαίων. This, however, would imply that all of them believed, and that the τινὲς went to the Pharisees with no hostile intent (Meyer); but why should not ἐξ αὐτῶν refer to the Ἰουδαίων, implying another set not of the friends of Mary (Godet)? The remark would then be in harmony with the fact to which the evangelist continually calls attention, that Christ's miracles and words produced a twofold effect, and made a frequent division among the Jews, thus bringing to light who were and who were not his true disciples. The same facts excited faith in some and roused animosity in others. The great sign has been dividing men into hostile camps ever since. As Browning's Arab physician said-
"'Tis well to keep back nothing of a case.
This man (Lazarus) so cured regards the Curer then
As - God forgive me - who but God himself,
Creator and Sustainer of the world,
That came and dwelt in flesh on it awhile...
The very God! Think, Abib; dost thou think?
So the All-great were the All-loving too;
So through the thunder comes a human voice,
Saying, 'O heart I maple, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself.'"
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then many of the Jews which came to Mary,.... To her house, to comfort her, and that came along with her to the grave:
and had seen the things which Jesus did; in raising the dead body of Lazarus, and causing him to walk, though bound in grave clothes:
believed on him; that he was the true Messiah: such an effect the miracle had on them; so that it was a happy day for them, that they came from Jerusalem to Bethany to pay this visit.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
45, 46. many … which … had seen … believed … But some … went … to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done—the two classes which continually reappear in the Gospel history; nor is there ever any great work of God which does not produce both. "It is remarkable that on each of the three occasions on which our Lord raised the dead, a large number of persons was assembled. In two instances, the resurrection of the widow's son and of Lazarus, these were all witnesses of the miracle; in the third (of Jairus' daughter) they were necessarily cognizant of it. Yet this important circumstance is in each case only incidentally noticed by the historians, not put forward or appealed to as a proof of their veracity. In regard to this miracle, we observe a greater degree of preparation, both in the provident arrangement of events, and in our Lord's actions and words than in any other. The preceding miracle (cure of the man born blind) is distinguished from all others by the open and formal investigation of its facts. And both these miracles, the most public and best attested of all, are related by John, who wrote long after the other Evangelists" [Webster and Wilkinson].
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