|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-11 Christ had formerly blamed Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not leave off serving, as some, who when found fault with for going too far in one way, peevishly run too far another way; she still served, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words. Mary gave a token of love to Christ, who had given real tokens of his love to her and her family. God's Anointed should be our Anointed. Has God poured on him the oil of gladness above his fellows, let us pour on him the ointment of our best affections. In Judas a foul sin is gilded over with a plausible pretence. We must not think that those do no acceptable service, who do it not in our way. The reigning love of money is heart-theft. The grace of Christ puts kind comments on pious words and actions, makes the best of what is amiss, and the most of what is good. Opportunities are to be improved; and those first and most vigorously, which are likely to be the shortest. To consult to hinder the further effect of the miracle, by putting Lazarus to death, is such wickedness, malice, and folly, as cannot be explained, except by the desperate enmity of the human heart against God. They resolved that the man should die whom the Lord had raised to life. The success of the gospel often makes wicked men so angry, that they speak and act as if they hoped to obtain a victory over the Almighty himself.
Verse 2. - There, therefore, they made him a supper, and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. John does not tell us in whose house "they made the dinner" or supper, and unless Simon the leper (Matthew 26:6 and Mark 14:3) is a member of the family (or, as some suggest, the husband of Martha), we cannot suppose that it was in the quiet home of Bethany that this feast in honor of Jesus was held, but that it took place, as the synoptists positively declare, "in the house of Simon the leper." Simon may easily have been one of the many lepers whom our Lord had healed, and whose soul was filled with accordant gratitude. At that table there would be seated two transcendent; proofs of the power of Jesus to save, not only from the semblance but from the reality of death (see Meyer; Matthew 26:6). We wonder, with Godet, that Meyer should reject this simple supposition as "spurious harmony." All that is here stated is in agreement with it:
(1) that Martha should have shown her reverence by serving her Lord, according to her wont, not necessarily as hostess (Hengstenberg and Lange), but as the expression of her devoted thankfulness;
(2) that Lazarus should have been one of those who sat at meat, reclined at table, with him, i.e. took a position as a guest, like himself; and
(3) that Mary should have poured forth her costly spikenard, in royal self-forgetting love. The conduct of all the three thus mentioned is compatible with the fact stated in the synoptic narrative, that the festival was celebrated in the house of Simon the leper. Our Lord had commented, in the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:44, etc.), on the absence of the customary anointing with oil. Mary knew of this, and resolved that, whatever the woman who was a sinner had done, no similar act of neglect should occur on that memorable evening. A chronological discrepancy renders an identification of the synoptic narrative of Matthew with this story perplexing. In Matthew 26:2 we are brought to within two days of the Passover, whereas here we cannot well be less than five days before it. However, there is nothing in Matthew 26:6-13 which indubitably declares the date of the supper The "two days" may refer to the date of Judas's treachery, after mentioning which he goes back to an event which furnished occasion and temptation to the avaricious mind of Judas.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There they made him a supper,.... At Bethany, in the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary; by whose order, and at whose charge it was prepared for him; and not in the house of Simon the leper, which was four days after this, Matthew 26:2.
And Martha served; who was always a busy, active, and stirring woman; and this she did, to testify her love to Christ, and great respect for him; otherwise, as she was a person of substance, she had servants enough to wait at table:
but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him; and ate, and drank, and conversed; by which it appeared, that he was really risen from the dead, and was in a good state of health.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Martha served—This, with what is afterwards said of Mary's way of honoring her Lord, is so true to the character in which those two women appear in Lu 10:38-42, as to constitute one of the strongest and most delightful confirmations of the truth of both narratives. (See also on Joh 11:20).
Lazarus … sat at the table—"Between the raised Lazarus and the healed leper (Simon, Mr 14:3), the Lord probably sits as between two trophies of His glory" [Stier].
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