|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.
Verses 9-11. -
2. The effects of the great sign. Verse 9. -
(1) On much people of the Jews. The article (ὁ), which the best texts introduce before ὄχλος πολὺς, gives to these words an almost technical force. The huge multitude of the Jews - the surging crowd of ever-gathering pilgrims blended with the "common people," the bulk of the population of Jerusalem and its neighborhood (John 11:55, 56) - therefore - because, i.e., of the rumors of the feast, the news of the royal consecration and sacred anointing, which had taken place in honor of Jesus and his last great miracle - learned that he was there - that he had left his unknown place of retirement at Ephraim. We gather from the synoptic narrative that he had joined the pilgrim-throng, advancing first into Jericho, and then, after a night spent there, had moved onwards to Bethany. The dispersion of hundreds of these excited followers into Jerusalem had again bruited abroad the fact of the resurrection of Lazarus, and, by reason of the Lord's return to Bethany, the Jerusalem-party at length learned where he was. Ὁ ὄχλος ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων shows an antithesis intended between the Judaean and the Galilean crowds. These the synoptists describe as "those that went before, and those that followed after." And they came, not for the sake of Jesus only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he raised from the dead. Jesus was not the only attraction; the risen man Lazarus was a rival in popularity, and by this ocular, tangible specimen of the supernatural resources of Jesus, they would deepen their interest and strengthen their convictions. Many of this Jerusalem populace, on account of him (Lazarus), and the fact of his resuscitation (ὑπῆγον), went away, perhaps, though not necessarily so, "apostatized," from the high-priestly party, from the hostile party in the capital, and separated themselves from the open but desperate plot against the Divine Master, and believed on Jesus - threw in their part and lot with the Lord and his disciples. This roused the malignity of the unspiritual and unscrupulous party of Caiaphas, of Annas, and of the Pharisees in the Sanhedrim
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Much of the people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there,.... That is, many of the Jews that dwelt at Jerusalem, knew that Jesus was at Bethany; for it being but two miles from Jerusalem, the report of his being come soon reached thither:
and they came from Jerusalem to Bethany,
not for Jesus' sake only; to see him, and hear him, and observe what he said and did:
but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead; that is, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, as the Alexandrian copy, and the Ethiopic version express it; for it equally excited their curiosity, to see the person that had been dead, and was raised from the dead, as to see him who raised him: and it is very likely before they had no opportunity of seeing him; it may be he did not appear publicly before, but kept himself retired; but now Jesus being come, he showed himself openly; which the Jerusalem Jews being informed of, induced them to come to see both the one and the other.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9-11. Crowds of the Jerusalem Jews hastened to Bethany, not so much to see Jesus, whom they knew to be there, as to see dead Lazarus alive; and this, issuing in their accession to Christ, led to a plot against the life of Lazarus also, as the only means of arresting the triumphs of Jesus (see Joh 12:19)—to such a pitch had these chief priests come of diabolical determination to shut out the light from themselves, and quench it from the earth!
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