Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lazarus is dead.—The words of deeper truth, “Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep,” have conveyed no true meaning to their minds. He uses words, therefore, which fall short of that truth, but are the only words which they can understand.John 11:14-16. Then said Jesus plainly — That he might not hold them any longer in suspense, or permit them to remain under a mistake; Lazarus is indeed dead: and — As I could not have permitted this to have happened in my presence, I am glad for your sakes — That your faith may be more fully confirmed, by a further remarkable display of my divine power; that I was not there — That I was not in Judea before he died; for had I been there, and recovered him, your faith in me, as the Messiah, must have wanted that great confirmation which it shall soon receive. Nevertheless — Although he be dead, or, therefore, as the particle αλλα is used, Acts 10:20; and Acts 26:16; let us go unto him — To Bethany, where he lies dead. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus — Thomas in Hebrew, as Didymus in Greek, signifies a twin; Let us also go, that we may die with him — With Jesus, whom he supposed the Jews would kill. It seems to be the language of despair. “Thus,” as Dr. Lardner has remarked, “Jesus, who could have raised Lazarus from the dead without opening his lips, or rising from his seat, leaves the place of his retirement beyond Jordan, and takes a long journey into Judea, where the Jews lately attempted to kill him. The reason was, his being present in person, and raising Lazarus to life again, before so many witnesses at Bethany, where he died, and was well known, would be the means of bringing the men of that and future ages to believe in him and his doctrine, which is so well fitted to prepare mankind for a resurrection to eternal life, an admirable proof and emblem of which he gave them in this great miracle.”Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 11:14 f. Παῤῥησία] i.e. without the help of figurative hints as in John 11:11. Comp. John 10:24, John 16:25.
Λάζ. ἀπέθ.] Now a declaration of the simple occurrence; hence there is no addition to” the word Λάζ. as in John 11:11.
διʼ ὑμᾶς] is immediately explained by the words ἵνα πιστεύσ.; for every new flight of faith is in its degree a progress towards belief, comp. John 2:11. The words ὅτι οὐκ ἤμ. ἐκεῖ are to be taken together with χαίρω. If Jesus had been there, He would not have permitted His friend to die (against Paulus), but have saved him even on the sickbed; in this case the far greater σημεῖον of His δόξα, the raising him from the dead, would not have taken place, and the faith of the disciples would therefore not have had the benefit of it, though, just on the eve of the death of their Lord, it stood greatly in need of being increased. Bengel aptly remarks: “cum decoro divino pulchre congruit, quod praesente vitae duce nemo unquam legitur mortuus.”
ἵνα] indicates the telic direction, or intention of the emotion (not merely hope, De Wette). Comp. John 8:56. Remark that Jesus rejoices not at the sorrowful event in itself, but at the circumstance that He was not there, in consequence whereof it assumed a salutary relation to the disciples.
ἀλλʼ] Breaking off; Herm. ad Vig. p. 812; Baeuml. Partic. p. 15. And the summons is now brief and measured.John 11:14. τότε οὖν. “At this point, accordingly, Jesus told them plainly,” παρρησίᾳ “without figure or ambiguity,” “expressly in so many words,” cf. John 10:24, removing all possibility of misunderstanding, “Lazarus is dead,” but instead of grieving (John 11:15) καὶ χαίρω διʼ ὑμᾶς, “I am glad for your sakes,” although grudging the pain to Lazarus and his sisters, ὅτι οὐκ ἤμην ἐκεῖ, “that I was not there,” implying that had He been there Lazarus would not have died. This gives us a glimpse into the habitual and absolute confidence of Jesus in the presence with Him of an almighty power, ἵνα πιστεύσητε “that ye may believe,” go on to firmer faith. “Faith can neither be stationary nor complete. ‘He who is a Christian is no Christian,’ Luther,” Westcott.14. Then said Jesus] ‘Then’ here, as in Romans 6:21, is made to cover two Greek words, ‘then’ of time, and ‘then’ of consequence: translate, Then therefore said Jesus.
plainly] Without metaphor: see on John 7:4 and John 10:24.Verse 14. - Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly. Jesus spake at length (παῥῤησίᾳ) without metaphor (cf. ver. 11, note). Lazarus died; died, i.e. when he told them two days ago that this sickness would not have death as its end - died in the sense in which they ordinarily used the word. When Jesus described the condition of Lazarus in figurative language, he made use of a metaphor which would have peculiar application in his ease. The grace of Christ will turn the death of his beloved throughout all time into restful sleep. Lazarus was part of the method by which this transformation would be effected. The Christian idea soon found far richer expression than classical poetry or rabbinism could supply (Acts 7:60; Matthew 27:52; 1 Corinthians 15:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13; Revelation 14:13).
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