John 11:33
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
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(33) He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.—The word rendered “groaned” occurs, besides in this verse and John 11:38, three times in the New Testament; in Matthew 9:30 (“and Jesus straitly charged them”); Mark 1:43 (“and He straitly charged him”); and Mark 14:5 (“and they murmured against her”). Comp. Notes at these places. The original meaning of the word is “to snort, as of horses.” Passing to the moral sense, it expresses disturbance of the mind—vehement agitation. This may express itself in sharp admonition, in words of anger against a person, or in a physical shudder, answering to the intensity of the emotion. In each of the passages in the earlier Gospels the word is accompanied by an object upon which the feeling is directed. In the present context it does not go beyond the subject of the feeling. Here it is “in the spirit” (comp. John 13:21); and in John 11:38 it is “in Himself.” Both mean the same thing; and point to the inner moral depth of His righteous indignation; the object of it, however, is not expressed.

For the rendering “and was troubled” the margin gives, as the exact force of the Greek, “and He troubled Himself”; and this is to be preferred. These words do not express the inner emotion; for that has been expressed in the strong words which have gone before. They point rather to the physical movement which accompanied the emotion, and made known to others the indignation which was excited in His own spirit. The force of the whole sentence would require, in English, some such rendering as “He was indignant in the spirit, and caused Himself to shudder.”

Very different views have been put forth as to the cause of this intensity of emotion in our Lord. The cause supplied by the text is that He saw Mary lying at His feet weeping; and the Jews also weeping which came with her. Real sorrow, which calls forth all His sympathy, is accompanied by the mockery of sorrow, which can shed tears for the brother, whom they afterwards seek to kill (John 12:10)! These Jews are those who had sought to stone their Teacher, and had resolved to cut off from all religious and social intercourse every one who acknowledged Him as the Messiah! With hearts full of hatred they can profess to be comforters, and can mingle their tears with hers. The severest words that fell from the lips of Christ were those which denounced the hypocrisy of priests, Pharisees, and scribes. It is this hypocrisy which now stirs in His spirit an anger so intense that it causes nerve and muscle and limb to tremble beneath its force.

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.He groaned in the spirit - The word rendered "groaned," here, commonly denotes to be angry or indignant, or to reprove severely, denoting violent agitation of mind. Here it also evidently denotes violent agitation - not from anger, but from grief. He saw the sorrow of others, and he was also moved with sympathy and love. The word "groan" usually, with us, denotes an expression of internal sorrow by a special sound. The word here, however, does not mean that utterance was given to the internal emotion, but that it was deep and agitating, though internal.

In the spirit - In the mind. See Acts 19:21. Paul purposed in the spirit that is, in his mind, Matthew 5:3.

Was troubled - Was affected with grief. Perhaps this expression denotes that his countenance was troubled, or gave indications of sorrow (Grotins).

33-38. When Jesus … saw her weeping, and the Jews … weeping … he groaned in the spirit—the tears of Mary and her friends acting sympathetically upon Jesus, and drawing forth His emotions. What a vivid and beautiful outcoming of His "real" humanity! The word here rendered "groaned" does not mean "sighed" or "grieved," but rather "powerfully checked his emotion"—made a visible effort to restrain those tears which were ready to gush from His eyes.

and was troubled—rather, "troubled himself" (Margin); referring probably to this visible difficulty of repressing His emotions.

The apostle speaks of Christ, Hebrews 4:15, as an High priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and one that can have compassion, Hebrews 5:2. Martha’s and Mary’s passion for their dead brother was their infirmity; Christ is touched with the feeling of it: he, to show himself truly man,

groaned in himself; it being natural to us to be affected with the afflictions of others, and to weep with those who weep. But here ariseth a question, whether Christ was troubled from a natural necessity, as we sometimes cannot forbear weeping to see others weep bitterly, or out of choice? Some of the ancients think it was out of choice. Mr. Calvin and others think that it was out of a natural necessity; not that he could not govern his passions (as we sometimes cannot) by reason, but that he could not, as man, forbear his passion.

I shall translate what Mr. Calvin speaks, most judiciously, in the case, determining neither way, but leaving it to the reader’s judgment. "But how," saith he, "do gnawing and trouble of spirit agree to that Person who was the Son of God?" Because to some it looketh very absurd to say, that Christ, as one of us, is subject to human passions; they think Christ no otherwise at any time either grieved or rejoiced, than as he, so often as he thought fit, voluntarily assumed to himself those passions by a secret dispensation. Augustine thought that Christ in this sense is said to have groaned, and to have been troubled; whereas other men’s passions transport them, and exercise a tyranny over them, to the disturbance of their minds: he therefore thinks the meaning is, that Christ, being otherwise sedate, and free from passions, sometimes voluntarily took these passions. But in my judgment, it is a much plainer and simpler sense of this scripture, if we say, that the Son of God, taking upon him our nature, did also freely with it put on our affections (which are our natural infirmities); so as he in nothing differed from us, but in this, that he had no sin. Nothing by this is derogated from the glory of Christ; for he voluntarily submitted to take our nature upon him, by which he became like to us in our human affections. And we must not think, that after he had voluntarily submitted to take our perfect nature upon him, that he was free from the passions and affections of it: in this he proved himself to be our Brother, that we might know that he is a Mediator for us, who can easily pardon our infirmities, and is ready to help us as to those infirmities, which he hath experienced in his own person. If any one object, That seeing our passions are sinful, it doth not agree to the nature of him who was the Son of God to share with us in them; I answer, There is a great deal of difference (as to these passions) between us and Christ; for our affections are therefore faulty, because they are intemperate, and inordinate, and keep no bounds; but in Christ, though they be, yet they are composed, and moderate, and in obedience to God. The passions of men are faulty upon two accounts:

1. As they are turbulent, and not governed by the rule of moderation.

2. As they often rise without any due ground or foundation, or are not directed to a right end.

They are in us a disease, because we neither grieve nor rejoice in measure, and to that degree alone which God permits and allows; many rather give the reins to their passions. And such is the vanity of our minds, that we are grieved and troubled for little or no causes, being too much addicted and cleaving to the world. There was no such thing in Christ, no passion in him ever exceeded its just bounds, or was exercised but upon a just and reasonable cause. To make this yet clearer, we must distinguish between man in his creation, and the degenerate nature of man, as it is corrupted through sin. When God at first created man, he created him with natural affections, but such as were under the command of reason: that our passions are now inordinate, and rebellious, is accidental to our nature. Christ indeed took our affections upon him, but without that disorder which fell into them by the fall, which causeth us that we cannot obey them and God. He was greatly troubled, but not so as by his trouble to become disobedient to his Father. In short, if we compare our affections with his, there will appear as great a difference, as between pure water and that which is dirty and filthy. And the single example of Christ is enough to make us reject the stoical apathy (or want of passion); for from whom, if not from him, should we fetch the highest rule of perfection? Let us therefore rather study to correct and tame that disorder in which our passions are entangled, and follow Christ as our guide, that we may bring them into order. Thus Paul, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, doth not require of us a stony stupidity, but commands us to govern our grief, that we may not mourn as men without hope. For Christ therefore took our affections upon him, that we by his grace may be enabled to subdue whatsoever is vicious in them."

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping,.... At his feet, who, for sorrow and grief of heart, could say no more to him; but having expressed these words, burst out into floods of tears:

and the Jews also weeping, which came with her; either through sympathy with her, or hypocritically:

he groaned in the spirit; in his human soul; and which shows, that he had a real human soul, subject to passions, though sinless ones. The word signifies an inward motion of the mind, through indignation and anger; and it may be partly at the weakness of Mary's faith, and at her immoderate sorrow; and partly at the hypocrisy of the Jews: or else this inward groaning was through grief, sympathizing with Mary, and her friends, his human soul being touched with a fellow feeling of their griefs and sorrows:

and was troubled; or troubled himself; threw himself into some forms and gestures of sorrow, and mourning, as lifting up his eyes, wringing his hands, and changing the form of his countenance.

{5} When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he {f} groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

(5) Christ took upon himself together with our flesh all affections of man (sin alone excepted), and amongst them especially mercy and compassion.

(f) These are signs that he was greatly moved, but yet these signs were without sin: and these affections belong to man's nature.

John 11:33-34.

Τοὺς συνελθ. αὐτῇ Ἰουδ.] The Jews who had come with her (see on Mark 14:53). Note the emphatic κλαίουσανκλαίοντας.

ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι] Alone correct are the renderings of the Vulgate: infremuit spiritu; of the Gothic: inrauhtida ahmin; and of Luther: er ergimmete im Geiste, He was angered in the spirit. On τῷ πνεύματι, comp. John 13:21; Mark 8:12; Acts 17:16. The words βριμάομαι and ἐμβριμάομαι are never used otherwise than of hot anger in the Classics, the Septuagint, and the New Testament (Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5), save where they denote snorting or growling proper (Aeschyl. Sept. 461; Lucean, Necyom. 20). See Gumlich, p. 265 f. For this reason the explanation of sharp pain (so also Grotius, Lucke, Tholuck, who thinks the word denotes a painful, sympathetic, and shuddering movement, not expressed in sounds, B. Crusius, Maier, and several; compare already Nonnus) must be rejected at the very outset, as opposed to the usage of the word. The same applies also to Ewald’s notion[84] that it is simply a somewhat stronger term for στενάζειν or ἈΝΑΣΤΕΝΆΖΕΙΝ (Mark 7:34; comp. John 8:12). But at what was He angered? This is not expressed by τῷ πνεύματι (against this supposition ἘΝ ἙΑΥΤῷ in John 11:38 is sufficiently decisive), as though He were angry at being affected as He was (Τῷ ΠΆΘΕΙ). This view, which quite misconceives the humanity of Jesus, is taken by Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, and several others.[85] Nor was His anger enkindled at death as the wages of sin (Augustine, Corn. a Lapide, Olshausen, Gumlich); nor at the power of death (Melanchthon, Ebrard),[86] the dread foe of the human race (Hengstenberg); nor at the unbelief of the Jews (Erasmus, Scholten) as well as of the sisters (Lampe, Kuinoel, Wichelhaus, Komm. üb. d. Leidensgesch. p. 66 f.); nor, finally, at the circumstance that He had not been able to avert this melancholy occurrence (De Wette). The last-mentioned notion is appropriate neither to the idea, nor to the degree of anger, nor to John 11:4; and the whole of these references are imported into the text. Brückner’s opinion: the anger is that of the Redeemer, misunderstood by His enemies, and not understood by His friends, is also an importation; so also Godet’s forced expedient: Jesus was indignant that, in performing this His greatest miracle, to which He found Himself pressed by the sobbings of those who were present, He should be pronouncing His own death-sentence; Satan purposed making it the signal of His condemnation, and some even of those who were weeping were destined to become His accusers. As though anything of all that were either to be found in the passage, or were even hinted at in it! The reference lying in the context was overlooked in consequence of the word Ἰουδαῖοι not being taken in the sense in which it is constantly used by John, namely, as the designation of the hostile party. It must be remembered that, in John 11:38 also, this inward wrath of the Lord was aroused by the behaviour of the Jews noticed in John 11:37. He was angered, then, at the Jews, when He saw them lamenting with the deeply-feeling Mary, and professing by their cries (of condolence) to share her feelings, whilst at the same time aware that they were full of bitter hostility to Him who was the beloved friend both of those who mourned and of him whom they mourned, nor is John 11:45 inconsistent therewith. Accordingly, the moving cause of His wrath lay solely in that which the text states (ὡς εἶδενκλαίοντας); the separative expression: ΑὐΤῊΝ ΚΛΑἾΟΥΣΑΝἸΟΥΔΑΊΟΥς ΚΛΑΊΟΝΤΑς, sets forth the contrast presented by the procedure of the two, whilst going on together before Him. Alongside of the lamentation of Mary, He could not but see that the ΚΛΑΊΕΙΝ of the Jews was hypocritical, and this excited His strong moral indignation and wrath. John has simply expressed this indignation by the right term, without, as Lange thinks, combining in ἐνεβριμής the most varied emotions of the mind, as in a “divine thunderstorm of the spirit.” By the addition of τῷ πνεύματι the indignation experienced by Jesus is defined as having been felt in the depths of His moral self-consciousness. During this experience, also, the πνεῦμα of Jesus was a ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ἉΓΙΩΣΎΝΗς; see on Romans 1:4. John might also have written Τῇ ΨΥΧῇ (see on John 12:27); but Τῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ is more characteristic.

ΚΑῚ ἘΤΆΡΑΞΕΝ ἙΑΥΤΌΝ] not equivalent to ἘΤΑΡΆΧΘΗ Τῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ, John 13:21; nor even denoting, “He allowed Himself to be troubled (agitated), surrendered Himself to the agitation” (De Wette); but, as the active with the reflective pronoun necessarily requires, He agitated Himself, so that the outward manifestation, the bodily shuddering, during the internal movement of indignation, is designated by the words, and not the emotion itself.[87] Euth. Zigabenus remarks, in the main correctly: ΔΙΈΣΕΙΣΕ· ΣΥΜΒΑΊΝΕΙ ΓᾺΡ ΤΙΝΆΣΣΕΣΘΑΙ ΤᾺ ἈΝΏΤΕΡΑ ΜΈΡΗ ΤῶΝ ΟὝΤΩς ἘΜΒΡΙΜΩΜΈΝΩΝ. The use of the reflective expression has no dogmatic basis (Augustine, Bengel, and several; also Brückner and Ebrard suppose that it was designed to exclude the notion of the passivity of the emotion), but is simply due to its being more descriptive and picturesque. The reader is made to see how Jesus, in His inner indignation, shakes Himself and shudders.

ποῦ τεθείκ. αὐτόν;] This question He puts to Mary and Martha, and it is they also who answer it. Having experienced the stirrings of indignation, without any further delay, gathering Himself up for action, He now asks that which it was in the first instance necessary for Him to know. The assumption made by Hengstenberg,[88] that He already knew that which He asked, is due solely to exegetical presuppositions, and reduces the question to a mere formality.

[84] “As though compelled to gather up all the deepest powers of love and compassion, first, in deepest emotion, repeatedly sighing and weeping,” Gesch. Christi, p. 486. Somewhat differently in the Johann. SChr. I. p. 322: “Like an old hero of the primeval age, like a Jacob, who, gathering together the deepest forces of his spirit, prepares for the combat, and in the midst of the struggle weeps aloud.” Melanchthon has a similar idea.

[85] To much the same effect is Cyril’s view, who takes τῷ πνεύματι to mean the Holy Spirit, and to be used instrumentally: τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, Jesus was angered at the human compassion which He had felt. Hilgenfeld, in his Lehrbegr. p. 260, Evang. p. 296 (comp. Köstlin, p. 139), has recently modified this view as follows: a genuinely human feeling threatened to tear away the human person joined with the Logos from His fellowship with the Logos, and the displeasure of the Logos was therefore only able to express itself inwardly, to vent itself on the humanity. See, on the contrary, Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 257. Interpretations like these spring from a soil which lies altogether outside the domain of exegesis. More simply, but also doing violence to the moral nature of the human compassion felt by Jesus, is the view taken by Merz (in die Würtemb. Stud. 1844, 2): He became angry with Himself because He had felt as if His heart would break.

[86] So also Luthardt (who is followed by Weber in his Zorne Gottes, p. 24): “He was angered at death and him who has the power of death, His antagonist, that he had done such a thing to Him, that he had thus penetrated into His innermost circle, and had thus, as it were, thrown out threatenings against Himself.” Comp. Kahnis, Dogmatik, I. p. 504: “at the unnaturalness of death.”

[87] As Hengstenberg maintains (“Jesus stirs Himself up to energetic struggle,” etc.); compare also Godet.

[88] So also Gumlich, after Augustine, Erasmus, Jansen, and others.

John 11:33. Ἰησοῦς οὖναὐτόν. “Jesus, then, when He saw her weeping [κλαίειν is stronger than δακρύειν and might be rendered ‘wailing’. It is joined with ἀλαλάζειν, Mark 5:38; ὀλολύζειν, Jam 5:1; θορυβεῖν, Mark 5:39; πενθεῖν, Mark 16:10. Cf. Webster’s Synonyms] and the Jews who accompanied her wailing,” ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι, “was indignant in spirit”. The word ἐμβριμᾶσθαι occurs again in John 11:38 and in three other passages of the N.T., Matthew 9:30, Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5. In those passages it is used in its original sense of the expression of feeling, and might be rendered “sternly charged”; and it is in each case followed by an object in the dative. In Matthew 9:30 Jesus sternly charged or with strong feeling charged the healed blind man not to make Him known. In Mark 1:43 the leper is similarly charged. In Mark 14:5 the bystanders express strong feeling [of indignation, ἀγανακτοῦντες] against Mary for her apparent extravagance. In all three passages it is used of the expression of strong feeling; but no indignation enters into its meaning in the former two passages. Here in John it is not feeling expressed, but τῷ πνεύματι, inwardly felt; and with only such expression as betrayed to observers that He was moved (cf. Mark 8:12, ἀναστενάξας τῷ πνεύματι), for τῷ πνεύματι cannot be the object, for this does not give a good sense and it is contradicted by πάλιν ἐμβριμ. ἐν ἑαυτῷ of John 11:38. It would seem, then, to mean “strongly moved in spirit”. This meaning quite agrees with the accompanying clause, ταραζεν ἑαυτόν, “and disturbed Himself”; precisely as we speak a man “distressing himself,” or “troubling himself,” or “making himself anxious”. To say that the active with the reflexive pronoun indicates that this was a voluntary act on Christ’s part is to introduce a jarring note of Doketism. His sympathy with the weeping sister and the wailing crowd caused this deep emotion. To refer His strong feeling to His indignation at the “hypocritical” lamentations of the crowd is a groundless and unjust fancy contradicted by His own “weeping” (John 11:34) and by the remark of the Jews (John 11:35).

33–44. The Sign

33. weeping … weeping] The repetition is for emphasis, and to point a contrast which is the key to the passage.

he groaned in the spirit] Better, He was angered in the spirit. The word translated ‘groaned’ occurs five times in N.T.; here, John 11:38; Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5 (see notes in each place). In all cases, as in classical Greek and in the LXX., it expresses not sorrow but indignation or severity. It means (1) literally, of animals, ‘to snort, growl;’ then metaphorically (2) ‘to be very angry or indignant;’ (3) ‘to command sternly, under threat of displeasure.’ What was He angered at? Some translate ‘at His spirit,’ and explain (α) that He was indignant at the human emotion which overcame Him: which is out of harmony with all that we know about the human nature of Christ. Others, retaining ‘in His spirit,’ explain (β) that He was indignant ‘at the unbelief of the Jews and perhaps of the sisters:’ but of this there is no hint in the context Others again, (γ) that it was ‘at the sight of the momentary triumph of evil, as death, … which was here shewn under circumstances of the deepest pathos:’ but we nowhere else find the Lord shewing anger at the physical consequences of sin. It seems better to fall back on the contrast pointed out in the last note. He was indignant at seeing the hypocritical and sentimental lamentations of His enemies the Jews mingling with the heartfelt lamentations of His loving friend Mary (comp. John 12:10): hypocrisy ever roused His anger.

was troubled] The margin is better; He troubled Himself, i.e. agitated Himself, allowed His emotion to become evident by external movement such as a shudder.

John 11:33. Τοὺς συνελθόντας, who had come with her) John 11:31.—ἐνεβριμήσατο, He groaned) Thus it was that, by a more austere [more severe] affection of the mind, Jesus restrained His tears; and presently after, at John 11:38, He broke off His tears [to which He had given way, John 11:35]: and by that very fact, the influence produced by them [His tears] on the bystanders was the greater; John 11:36, [The Jews were constrained to say, “Behold how He loved him!”]—ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν, He troubled Himself [‘was troubled,’ Engl. Vers.; and some MSS. of Vulg., “turbatus est in se ipso”]) The elegance of this reflexive [reciprocæ] phrase is inexpressibly striking: comp. ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς, They have ordered themselves [“addicted themselves,” Engl. Vers.], 1 Corinthians 16:15. The affections of Jesus’ mind were not passions, but voluntary emotions, which He had altogether in His own control; accordingly, this “troubling of Himself” was fully consonant with order, and the highest reason. The case is a weightier [more hard to understand] one, which is described subsequently, ch. John 12:27, τετάρακται, κ.τ.λ.; John 13:21; and yet it also is to be explained by means of the present passage. [So Christians are not, on the one hand, Stoics; but, on the other, they do not succumb to their own mental affections. They are not agitated with passions, properly so called.—V. g.]

Verses 33-44. -

(3) The struggle with death. Verse 33. - When Jesus therefore saw her walling, and the Jews wailing who came with her, he was moved with indignation in the spirit, and troubled himself. The sight of the wailing Mary and the wailing Jews, who took up her grief and, according to Oriental custom, adopted her expression of it with loud cries and emphatic gestures, praising the dead, and lamenting his loss, produced a most wonderful impression on the Lord Jesus. Meyer thinks that the contrast between their hypocritical or professional tears and her genuine emotion, the blending of these incongruous elements, the combination of a profound affliction of a dear friend and the simulated grief of his bitter enemies, led him to manifest the feeling here described. But we have no right to import such an element into the scene. The concerted wailing was, however, the occasion of what is described in very remarkable terms, ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι καὶ ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν. The first expression occurs again in ver. 38. Westcott says in the three places where it elsewhere occurs (Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5) there is "the notion of coercion arising out of displeasure," a motion "towards another of anger rather than sorrow." The verb βριμάομαι and its compounds is used in the classics and the LXX. in the sense of hot anger, neither pain nor grief (though it is not very evident that it goes so far as this in Mark 1:43). Luther translated it ergrimmete, and Passow gives no other meaning. This seems generally accepted. But at what was Jesus angered? This can be answered only by deciding whether τῷ πνεύματι is the dative of the object, or whether it is the instrument or sphere of his holy indignation. According to the old Greek expositors, Origen, Chrysostom, Cyril, Theophylact - and they are followed by Alford and Hilgenfeld, the latter of whom finds in it a hint of the Gnostic Christology which, in his opinion, pervades the Gospel - the anger might have been directed against his own human spirit, at that moment tempted into an unfilial strain of sympathy with the mourners; yet, if this be its meaning, why was it that Jesus subsequently wept himself? and why, instead of exciting himself, instead of shuddering with his bitterness of feeling, did he not (as Hengstenberg says) compose and quiet himself? Beside, τῇ ψυχῇ would have been a far more appropriate term to use for the effective and sympathetic part of his nature than πνεύματι. It is possible, if "the spirit" expresses that part of his human nature in special fellowship with the Father, to suppose that he felt a certain antagonism with that within himself which had prompted to some immediate manifestation of Divine power, and to translate, "He sternly checked his spirit." But the miracle of Divine struggle with death followed so immediately that this cannot be the true explanation (Westcott suggests it as an alternative, but not the best interpretation). The τῷ πνεύματι, must be the sphere of his holy wrath, for which we must find some explanation. Meyer's seems (as already said) to be altogether insufficient. So also in our opinion is that of Godet, viz. that this act of victorious conflict with death, on which he was entering, involved his own death-warrant by being the occasion of the last outbreak of malice on the part of the Jews. Such a fact would be out of harmony, not only with the Fourth Gospel, but with the (synoptic) struggle in Gethsemane. Now, without enumerating various other interpretations of the passage, we think Augustine, Erasmus, Luthardt, Hengstenberg, Moulton, meet our difficulty by the suggestion that death itself occasioned this indignation. Though, like the good Physician in the house of mourning, he knew the issue of his mighty act, yet he entered with vivid and intense human sympathy into all the primary and secondary sorrows of death. He saw the long procession of mourners from the first to the last, all the reckless agony, all the hopelessness of it, in thousands of millions of instances. There flashed upon his spirit all the terrible moral consequences of which death was the ghastly symbol. lie knew that within a short time he too, in taking upon himself the sins of men, would have taken upon himself their death, and there was enough to rouse in his spirit a Divine indignation, and he groaned and shuddered. He roused himself to a conflict which would be a prelibation of the cross and the burial. He took the diseases of men upon himself when he took them away. He took the death-agony of Lazarus and the humiliation of the grave and the tears of the sisters upon himself when he resolved to cry, "Lazarus, come forth!" and to snatch from the grasp of the grim conqueror for a little while one of his victims. Compare the toil of Hercules in wrestling with death for the wife of Admetus. Compare also John 13:21, where moral proximity to the treacherous heart and ghastly deed and approaching doom of Judas made him once more to shudder. John 11:33He groaned in the spirit (ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι)

See on Mark 1:43. The word for groaned occurs three times elsewhere: Matthew 9:30; Mark 1:43; Mark 14:5. In every case it expresses a charge, or remonstrance, accompanied with a feeling of displeasure. On this passage there are two lines of interpretation, both of them assuming the meaning just stated. (1) Τῷ πνευ.ματι, the spirit, is regarded as the object of Jesus' inward charge or remonstrance. This is explained variously: as that Jesus sternly rebuked the natural shrinking of His human spirit, and summoned it to the decisive conflict with death; or that He checked its impulse to put forth His divine energy at once. (2) Takes in the spirit, as representing the sphere of feeling, as John 13:21; Mark 8:12; Luke 10:21. Some explain the feeling as indignation at the hypocritical mourning of the Jews, or at their unbelief and the sisters' misapprehension; others as indignation at the temporary triumph of Satan, who had the power of death.

The interpretation which explains τῷ πνεύματι as the sphere of feeling is to be preferred. Comp. John 11:38, in himself. The nature of the particular emotion of Jesus must remain largely a matter of conjecture. Rev. renders, in margin, was moved with indignation in the spirit.

Was troubled (ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτὸν)

Literally, troubled Himself. Probably of the outward manifestation of His strong feeling.

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