Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then they took away the stone.—This could be done without difficulty, for it would be nothing more than a rough slab placed at the entrance of the cave, to prevent the approach of jackals or other beasts of prey.
From the place where the dead was laid is omitted by all the better MSS. It is an unnecessary gloss, to explain what stone is meant.
And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said . . .—His attitude, as well as His words, is meant to express that the work which He is about to do, is one of the works from His Father.
I thank thee that thou hast heard me.—Better, I thank Thee that Thou didst hear Me; the time referred to being that of the offering of the prayer. Of this we have no notice. It was the will of the Son expressing itself in moral harmony with the will of the Father. “I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me” (John 5:30; comp. John 12:27-28), and therefore in the expression receiving the answer. The promise of John 11:4 was the utterance of the divine will to the disciples and the messengers, and we are, it may be, to think of that moment as the time of its realisation by the Son.
This thanksgiving for the answer to His prayer has been uttered aloud in the presence of the multitude. The verse which follows was spoken to prevent a misunderstanding on the part of the disciples and in all times.John 11:41-43. Then they took away the stone — As Jesus had directed; from the place where the dead was laid — From the mouth of the tomb. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, &c. — To show them who stood by, and viewed him as a mere man, from whence he derived his power; and that he did not do his miracles by any ability in his mere human nature. Thus he says, Matthew 12:28, that he cast out devils by the Spirit of God; and, Luke 12:20, by the finger, or power, of God; and, John 14:10, that the Father, who dwelt in him, namely, the eternal Word and Spirit of the Father, did the works. And said, Father, I thank thee — “On many occasions Jesus had publicly appealed to his own miracles, as the proofs of his mission; but he did not ordinarily make a formal address to his Father before he wrought them; though to have done so, would have showed from whence he derived his authority. Nevertheless, being about to raise Lazarus from the dead, he prayed for his resurrection, to make the persons present sensible that in working his miracles, he [as man] acted by the assistance, not of devils, as his enemies maliciously affirmed, but of God; and that this miracle, in particular, could not be effected without an immediate interposition of the divine power. The evangelist, it is true, does not say directly, either that Jesus prayed, or that he prayed for this end. But the thanksgiving, which he tells us he offered up, implies both.” — Macknight. I know that thou hearest me always — And art most ready to answer all my petitions. Jesus had access to his Father on every occasion, and success with him in every errand. And we may be sure his interest with God is not the less for his going to heaven; which may encourage us to depend on his intercession for us, and to put all our petitions into his hand, for we are sure that the Father hears him always. Because of the people which stand by I said it, &c. — I did not pray for my own sake, as if I had entertained any doubt of having power to do this miracle; (see John 5:19-26;) but I prayed for the people’s sake, to make them sensible that thou lovest me, hast sent me, and art continually with me; and that I do all in union with thee, and nothing of myself, without, or separate from thee. And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice — Suitable to the majestic part which he was now acting, and the dominion he had, even in the empire of death itself, as well as that it might appear to all present, that even the dead were subject to his voice; Lazarus, come forth — He could have raised Lazarus by a silent exertion of his will and power, and the undiscernible operation of the Spirit of life; but he did it by a call, a loud call, to signify the power then put forth for the raising of Lazarus, and the greatness of the work.Luke 18:13; Matthew 14:19.
I thank thee that thou hast heard me - It is possible that John has recorded only the sum or substance of the prayer on this occasion. The thanks which Jesus renders here are evidently in view of the fact that power had been committed to him to raise up Lazarus. On account of the people, and the signal proof which would be furnished of the truth of his mission, he expressed his thanks to God. In all his actions, he recognized his union to the Father, and his dependence upon him as Mediator.
Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me—rather, "heardest Me," referring to a specific prayer offered by Him, probably on intelligence of the case reaching Him (Joh 11:3, 4); for His living and loving oneness with the Father was maintained and manifested in the flesh, not merely by the spontaneous and uninterrupted outgoing of Each to Each in spirit, but by specific actings of faith and exercises of prayer about each successive case as it emerged. He prayed (says Luthardt well) not for what He wanted, but for the manifestation of what He had; and having the bright consciousness of the answer in the felt liberty to ask it, and the assurance that it was at hand, He gives thanks for this with a grand simplicity before performing the act.
lifted up his eyes; a posture often used in men’s addresses to God, Psalm 121:1, and Psalm 123:1, as an indication of their belief that heaven is God’s throne: though he filleth heaven and earth, yet heaven is his court, where he most gloriously showeth himself, the earth but his footstool. We read here of nothing that Christ had said before, yet he giveth thanks here to his Father that he had heard him. The meaning is, thou hast willed, or pleased to grant, those things which I desired. It is very hard to determine, whether Christ had used some audible words before this, upon this occasion, in prayer to his Father, which the evangelist could not or did not set down; or whether he only groaned in his spirit, as was said before, by those groans not only expressing his sorrow for Lazarus’s death, or rather sympathy with the afflictions of Mary and Martha, but also his desires to his Father, that he might be again restored to life; and his second groaning, John 11:38, was of that nature: which groanings in the saints God understandeth, knowing the mind of the Spirit, making intercession for the saints according to the will of God (as the apostle teacheth us, Romans 8:27); much more did the Father, who was one in nature, essence, and will with the Son, understand them in him. Nothing in these cases can be determined, much less can any conclude from hence, that there is no need of our using any words in our prayers; for although there be no simple, absolute necessity that we should use them in order to God’s knowledge of what we need, and would have; for he that searcheth the heart, knows what we need, and what we desire, Matthew 6:8; yet there is a necessity for our words, in order to our obeying God’s command, Hosea 14:2 Luke 11:2. There is a great deal of difference between God’s hearing of Christ, and hearing us: Christ and his Father have one essence, one nature, and will.
from the place where the dead was laid: this clause is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions:
and Jesus lift up his eyes; to heaven; this is a praying gesture, as in John 17:1,
and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me; which cannot refer to the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, or to any assistance given him in performing that miracle, because that as yet was not done; and when it was done, was done by his own power, as all the circumstances of it show; but it relates to everything in which he had before heard him, and was a foundation for him, as man, to believe he still would, in whatever was to come; and particularly to the present opportunity of showing his power in so remarkable a manner, and before so many witnesses.Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 11:41-42. Jesus knows that His prayer, that God would suffer Him to raise Lazarus to life,—a prayer which He had previously offered up in stillness, perhaps only in the inarticulate yearnings of His heart,—has been heard, and He thanks God for hearing it. Petition and thanksgiving are not to be conceived as blended in one (Merz in die Wurtemberg. Stud. 1844, 2, p. 65; Tholuck); nor is the latter to be regarded as anticipatory (Hengstenberg), as though He offered thanks in the certain anticipation of the hearing of His prayer (Ewald, comp. Godet). Not that He offers thanks because the hearing of His prayer was unexpected and unhoped for (εἶπον); no, He for His part (ἐγώ) knew, even whilst He was asking God in stillness, that God always heard Him; but because of the people standing by, etc.
Some have stumbled at John 11:42, and looked on it either as spurious (Dieffenbach in Bertholdt’s Krit. Journ. vol. i. p. 8), or as a reflection of the evangelist who puts this “show-prayer” (Weisse), or even “sham-prayer” (Baur), into the mouth of Christ for the purpose of supplying an argument for the story (De Wette; see, on the other hand, Brückner), or for the divinity of Christ (Strauss, Scholten). But it is just He, the One who is most intimate with the Father, who may indulge in reflection even in prayer, if His reflections relate to God, and are prayer. The opposite judgment applies an arbitrary standard to the subject. Moreover, if it had been his own reflection, John would probably have said: διὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους instead of ΔΙᾺ Τ. ὌΧΛΟΝ. Comp. John 11:45.
ΕἾΠΟΝ] as in John 6:36 : I will have said it, namely the εὐχαριστῶ σοι, etc. To refer to John 11:4 (Ewald) is inadmissible even on account of ΔΙᾺ Τ. ὌΧΛΟΝ alone.
ΣΙ] Thou and no other. They shall be convinced of it by learning from my thanksgiving that my working takes place in Thy strength, in the full certainty of a victory of Thy sending.
 Correct reason for this: πάντοτε θέλεις ἃ θέλω (Euth. Zigabenus); but also conversely, πάντοτε θέλω ἃ θέλεις; see John 5:30, John 12:27.John 11:41. Accordingly, notwithstanding her remonstrance, and because it was now perceived that Jesus had some end in view that was hidden from them, they lifted the stone, ἦραν οὖν τὸν λίθον.—Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς … ἀπέστειλας. “But Jesus lifted His eyes upwards and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me.” No pomp of incantation, no wrestling in prayer even; but simple words of thanksgiving, as if already Lazarus was restored. [Origen thinks that the spirit of Lazarus had already returned. Ἀντὶ εὐχῆς ηὐχαρίστησε, κατανοήσας τὴν Λαζάρου ψυχὴν εἰσελθοῦσαν εἰς τὸ σῶμα.] The prayer which He thanks the Father for hearing had been offered during the two days in Peraea. And the thanksgiving was more likely to impress the crowd now than in the excitement following the resurrection of Lazarus. Therefore He thanks the Father because it was essential that the miracle should be referred to its real source, and that all should recognise that it was the Father who had sent this power among men.41. from the place where the dead was laid] These words, are omitted by an overwhelming number of authorities. They are a needless explanation added by a later hand.
And Jesus lift] The verb is identical with that translated ‘took away’ in the preceding clause. Both should be translated alike; moreover, ‘and’ should be ‘but.’ They lifted therefore the stone. But Jesus lifted His eyes upwards.
Father, I thank thee] Jesus thanks the Father as a public acknowledgment that the Son can do ‘nothing of Himself,’ but that the power which He is about to exhibit is from the Father (John 5:19-26).
that thou hast heard] Better, that Thou didst hear. The prayer to which this refers is not recorded.John 11:41. Ἄνω, upwards) He turned His eyes off from the object, which was now the prey of mortality, to heaven.—εὐχαριστῶ σοι, I give Thee thanks) Jesus proceeds to this, His greatest miracle by far, most sure of the event.—ἤκουσάς μου, thou hast heard Me) Therefore Jesus [it seems] had prayed, when He had heard of the sickness of Lazarus, John 11:4, [and so He said at that time] “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
 Πάτερ, Father) A short but pre-eminently choice prayer.—V. g.Verse 41. - Then they took away the stone [ from the place where the dead was laid]. They lifted the stone, and Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven. This is not to be taken as an ordinary prayer, but a thanksgiving for prayer already heard. "Jesus lifted up his eyes," i.e. to heaven - to that sublime symbol of the infinite activity of God, which surrounds us day and night, and which is in numerous religious systems made a type and image of the Divine Being himself; nor does our modern conception of the universe dethrone it from this high place. Christ's language is thanksgiving that God has already heard him. Godet and Hengstenberg say that Jesus thanked God in anticipation of the miracle, as though it were already done. Meyer and Alford look back to some earlier prayers. But surely there is some reason for the thanksgiving. The stone is lifted, or removed; there lies the corpse, but no dank sepulchral vapor issues from it; rather some sign is given that prayer offered by Christ had been already heard, and that death has not made the havoc with the frame which would otherwise have occurred. Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. When he uttered the prayer we cannot say; but we know that his mind was greatly exercised concerning his friend before he left Peraea. His words confess that his wishes have been in harmony with the Divine eternal will. So elsewhere the Lord tells his disciples, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you;" i.e. "your desires will be in harmony with the Divine purpose; you will not be able to pray for anything either temporal or spiritual which God will not bestow, has not indeed prepared himself to bestow and you to receive." This is the true mystery and meaning of prayer. The hypothesis of the twofold nature of Christ, instead of being shipwrecked on the fact of his prayers and intercessions, throws light on the very nature of prayer itself.
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