And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.…
I. WE HAVE HERE A REVELATION OF CHRIST AS OUR BROTHER BY EMOTION AND SORROW. This miracle stands alone in the whole majestic series of His mighty works by the fact that it is preceded by a storm of emotion, which shakes the frame of the Master, which He is represented by the Evangelist not so much as suppressing as fostering, and which diverges and parts itself into the two feelings expressed by the groans and by the tears. Here, for one thing, is the blessed sign and proof of His true brotherhood with us. Here we are also taught the sanction and the limits of sorrow. Christianity has nothing to do with the false stoicism and the false religion which is partly pride and partly insincerity, that proclaims it wrong to weep when God smites. But just as clearly and distinctly as the story before us says to us "Weep for yourselves and for the loved ones that are gone," so distinctly does it draw the limits within which sorrow is sacred and hallowing, and beyond which it is harmful and weakening. Set side by side the grief of these two poor weeping sisters and the grief of the weeping Christ, and we get a large lesson. They could only repine that something else had not happened differently which would have made all different. Thus oblivious of duty, murmuring with regard to the accidents which might have been different, and unfitted to grasp the hopes that fill the future, these two have been hurt by their grief, and have let it overflow the banks and lay waste the land. But this Christ in His sorrow checks His sorrow that He may do His work; in His sorrow is confident that the Father hears; in His sorrow thinks of the bystanders, and would bring comfort and cheer to them. A sorrow which makes us more conscious of communion with the Father who is always listening, which makes us more conscious of power to do that which He has put it into our hand to do, which makes us more tender in our sympathies with all that mourn, and swifter and readier for our work — such a sorrow is doing what God meant for us; and is a blessing in so thin a disguise that you can scarcely call it veiled at all.
II. And now turn to what lies side by side with this in the story, and at first sight may seem strangely contradictory of it, but in fact only completes the idea, viz., THE MAJESTIC CALM CONSCIOUSNESS OF DIVINE POWER BY WHICH HE IS REVEALED AS OUR LORD. A consciousness of continual cooperation with the Almighty Father, a consciousness that His will continually coincides with the Father's will, that unto Him there comes the power ever to do all that Omnipotence can do, and that though we may speak of a gift given and a power derived, the relation between the giving Father and the recipient Son is altogether different from and other than the relation between the man that asks and the God that receives.
III. THE REVELATION OF CHRIST AS OUR LIFE IN HIS MIGHTY, LIFE-GIVING WORD. The miracle, as I have said, stands high, not only in the greatness of the fact, but also in the manner of the working. With tenderest reticence, no word is spoken as to what followed. No hint escapes of the experiences which the traveller brought back with him from that bourne whence he had come. Surely some draught of Lethe must have been given him, that his spirit might be lulled into a wholesome forgetfulness, else life must have been a torment to him. But be that as it may, what we have to notice is the fact here, and what it teaches us as a fact. Is it not a revelation of Jesus Christ as the absolute Lord of life and death, giving the one, putting back the other? And there is another lesson, namely, the continuous persistency of the bond between Christ and His friend, unbroken and untouched by the superficial accident of life or death. Wheresoever Lazarus was he heard the voice, he knew it, and obeyed. And so we are taught that the relationship between Christ-life and all them that love and trust Him is one on which the tooth of death that gnaws all other bonds in twain hath no power at all. Christ is the Life, and, therefore Christ is the Resurrection. And the thing that we call death is but a film which spreads above, but has no power to penetrate into the depths of the relationship between us and Him.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.