SUMMARY.--Lazarus Sick Unto Death. Jesus Sent For. Lazarus Dead and Buried When He Comes. The Resurrection and the Life. Lazarus Comes Forth at the Word. Many Jews Believe. The Sanhedrim Takes Counsel Against Christ. The Prophecy of Caiaphas. The Passover at Hand.
36, 37. Behold how he loved him! Some of the Jews were touched by the evidence of tender affection. Others, remembering the healing of the blind man right there at Jerusalem, asked if he could not have saved Lazarus from death.
38. Jesus . . . cometh to the grave. Graves in Palestine were caves in the rock, either natural or cut, and the mouth was closed by a great stone. Such graves are still seen there. For references to graves, see Genesis 23:9 Genesis 35:8 Genesis 23:1 1 Kings 2:34 Isaiah 14:15 Isaiah 22:16 Matt. 27:60 John 19:41 .
39, 40. Take ye away the stone. The large stone that closed the entrance, and which several persons would be required to remove. The practical Martha suggests that decomposition has begun, not understanding his purpose.
41, 42. And Jesus lifted up his eyes. The Son always sought to honor the Father and to show that the Father was in him as he was in the Father. I thank thee that thou hast heard me. Constantly in communion with the Father, he had the Father's answer already and assent to what he was about to do. Thou hearest me always. Even in Gethsemane, when the cup was not taken away.
43. He cried with a loud voice. A suggestion of the "voice like the sound of many waters" ( Rev. 1:15 ), at which all who are in their graves shall come forth ( 1 Thess. 4:16 ). It was the voice of authority.
44. And he that was dead came forth. The earth had never beheld a more wonderful or startling sight. At once the sleeper arose, came forth, bound with his grave clothes, with the napkin still upon his face that had been bound under his jaw to keep it from falling. The lookers-on, astonished, dazed, were only recalled to themselves when the Lord bade them, "Loose him and let him go." He spoke as the Divine Word, and death obeyed. As he cried to Lazarus, Come forth, so shall he speak with the voice of an archangel to all that are in their graves, and they shall come forth and live.
45, 46. Many of the Jews . . . believed. They could not doubt after such a display of Divine power. There were, as usual, two classes. The others went and reported to the Pharisees.
47. The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council. The Sanhedrim met at once. The crisis was an alarming one. Unless something was done the nation would follow Jesus.
48. The Romans will come. Their idea was that if the nation followed Jesus there would be rebellion against the Roman authority, and the Romans would, as a result, destroy Jerusalem, the temple, and their ecclesiastical authority. This was done a generation later by the Romans, but what led to it was the rejection of Christ, not his reception.
49. Caiaphas, being high priest that year. The year the Savior died. He was a Sadducee, crafty, cruel, sensual, had been high priest for fifteen years, and was deposed three years later. Ye know nothing at all. Don't understand what the crisis requires.
50. That one man should die. His proposition is to slay one man, Jesus, rather than have the Romans come and destroy the whole nation for making Jesus King.
51, 52. This spake he not of himself. He thought he spoke of himself, but without his knowledge, God used the lips of the high priest for a prophecy. It "did behoove Jesus to die," in order to save, not that nation only, but that he should gather together in one the children of God.
53. From that day. From that day his death was the official decree of the Sanhedrim.
54. Jesus therefore walked no more openly. He avoided them until his "hour was come," and retired to Ephraim, a city sixteen miles northeast of Jerusalem on the borders of the wilderness.
56. They sought for Jesus. He was in the thoughts of all men now.
57. The chief priests and the Pharisees. The Sanhedrim had commanded that any man who could direct them to Jesus should bring word. The hostility that began three years before, on the Lord's first visit after his ministry began, had now fully ripened, and the "hour was at hand."