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NOW there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary and Martha her sister.

Ver. 1.  At the end of the preceding chapter, we are told that Jesus went into the place where John was first baptizing.  This place, as may be gather from S. John, (c. i. v. 28. and 44.) was Bethania; but not the Bethania where the sisters of Lazarus resided.  The Bethania where Christ was at this time was beyond the Jordan, and was likewise called Bethabara; whereas the Bethania where Lazarus lay sick, was two miles to the south of Jerusalem, and formed a part of the suburbs of that city.  It is called the town of Martha and Mary, because they lived there; in the same manner as Bethsaida is called the city of Peter and Andrew.  Calmet.



Bethania

Bethania, is about one mile and a half from Jerusalem: Bethphage was between the two. V.

2 (And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

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3 His sisters therefore sent to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4 And Jesus hearing it, said to them: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God: that the Son of God may be glorified by it.

Ver. 4.  This sickness is not unto death.  That is, though he truly die, it is not designed that he remain dead.  Wi.

 

--- This sickness is not unto death; because his death itself was not unto death, but rather to the working of a great miracle, by which men were brought to the true faith, and thus avoided an eternal death.  S. Austin, tract. 49. in Joan.

 

--- Lazarus indeed died of this sickness, but he did not die as other men, to continue dead; for Jesus raised him again to the glory of God.  SS. Cyril, Chrys. &c.



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5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days. 7 Then after that, he said to his disciples: Let us go into Judea again.


8 The disciples say to him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee: and goest thou thither again? 9 Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world:

Ver. 9.  Some, by the day in this place, understand the time preceding the Passion of our Saviour; and, by the night, the time of his Passion.  Theophy.

 

--- By this he encouraged his disciples, assuring them that the day of his sojournment on earth was not yet over; and therefore that the Jews, with all their malice and hatred, could not hurt him.  But when the night (the time of his Passion) comes, then their power over him commenced.  This is your hour, says he to them, and the power of darkness.  Calmet.

 

--- The Hebrews then divided the day into twelve parts of equal duration, from the rising to the setting sun.  V.



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10 But if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. 11 These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.

Ver. 11.  Lazarus . . sleepeth.  It is strange that the disciples could imagine that Christ spoke of an ordinary sleep, and that he would go two or three days' journey to awake him.  Nothing but the fear and concern they were under, could make them think so.  Wi.


12 His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

Ver. 12.  To men indeed he was dead, but to God he slept.  For the Almighty as easily raised him from his grave, as man can raise the slumberer from his bed.  S. Aust. tract. 49. in Joan.



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13 But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep. 14 Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad, for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe: but let us go to him.

Ver. 15.  When Christ says, that you may believe, we must not suppose he means, that they might begin then for the first time to believe, but that their faith, already begun, might be increased; for the faith of the disciples still stood in need of miracles, to make it grow more strong and rooted.  S. Aust. as above.


16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Ver. 16.  Thomas . . . said, let us also go, that we may die with him.  That is, with Jesus: this he said, exhorting the other disciples not to fear.  Wi.

 

--- The words, Thomas and Didymus, have the same radical signification; both meaning twins.


17 Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave. 18 (Now Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.)

Ver. 18.  About fifteen furlongs.  About two Italian miles.  Wi.



Bethania

Bethania, is about one mile and a half from Jerusalem: Bethphage was between the two. V.

19 And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home. 21 Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Ver. 21.  If thou hast been here.  These words shew that the faith of the two sisters was but weak; as if the Son of God was not everywhere: or as if he could not restore him to life when dead and buried.  Wi.

 

--- Martha believed in Christ, but not as she ought to have done.  She did not yet believe him to be God, but addresses him as one who is remarkable for virtue, and approved of by heaven.  S. Chrys. hom. 61. in Joan.


22 But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again.

Ver. 23.  Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha took notice that Christ did not express, whether immediately, or at the general resurrection, which she and the Jews generally believed.  Wi.


24 Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day.

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25 Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live:

Ver. 25.  I am the resurrection, and the life.  That is, the author of both.  Wi.

 

--- I am the resurrection, I am he who will at the last day raise him up; I can, therefore, if I will, raise him up now also.  S. Aust.



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26 And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?

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27 She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world.

Ver. 27.  Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.  Martha breaks out into an act of perfect faith.  See C. i. v. 49.  Wi.


28 And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly, and cometh to him. 30 For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but he was still in that place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave to weep there.

Ver. 31.  It was customary to visit, occasionally, the sepulchres, there to weep over the deceased.  V.


32 When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and saith to him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself,

Ver. 33.  He groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself.  The Latin and Greek, both in this and the 38th verse, express a more than ordinary inward trouble.  Christ, as he was truly man, had the affections and passions of human nature; yet so that he was master, even of the first motions, which could not raise in him any disturbance or disorderly inclinations.  He permitted, therefore, and, as it is said, raised in himself these affections of compassion and grief at this time.  Wi.


34 And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see.

Ver. 34.  Where have you laid him?  He asks what he knows, says S. Aug. to raise their attention, their faith, hope, &c.  Wi.


35 And Jesus wept.

Ver. 35.  Jesus wept.  A mark of his human nature, when he was going to give them a proof of his divinity, in raising the dead to life.  Wi.

 

--- The tears of the disconsolate sisters called forth tears from the tender commiseration of Jesus.  Nor was it unworthy the Son of God to shed tears.  See Luke xix. 41.  About to give proofs of his divinity in raising the dead, he is pleased to give, first, undoubted proofs of his humanity, that he might shew himself both God and man.


36 The Jews therefore said: Behold how he loved him.
37 But some of them said: Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die?

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38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it. 39 Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to him: Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days.

Ver. 39.  Take away the stone.  He could have done this by his word and command; or he could have made Lazarus come out without taking off the stone; he needed not to pray, who could do and command every thing.  Wi.


40 Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? 41 They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me.

Ver. 41.  Father, I give thee thanks, that thou hast heard me.  He knew that what he asked, even as man, must needs be granted; but he prayed for our instruction.  Wi.

 

--- Christ was about to pray for the resurrection of Lazarus; but his eternal Father, who alone is good, prevented his petition, and heard it before he presented it.  Therefore does Christ begin his prayer, by returning his almighty Father thanks for having granted his request.  Orig. tract. 18. in Joan.



Resurrection Of Lazarus

Resurrection Of Lazarus

They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.

Ver. 43.  He cried with a loud voice: Lazarus come forth.  His will had been sufficient.  He calls upon the dead man, says S. Chrys. as if he had been living; and it is no sooner said than done.  Wi.



Jesus Raises Lazarus

Jesus Raises Lazarus

When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.

44 And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him, and let him go.

Ver. 44.  Loose him, and let him go.  Christ, says S. Greg. by giving these orders to his apostles, shews that it belongs to his ministers to loose and absolve sinners, when they are moved to repentance, though it is God himself that forgiveth their sins; and they by his authority only.  Wi.

 

--- Lazarus comes forth bound from the sepulchre, that he might not be thought to be a phantom; and that the bystanders might themselves loose him, and touching and approaching him, might know for certain that it was he.  S. Chrys. hom. lxiii. in Joan.

 

--- S. Cyril and S. Austin both adduce this verse to shew the power of priests in absolving sinners.  See S. Cyril l. vii. c. ult. in Joan. and Aug. tract. 49. in Joan.


45 Many therefore of the Jews, who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees, and told them the things that Jesus had done. 47 The chief priests therefore, and the Pharisees, gathered a council, and said: What do we, for this man doth many miracles?

Ver. 47.  The chief priests . . . said: what do we? &c. as if they had said: why are we so slow, so remiss, and indolent in our proceedings against this man, when we daily see what numbers he draws after him by his miracles?  Wi.


48 If we let him alone so, all will believe in him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation.

Ver. 48.  The Romans will come upon us, in case he be admitted as our great Messias, and our King.  Wi.


49 But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing.

Ver. 49.  But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest, &c.  He said not this, says the evangelist, of himself, but as the high priest of that year.  The spirit of prophecy was given him, and he foretells that Jesus was to lay down his life both for the nation of the Jews, and for all mankind.  The gift of prophecy itself does not make a man holy.  It was also given to the wicked Balaam.  Numbers c. xxiv.  Wi.

 

--- It is supposed that he exercised the sacrificial office alternately with his father-in-law, Annas, who, as we have seen in Luke iii. 2. was also high priest.  V.



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50 Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

Ver. 50.  How great is the power of the Holy Ghost?  From a wicked mind he brings forth the words of prophecy.  And how great is the power attached to the pontifical dignity!  For Caiphas having becoming high priest, though unworthy of that dignity, prophesies, not knowing indeed what he says.  The Holy Ghost makes use of his tongue only, but touches not his sinful heart.  S. Chrys. hom. lxiv. in Joan.


51 And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation.

Ver. 51.  The same words have an impious and sacrilegious sense in the intention of the high priest, the enemy of Jesus Christ: and a divine and prophetic sense, in the intention of the Holy Ghost.  V.

 

--- We here behold the privilege of the office and order, though in a wicked person: and as we have the assistance of God for the utterance of truth, which Caiphas neither meant nor knew, we may rest satisfied that Christ will not leave Peter's chair; (Luke xxii. 32.) whose faith he promises should never fail, though the occupants be as bad as their enemies describe them.


52 And not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed.

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53 From that day therefore they devised to put him to death.

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54 Wherefore Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews; but he went into a country near the desert, unto a city that is called Ephrem, and there he abode with his disciples.

Ver. 54.  Ephrem was a small city or town in the neighbourhood of Bethel.  Some suppose it to be the same as Ephron, mentioned in 2 Par. xiii 19, and 1 Mac. v.  2 Mac. xii. 17.  Eusebius and S. Jerom say it was situated about 20 miles to the north of Jerusalem.  Calmet.

 

--- Here he remained with his disciples till the time in which he had resolved to deliver himself up into the hands of his enemies.  V.




55 And the pasch of the Jews was at hand; and many from the country went up to Jerusalem, before the pasch to purify themselves.

Ver. 55.  This was the last Pasch that our Saviour kept upon earth, and the one on which he suffered death for our salvation.  Calmet.

 

--- It is well called the Pasch of the Jews, and not of the Lord, since on it they were laying snares to apprehend their Saviour.  Origen.

 

--- Thus making this day of festivity a day of murder.  S. Chrys. hom. lxv. in Joan.

 

--- They went up so early to purify themselves by the sacrifices ordered by the law.  V.




56 They sought therefore for Jesus; and they discoursed one with another, standing in the temple: What think you that he is not come to the festival day?

Ver. 56.  He had not then arrived, because He would not expose himself to the fury of his enemies before his own time.  V.


57 And the chief priests and Pharisees had given a commandment, that if any man knew where he was, he should tell, that they might apprehend him.
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