Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
joh 11:1One Lazarus - It is probable, Lazarus was younger than his sisters. Bethany is named, the town of Mary and Martha, and Lazarus is mentioned after them, Joh 11:5. Ecclesiastical history informs us, that Lazarus was now thirty years old, and that he lived thirty years after Christ's ascension.
joh 11:2It was that Mary who afterward anointed, &c. She was more known than her elder sister Martha, and as such is named before her.
joh 11:4This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God - The event of this sickness will not be death, in the usual sense of the word, a final separation of his soul and body; but a manifestation of the glorious power of God.
joh 11:7Let us go into Judea - From the country east of Jordan, whither he had retired some time before, when the Jews sought to stone him, Joh 10:39-40.
joh 11:9Are there not twelve hours in the day? - The Jews always divided the space from sunrise to sunset, were the days longer or shorter, into twelve parts: so that the hours of their day were all the year the same in number, though much shorter in winter than in summer. If any man walk in the day he stumbleth not - As if he had said, So there is such a space, a determined time, which God has allotted me. During that time I stumble not, amidst all the snares that are laid for me. Because he seeth the light of this world - And so I see the light of God surrounding me.
joh 11:10But if a man walk in the night - If he have not light from God; if his providence does no longer protect him.
joh 11:11Our friend Lazarus sleepeth - This he spoke, just when he died. Sleepeth - Such is the death of good men in the language of heaven. But the disciples did not yet understand this language. And the slowness of our understanding makes the Scripture often descend to our barbarous manner of speaking.
joh 11:16Thomas in Hebrew, as Didymus in Greek, signifies a twin. With him - With Jesus, whom he supposed the Jews would kill. It seems to be the language of despair.
joh 11:20Mary sat in the house - Probably not hearing what was said.
joh 11:22Whatsoever thou wilt ask, God will give it thee - So that she already believed he could raise him from the dead.
joh 11:25l am the resurrection - Of the dead. And the life - Of the living. He that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live - In life everlasting.
joh 11:32She fell at his feet - This Martha had not done. So she makes amends for her slowness in coming.
joh 11:33He groaned - So he restrained his tears. So he stopped them soon after, Joh 11:38. He troubled himself - An expression amazingly elegant, and full of the highest propriety. For the affections of Jesus were not properly passions, but voluntary emotions, which were wholly in his own power. And this tender trouble which he now voluntarily sustained, was full of the highest order and reason.
joh 11:35Jesus wept - Out of sympathy with those who were in tears all around him, as well as from a deep sense of the misery sin had brought upon human nature.
joh 11:37Could not this person have even caused, that this man should not have died? - Yet they never dreamed that he could raise him again! What a strange mixture of faith and unbelief.
joh 11:38It was a cave - So Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their wives, except Rachel, were buried in the cave of Machpelah, Gen 49:29-31. These caves were commonly in rocks, which abounded in that country, either hollowed by nature or hewn by art. And the entrance was shut up with a great stone, which sometimes had a monumental inscription.
joh 11:39Lord, by this time he stinketh - Thus did reason and faith struggle together.
joh 11:40Said I not - It appears by this, that Christ had said more to Martha than is before recorded.
joh 11:41Jesus lifted up his eyes - Not as if he applied to his Father for assistance. There is not the least show of this. He wrought the miracle with an air of absolute sovereignty, as the Lord of life and death. But it was as if he had said, I thank thee, that by the disposal of thy providence, thou hast granted my desire, in this remarkable opportunity of exerting my power, and showing forth thy praise.
joh 11:43He cried with a loud voice - That all who were present might hear. Lazarus, come forth - Jesus called him out of the tomb as easily as if he had been not only alive, but awake also.
joh 11:44And he came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes - Which were wrapt round each hand and each foot, and his face was wrapt about with a napkin - If the Jews buried as the Egyptians did, the face was not covered with it, but it only went round the forehead, and under the chin; so that he might easily see his way.
joh 11:45Many believed on Him - And so the Son of God was glorified, according to what our Lord had said, Joh 11:4.
joh 11:46But some of them went to the Pharisees - What a dreadful confirmation of that weighty truth, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead!
joh 11:47What do we? - What? Believe. Yea, but death yields to the power of Christ sooner than infidelity.
joh 11:48All men will believe - And receive him as the Messiah. And this will give such umbrage to the Romans that they will come and subvert both our place - Temple; and nation - Both our Church and state. Were they really afraid of this? Or was it a fair colour only? Certainly it was no more. For they could not but know, that he that raised the dead was able to conquer the Romans.
joh 11:49That year - That memorable year, in which Christ was to die. It was the last and chief of Daniel's seventy weeks, the fortieth year before the destruction of Jerusalem, and was celebrated for various causes, in the Jewish history. Therefore that year is so peculiarly mentioned: Caiaphas was the high priest both before and after it. Ye know nothing - He reproves their slow deliberations in so clear a case.
joh 11:50It is expedient that one man should die for the people - So God overruled his tongue, for he spake not of himself, by his own spirit only, but by the spirit of prophecy. And thus he gave unawares as clear a testimony to the priestly, as Pilate did to the kingly office of Christ.
joh 11:52But that, he might gather into one - Church, all the children of God that were scattered abroad - Through all ages and nations.
joh 11:55Many went up to purify themselves - That they might remove all hinderances to their eating the passover.