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John 11:19-40

Context
11:19 so many of the Jewish people of the region 1  had come to Martha and Mary to console them 2  over the loss of their brother.) 3  11:20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 4  11:21 Martha 5  said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 11:22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will grant 6  you.” 7 

11:23 Jesus replied, 8  “Your brother will come back to life again.” 9  11:24 Martha said, 10  “I know that he will come back to life again 11  in the resurrection at the last day.” 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live 12  even if he dies, 11:26 and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. 13  Do you believe this?” 11:27 She replied, 14  “Yes, Lord, I believe 15  that you are the Christ, 16  the Son of God who comes into the world.” 17 

11:28 And when she had said this, Martha 18  went and called her sister Mary, saying privately, 19  “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” 20  11:29 So when Mary 21  heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 11:30 (Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still in the place where Martha had come out to meet him.) 11:31 Then the people 22  who were with Mary 23  in the house consoling her saw her 24  get up quickly and go out. They followed her, because they thought she was going to the tomb to weep 25  there.

11:32 Now when Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people 26  who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved 27  in spirit and greatly distressed. 28  11:34 He asked, 29  “Where have you laid him?” 30  They replied, 31  “Lord, come and see.” 11:35 Jesus wept. 32  11:36 Thus the people who had come to mourn 33  said, “Look how much he loved him!” 11:37 But some of them said, “This is the man who caused the blind man to see! 34  Couldn’t he have done something to keep Lazarus 35  from dying?”

Lazarus Raised from the Dead

11:38 Jesus, intensely moved 36  again, came to the tomb. (Now it was a cave, and a stone was placed across it.) 37  11:39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” 38  Martha, the sister of the deceased, 39  replied, “Lord, by this time the body will have a bad smell, 40  because he has been buried 41  four days.” 42  11:40 Jesus responded, 43  “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?”

1 tn Or “many of the Judeans” (cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e); Grk “many of the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding area in general (those who had been friends or relatives of Lazarus or his sisters would mainly be in view) since the Jewish religious authorities (“the chief priests and the Pharisees”) are specifically mentioned as a separate group in John 11:46-47. See also the note on the phrase “the Jewish leaders” in v. 8.

2 tn Or “to comfort them” or “to offer them sympathy.”

3 tn Grk “to comfort them concerning their brother”; the words “loss of” are not in the Greek text but are implied.

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

4 sn Notice the difference in the response of the two sisters: Martha went out to meet Jesus, while Mary remains sitting in the house. It is similar to the incident in Luke 10:38-42. Here again one finds Martha occupied with the responsibilities of hospitality; she is the one who greets Jesus.

5 tn Grk “Then Martha.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated for stylistic reasons.

6 tn Or “give.”

7 sn The statement “whatever you ask from God, God will grant you” by Martha presents something of a dilemma, because she seems to be suggesting here (implicitly at least) the possibility of a resurrection for her brother. However, Martha’s statement in 11:39 makes it clear that she had no idea that a resurrection was still possible. How then are her words in 11:22 to be understood? It seems best to take them as a confession of Martha’s continuing faith in Jesus even though he was not there in time to help her brother. She means, in effect, “Even though you weren’t here in time to help, I still believe that God grants your requests.”

8 tn Grk “Jesus said to her.”

9 tn Or “Your brother will rise again.”

sn Jesus’ remark to Martha that Lazarus would come back to life again is another example of the misunderstood statement. Martha apparently took it as a customary statement of consolation and joined Jesus in professing belief in the general resurrection of the body at the end of the age. However, as Jesus went on to point out in 11:25-26, Martha’s general understanding of the resurrection at the last day was inadequate for the present situation, for the gift of life that conquers death was a present reality to Jesus. This is consistent with the author’s perspective on eternal life in the Fourth Gospel: It is not only a future reality, but something to be experienced in the present as well. It is also consistent with the so-called “realized eschatology” of the Fourth Gospel.

10 tn Grk “Martha said to him.”

11 tn Or “will rise again.”

12 tn That is, will come to life.

13 tn Grk “will never die forever.”

14 tn Grk “She said to him.”

15 tn The perfect tense in Greek is often used to emphasize the results or present state of a past action. Such is the case here. To emphasize this nuance the perfect tense verb πεπίστευκα (pepisteuka) has been translated as a present tense. This is in keeping with the present context, where Jesus asks of her present state of belief in v. 26, and the theology of the Gospel as a whole, which emphasizes the continuing effects and present reality of faith. For discussion on this use of the perfect tense, see ExSyn 574-76 and B. M. Fanning, Verbal Aspect, 291-97.

16 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.

17 tn Or “the Son of God, the one who comes into the world.”

18 tn Grk “she”; the referent (Martha) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Or “in secret” (as opposed to publicly, so that the other mourners did not hear).

20 tn Grk “is calling you.”

21 tn Grk “she”; the referent (Mary) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

22 tn Or “the Judeans”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the friends, acquaintances, and relatives of Lazarus or his sisters who had come to mourn, since the Jewish religious authorities are specifically mentioned as a separate group in John 11:46-47. See also the notes on the phrase “the Jewish leaders” in v. 8 and “the Jewish people of the region” in v. 19.

23 tn Grk “her”; the referent (Mary) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Grk “Mary”; the proper name (Mary) has been replaced with the pronoun (her) in keeping with conventional English style, to avoid repetition.

25 tn Or “to mourn” (referring to the loud wailing or crying typical of public mourning in that culture).

26 tn Or “the Judeans”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the friends, acquaintances, and relatives of Lazarus or his sisters who had come to mourn, since the Jewish religious authorities are specifically mentioned as a separate group in John 11:46-47. See also the notes on the phrase “the Jewish leaders” in v. 8, “the Jewish people of the region” in v. 19, and the word “people” in v. 31.

27 tn Or (perhaps) “he was deeply indignant.” The verb ἐνεβριμήσατο (enebrimhsato), which is repeated in John 11:38, indicates a strong display of emotion, somewhat difficult to translate – “shuddered, moved with the deepest emotions.” In the LXX, the verb and its cognates are used to describe a display of indignation (Dan 11:30, for example – see also Mark 14:5). Jesus displayed this reaction to the afflicted in Mark 1:43, Matt 9:30. Was he angry at the afflicted? No, but he was angry because he found himself face-to-face with the manifestations of Satan’s kingdom of evil. Here, the realm of Satan was represented by death.

28 tn Or “greatly troubled.” The verb ταράσσω (tarassw) also occurs in similar contexts to those of ἐνεβριμήσατο (enebrimhsato). John uses it in 14:1 and 27 to describe the reaction of the disciples to the imminent death of Jesus, and in 13:21 the verb describes how Jesus reacted to the thought of being betrayed by Judas, into whose heart Satan had entered.

29 tn Grk “And he said.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

30 tn Or “Where have you placed him?”

31 tn Grk “They said to him.” The indirect object αὐτῷ (autw) has not been translated here for stylistic reasons.

32 sn Jesus wept. The Greek word used here for Jesus’ weeping (ἐδάκρυσεν, edakrusen) is different from the one used to describe the weeping of Mary and the Jews in v. 33 which indicated loud wailing and cries of lament. This word simply means “to shed tears” and has more the idea of quiet grief. But why did Jesus do this? Not out of grief for Lazarus, since he was about to be raised to life again. L. Morris (John [NICNT], 558) thinks it was grief over the misconception of those round about. But it seems that in the context the weeping is triggered by the thought of Lazarus in the tomb: This was not personal grief over the loss of a friend (since Lazarus was about to be restored to life) but grief over the effects of sin, death, and the realm of Satan. It was a natural complement to the previous emotional expression of anger (11:33). It is also possible that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus because he knew there was also a tomb for himself ahead.

33 tn Or “the Judeans”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the friends, acquaintances, and relatives of Lazarus or his sisters who had come to mourn, since the Jewish religious authorities are specifically mentioned as a separate group in John 11:46-47. See also the notes on the phrase “the Jewish leaders” in v. 8 and “the Jewish people of the region” in v. 19, as well as the notes on the word “people” in vv. 31, 33.

34 tn Grk “who opened the eyes of the blind man” (“opening the eyes” is an idiom referring to restoration of sight).

35 tn Grk “this one”; the second half of 11:37 reads Grk “Could not this one who opened the eyes of the blind have done something to keep this one from dying?” In the Greek text the repetition of “this one” in 11:37b referring to two different persons (first Jesus, second Lazarus) could confuse a modern reader. Thus the first reference, to Jesus, has been translated as “he” to refer back to the beginning of v. 37, where the reference to “the man who caused the blind man to see” is clearly a reference to Jesus. The second reference, to Lazarus, has been specified (“Lazarus”) in the translation for clarity.

36 tn Or (perhaps) “Jesus was deeply indignant.”

37 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

38 tn Or “Remove the stone.”

39 tn Grk “the sister of the one who had died.”

40 tn Grk “already he stinks.”

41 tn Or “been there” (in the tomb – see John 11:17).

42 sn He has been buried four days. Although all the details of the miracle itself are not given, those details which are mentioned are important. The statement made by Martha is extremely significant for understanding what actually took place. There is no doubt that Lazarus had really died, because the decomposition of his body had already begun to take place, since he had been dead for four days.

43 tn Grk “Jesus said to her.”



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