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John 11:23-35

Context

11:23 Jesus replied, 1  “Your brother will come back to life again.” 2  11:24 Martha said, 3  “I know that he will come back to life again 4  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 5  even if he dies, 11:26 and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. 6  Do you believe this?” 11:27 She replied, 7  “Yes, Lord, I believe 8  that you are the Christ, 9  the Son of God who comes into the world.” 10 

11:28 And when she had said this, Martha 11  went and called her sister Mary, saying privately, 12  “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.” 13  11:29 So when Mary 14  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 15  who were with Mary 16  in the house consoling her saw her 17  get up quickly and go out. They followed her, because they thought she was going to the tomb to weep 18  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 19  who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved 20  in spirit and greatly distressed. 21  11:34 He asked, 22  “Where have you laid him?” 23  They replied, 24  “Lord, come and see.” 11:35 Jesus wept. 25 

1 tn Grk “Jesus said to her.”

2 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.

3 tn Grk “Martha said to him.”

4 tn Or “will rise again.”

5 tn That is, will come to life.

6 tn Grk “will never die forever.”

7 tn Grk “She said to him.”

8 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.

9 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.

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

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

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

13 tn Grk “is calling you.”

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

15 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.

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

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

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

19 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.

20 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.

21 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.

22 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.

23 tn Or “Where have you placed him?”

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

25 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.



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