King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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John 11

The sickness of Lazarus. (1-6) Christ returns to Judea. (7-10) The death of Lazarus. (11-16) Christ arrives at Bethany. (17-32) He raises Lazarus. (33-46) The Pharisees consult against Jesus. (47-53) The Jews seek for him. (54-57)

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The sickness of Lazarus

1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

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

3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

Christ returns to Judea

7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

The death of Lazarus

11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Christ arrives at Bethany

17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

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

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

He raises Lazarus

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

The Pharisees consult against Jesus

47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

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

52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

The Jews seek for him

54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

55 And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.

56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?

57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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