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11. Death and Raising of Lazarus

1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2And it was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3The sisters therefore sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby. 5Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6When therefore he heard that he was sick, he abode at that time two days in the place where he was. 7Then after this he saith to the disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 8The disciples say unto him, Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 9Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. 11These things spake he: and after this he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12The disciples therefore said unto him, Lord, if he is fallen asleep, he will recover. 13Now Jesus had spoken of his death: but they thought that he spake of taking rest in sleep. 14Then Jesus therefore said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 17So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 18Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off; 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary still sat in the house. 21Martha therefore said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22And even now I know that, whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee. 23Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; 26and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even he that cometh into the world. 28And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Teacher is her, and calleth thee. 29And she, when she heard it, arose quickly, and went unto him. 30(Now Jesus was not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met him.) 31The Jews then who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going unto the tomb to weep there. 32Mary therefore, when she came where Jesus was, and saw him, fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34and said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see. 35Jesus wept. 36The Jews therefore said, Behold how he loved him! 37But some of them said, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him that was blind, have caused that this man also should not die? 38Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus saith, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time the body decayeth; for he hath been dead four days. 40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. 42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the multitude that standeth around I said it, that they may believe that thou didst send me. 43And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 45Many therefore of the Jews, who came to Mary and beheld that which he did, believed on him. 46But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 47The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many signs. 48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 49But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50nor do ye take account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51Now this he said not of himself: but, being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; 52and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God that are scattered abroad. 53So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death. 54Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed thence into the country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there he tarried with the disciples. 55Now the passover of the Jews was at hand: and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the passover, to purify themselves. 56They sought therefore for Jesus, and spake one with another, as they stood in the temple, What think ye? That he will not come to the feast? 57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandment, that, if any man knew where he was, he should show it, that they might take him.

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33. He groaned in his spirit. If Christ had not been excited to compassion by their tears, he would rather have kept his countenance unmoved, but when, of his own accord, he conforms to those mourners, so far as to weep along with them, 323323     “Quand de son bon gre il se conforme a ces pleurans, jusques pleurer avec eux.” he gives proof that he has sympathy, (συμπάθεια.) For the cause of this feeling is, in my opinion, expressed by the Evangelist, when he says that Christ saw Mary and the rest weeping Yet I have no doubt that Christ contemplated something higher, namely, the general misery of the whole human race; for he knew well what had been enjoined on him by the Father, and why he was sent into the world, namely, to free us from all evils. As he has actually done this, so he intended to show that he accomplished it with warmth and earnestness. Accordingly, when he is about to raise Lazarus, before granting deliverance or aid, by the groaning of his spirit, by a strong feeling of grief, and by tears, he shows that he is as much affected by our distresses as if he had endured them in his own person.

But how do groaning and trouble of mind belong to the person of the Son of God? As some reckon it absurd to say that Christ, as one of the number of human beings, was subject to human passions, they think that the only way in which he experienced grief or joy was, that he received in himself those feelings, whenever he thought proper, by some secret dispensation. It is in this sense, Augustine thinks, that the Evangelist says that he was troubled, because other men are hurried along by their feelings, which exercise dominion, or rather tyranny, to trouble their minds. He considers the meaning therefore to be, that Christ, though otherwise tranquil and free from all passion, brought groaning and grief upon himself of his own accord. But this simplicity will, in my opinion, be more agreeable to Scripture, if we say that the Son of God, having clothed himself with our flesh, of his own accord clothed himself also with human feelings, so that he did not differ at all from his brethren, sin only excepted. In this way we detract nothing from the glory of Christ, when we say that it was a voluntary submission, by which he was brought to resemble us in the feelings of the soul. Besides, as he submitted from the very commencement, we must not imagine that he was free and exempt from those feelings; and in this respect he proved himself to be our brother, in order to assure us, that we have a Mediator, who willingly pardons our infirmities, and who is ready to assist those infirmities which he has experienced in himself.

It will perhaps be objected, that the passions of men are sinful, and therefore it cannot be admitted that we have them in common with the Son of God. I reply, there is a wide difference between Christ and us. For the reason why our feelings are sinful is, that they rush on without restraint, and suffer no limit; but in Christ the feelings were adjusted and regulated in obedience to God, and were altogether free from sin. To express it more fully, 324324     “Pour mieux dire.” the feelings of men are sinful and perverse on two accounts; first, because they are hurried along by impetuous motion, and are not regulated by the true rule of modesty; and, secondly, because they do not always arise from a lawful cause, or, at least, are not directed to a lawful end. I say that there is excess, because no person rejoices or grieves, so far only as is sufficient, or as God permits, and there are even some who shake themselves loose from all restraint. The vanity of our understanding brings us grief or sadness, on account of trifles, or for no reason whatever, because we are too much devoted to the world. Nothing of this nature was to be found in Christ; for he had no passion or affection of his own that ever went beyond its proper bounds; he had not one that was not proper, and founded on reason and sound judgment.

To make this matter still more clear, it will be of importance for us to distinguish between man’s first nature, as it was created by God, and this degenerate nature, which is corrupted by sin. When God created man, he implanted affections in him, but affections which were obedient and submissive to reason. That those affections are now disorderly and rebellious is an accidental fault; that is, it proceeds from some other cause than from the Creator. 325325     “C’est a dire, venant d’ailleurs que du Createur.” Now Christ took upon him human affections, but without (ἀταξία) disorder; for he who obeys the passions of the flesh is not obedient to God. Christ was indeed troubled and vehemently agitated; but, at the same time, he kept himself in subjection to the will of the Father. In short, if you compare his passions with ours, they will differ not less than pure and clear water, flowing in a gentle course, differs from dirty and muddy foam.

The example of Christ ought to be sufficient of itself for setting aside the unbending sternness which the Stoics demand; for whence ought we to look for the rule of supreme perfection but from Christ? We ought rather to endeavor to correct and subdue that obstinacy which pervades our affections on account of the sin of Adam, and, in so doing, to follow Christ as our leader, that he may bring us into subjection. Thus Paul does not demand from us hardened stupidity, but enjoins us to observe moderation

in our mourning, that we may not abandon ourselves to grief, like unbelievers who have no hope
(1 Thessalonians 4:13;)

for even Christ took our affections into himself, that by his power we may subdue every thing in them that is sinful.




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