Pilate Defends Jesus

John 19:8-15 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and said unto Jesus, Whence are thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then said Pilate unto him, Speak thou not unto me? know thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou could have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou are not Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 

‘More afraid’ Pilate was torn between two fears: that of offending the Sanhedrin and the populace who would file formal charges against him to Caesar, and perhaps cause immediate rebellion; and that of killing an innocent man, a miracle-worker, a prince and an offspring of Deity, and one whom he had been warned of by his wife (Matt. 27:19) and his own growing conviction not to have a part in His death.

‘Whence are thou? … Speak thou not unto me? know thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?’ The first question concerned whether He was a real offspring of Deity or not. Was this man, who was so different from all others he had ever seen, really a supernatural being? Christ gave no answer, so he threatened boastingly of his power to release or crucify Him.

‘Thou could have no power at all against me, except it was given thee from above’ Jesus answered Pilate that he could not do one thing unless God willed. It was a sin for him to condemn Christ, for he was convinced by his conscience of His innocence; but the Jews have the greater sin, because they wilfully sin against Jesus.

‘Thenceforth Pilate sought to release him’ Pilate sought all the more to release Him, but the Jews now brought up the accusation of high treason to force his decision. They wanted to accuse him to Caesar for preferring another king to his own emperor.

‘Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar’ they hated Caesar, but they hated their own Messiah more.

‘When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth’ when Pilate heard their accusation against him of high treason, he brought Jesus out before the Jews again and made his fifth attempt to deliver Him (Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6, 12-14). He knew that Tiberius was one of the most jealous and distrustful rulers in the world and that during his reign accusations and conspiracies were plentiful, being founded on foolish pretences, and being punished with excessive rigour.

‘Judgment’ the Greek word bema, a stone platform in the open court in front of the Praetorium; the place of final sentence (Matt. 27:19; John 19:13; Acts 12:21; 18:12-17; 25:6, 10, 17). Used also of the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2Cor. 5:10). ‘Gabbatha’ a raised pavement higher than the rest of the pavement. ‘Sixth hour’ about 12:00 midnight.

‘Away’ the Greek word airo, the same word translated “take up” serpents in Mark 16:18. It is never used in the sense of making a side show or demonstration to prove faith, but it means to remove, destroy, and put out of the way by death, as in Matthew 22:13; John 1:29; 19:15; Acts 21:36; 22:22; 1John 3:5.

‘We have no king but Caesar’ deeper and deeper these religious people were going into sin and rebellion – choosing an enemy instead of a friend, satan instead of God, and eternal damnation instead of eternal life.

Jesus Scourged

John 19:1-7 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and said unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Take you him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 

‘Scourged him’ had Him scourged in the Roman manner which was more severe than the Jewish. It was customary to scourge a person before crucifixion, but Pilate hoped that this punishment would satisfy the Jews so he could release Jesus (Luke 23:16). This did not satisfy the bloodthirsty Jews who wanted Him dead and out of their way.

A scourge was a Roman implement for severe physical punishment. It consisted of a handle with about a dozen leather cords with jagged pieces of bone or metal at each end to make the blow more painful and effective. The victim was tied to a post and the blows were applied to the bareback and loins and sometimes to the face and bowels. The flesh was cut in several places by each blow. So hideous was the punishment that the victim often fainted and some died under it. Flogging was permitted by the law up to 40 stripes (Deut. 25:3). Jews reduced this to 39 stripes (2Cor. 11:23-25). If the scourge used on Jesus had 12 thongs and He was hit even 39 times this would make 468 stripes. If some struck in the same place and cut deeper each time one can see how His body, because of the intense hatred back of each blow, was marred more than any other man’s (Isa. 52:14).

‘Crown of thorns’ for cruelty and mockery, fulfilling His own prophecy spoken in Matthew 20:17-19 in which manner He shall be killed.

‘Hail’ or, Health, success, and prosperity to the King of the Jews!

‘I bring him forth to you’ Pilate made his third appearance from the Praetorium to the Jews outside and brought the scourged, bleeding, crowned, and kingly-clothed Christ of God before them, hoping they would be willing to let Him go after such suffering. But, as ever, religious persecutors have no love and mercy on their victims. They cried for crucifixion until Pilate wanted to turn Him over to them to crucify, declaring the innocence of Christ two more times (19:4, 6).

‘Behold the Man’ Pilate hoped against hope that this awful spectacle would melt their hearts, but it only whetted their appetite for more suffering to the man they considered their rival in religion and power.

‘Because he made himself the Son of God’ this new charge to Pilate was another of ten reasons for condemning Him to die. This new angle made Pilate all the more afraid, so he took Him into the judgment hall again to question Him (19:8-11).

Jesus Before Pilate

John 18:28-32 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take you him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die. 

‘Let they Jesus from Caiaphas’ Jesus was led by the mob to Annas (18:13); by the mob to Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57; Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54; John 18:24); by the Jews to Pilate (Matt. 27:2; Luke 23:1; John 18:28); by soldiers to Herod (Luke 23:7); by soldiers to Pilate again (Luke 23:11-25); by soldiers to be scourged and mocked (Mark 15:16-19); by soldiers to be crucified (Matt. 27:31; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26, 32; John 19:16).

‘The hall of judgment’ Pilate’s house, called the Praetorium, the dwelling place of the praetor, the chief ruler of the province. It was where he held court (Mark 15:16).

‘Early’ it was early in the day of preparation, from our Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset. It was perhaps between 11:00 p.m. to midnight, for a little later it was the 6th hour or midnight (19:14).

‘Passover’ Jesus had eaten of the passover before the time (Matt. 26:18-20; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-15), and was Himself slain at the time of the offering of the paschal lamb (1Cor. 5:7).

‘Pilate then went out unto them’ he went out to them lest they be defiled by coming into him. The Romans had agreed to permit the Jews the free use of their rites and ceremonies, so this was all Pilate could do.

‘Malefactor’ the Greek word kakopoios which means evildoer. They did not want Pilate to judge, but to execute the sentence they had already illegally passed. Pilate was not willing to execute a man whom he had not tried and who was not guilty, so offered to turn Jesus over to them for execution (John 18:31).

‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death’ this was another sin of the Jews. They had the power to stone anyone breaking their law (8:1-11, 59; 10:31; Acts 7:59), but in this case, they lied and, fearing the people, determined to raise the plea of rebellion against Caesar, throwing the responsibility of the Lord’s death upon Pilate (19:7, 12). He had to die by crucifixion to fulfil prophecy (Matt. 20:19; 26:2; John 3:14; 12:32-33). Jews did not crucify and they had no power to do so with criminals that were accused of crimes against the state, so they intimidated Pilate by accusing him of not being a friend of Caesar if he let Christ go (19:7, 12).

Jesus Questioned

John 18:19-24 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why ask thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answer thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 

‘Asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine’ they questioned Him as to His authority of collecting disciples, forming a different sect, preaching new doctrines and setting Himself up as a reformer. Annas perhaps was seeking something whereby he could legally accuse Him, but he found nothing. All this was at night, which was contrary to the law of the Jews. The Talmud says, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day” (Sanhedrin c, iv, s. 1). If a person was condemned the sentence could not be until the next day. No judgment could be executed either on the eve of the sabbath, or the eve of any festival. All these laws were broken in the trial of Christ which was in the night, on the eve of the passover, and the eve of the special sabbath of the feast – on Tuesday. It had been predicted that justice and judgment would be taken away during His trial (Isa. 53:8; Acts 8:33).

‘I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.’ Jesus has spoken openly to all people, in synagogues in the cities and even in the temple at Jerusalem, and has said nothing in secret. If they have not heard Him, they could have asked those who have. They and their spies have watched Him everywhere. Jesus has said nothing contrary to the law and the prophets [the name of the Old Testament]. He has not disturbed the state by rebellion. He asked that they would judge Him righteously according to their laws if He has done something wrong.

‘One of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand’ – this was an outrage against justice, for a prisoner before trial and condemnation were under special protection of the court. This is the fifth definite law of justice and judgment broken before the trial really got underway. They sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death, this was contrary to their law which required them to begin a trial with those things that would acquit the accused, not with those things that made for his condemnation. In this case, not one thing was sought that would acquit Christ. They were determined to kill Him so they looked for every excuse possible, not realizing they were fulfilling prophecy. Not any two witnesses agreed on any one point of accusation, yet they condemned and killed the only sinless man that ever lived.

‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite thou me?’ – a Christian is bound to bear injuries and injustices without revengeful retaliation; but he is privileged, even by the example of the Lord, to call to question such mistreatment. This does not break the law of Matthew 5:39.

‘Now Annas’ all of this happened in Annas’s presence. John omits the trial before Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57-68).

Peter’s Denial

John 18:12-18, 25-27 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spoke unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then said the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Are not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He said, I am not. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Are not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, said, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew. 

‘Captain’ the Greek word chiliarchos – the commander of 1,000 men; one of 6 tribunes attached to a legion, showing the importance the Romans attached to the arrest of Jesus, the Jews have represented it as a dangerous case of sedition.

‘Annas’ – he was perhaps the head of the Sanhedrin. He had been appointed high priest several times and had five sons and a son-in-law who had held this office. ‘Same year’ the office was no longer for life, as originally. Now it was by appointment by civil rulers and not by God.

‘He, which gave counsel to the Jews’ – he had already passed sentence that Jesus should be killed (11:49-52), hence he was disqualified to be His judge. But Christ was not tried by rules of justice or He would not have been crucified.

‘That disciple’ perhaps John himself who always refers to himself in the third person (13:23; 19:26; 21:7, 20). Or it could have been Nicodemus or Joseph (19:38).

‘Damsel that kept the door’ tradition says her name was Ballila. Women were doorkeepers (Acts 12:13). ‘Are not thou also one of this man’s disciples? I am not.’ first of three lies (18:17, 18:25-26). In verse 27 the third lie and denial of Jesus are stated.

‘They’ the officers and servants of the high priest, the Roman Chiliarch and his soldiers had gone back to the barracks, leaving Jesus in the hands of the Jews.

‘Warmed himself’ – a dangerous thing to do – to warm one’s self by the fire of his enemies.

Twelve steps in Peter’s backsliding from Matthew: he boasted (Matt. 26:33; Pro. 16:18); he made Christ a liar (Matt. 26:33-35); he slept instead of praying (Matt. 26:40); he failed to mortify his flesh (Matt. 26:41); he relied on the arm of flesh (Matt. 26:51); he forsook Christ and fled (Matt. 26:56); he followed afar off (Matt. 26:58); he sat with the Lord’s enemies (Matt. 26:58); he gave up hope and became discouraged (Matt. 26:58); he became afraid of men (Matt. 26:69-74); he lied (Matt. 26:69-74); and he cursed (Matt. 26:69-74).  Jesus had predicted his backsliding and his re-conversion (Luke 22:31-34).

He Has Overcome

John 16:25-33 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day you shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speak thou plainly, and speak no proverb. Now are we sure that thou know all things, and need not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou came forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that you shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 

Jesus spoke in proverbs to the disciples; He gave them instruction by numerous examples and divine rules to govern all of their conduct – civil, religious, and business life. Afterwards, He spoke to them plainly of the Father.

‘That I will pray the Father for you’ – we pray and Jesus will make intercession for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1Jn. 2:1-2). If we will pray and have faith, the Father will never deny us what we want. He always hears His Son and if He did not spare Him in sufferings and death He will not refuse to give us what Christ died for to give to us (Rom. 8:32). When we pray in Jesus name or by His authority the Father will always hear and answer, because this is what He sent Jesus to tell the disciples [and us], so let this be a settled fact in our lives.

Jesus told the disciples that He came from the Father into the world; and will leave the world and go back to the Father. They understood Him clearly and declared that He knows all things and that He was sent from the Father to teach them [and us].

The 40th New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John: Jesus warned the disciples that a time shall come when they will be scattered, every man to his own, and they shall leave Him alone: this was fulfilled the night of His arrest (Matt. 26:56; Zech. 13:7). Jesus comforted them so that they might have peace when the arrest took place, by saying that He will not be alone because the Father will be with Him. He furthermore warned them that they will have tribulation in the world, but they must be of good cheer; for He has overcome the world.  ‘Overcome’ the Greek word nikao which means conquered.

Abide in Me

John 15:7-10 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 

‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you’ Note the conditions of this chapter (John 15:6, 10, 18-20, 22, 24).

‘Ask what you will’ the promise is “ask what you will,” plainly teaching that answered prayer is up to the child of God as to what he wants. This is in perfect harmony with the promises of both testaments. A true Christian can get what he wants as well as what he needs (Psa. 23:1; 34:9-10; 84:11; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 18:18-20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 16:23-26; Eph. 3:20; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8; 1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:14-15). A prayer saying, “If it be Thy will” concerning anything God has already promised, and therefore has already made it clear that it is His will (providing we ask in faith, nothing wavering), is really a prayer of unbelief. It is like saying, “I know You have already promised and You have made it very clear by Your Word that it is Your will, but do You really mean what You say? We insult God by constantly questioning His will that is already revealed by His word. It is no less insulting to Him than it would be to a human friend who had promised something and we continued to question him about his will in the matter.

Branches must not only remain in Christ but must have His words abiding in them or prayers will not be answered. God can only be glorified by the branches when they remain in Christ and produce much fruit.

‘So have I loved you’ The Father heard Him always, so Christ promised to answer all prayers prayed in His name (John 14:12-15; 16:23-26).

‘Keep my commandments’ is found 359 times in Scriptures and over half of these most certainly command men to keep the commandments of God. This is not only true of the Old Testament, but of the New Testament. Therefore, Christians are under obligation to obey the gospel throughout life, not only during one brief act of faith.

‘Even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love’ Emphasizing to what extent one must render obedience to God by keeping His commandments. If we are to be as righteous as He was in the world (John 17:14-16; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:7-10; 4:17; 5:1-5, 18), then nothing short of complete obedience must be rendered. It is impossible to retain a sense of pardoning grace without continuing in obedient grace.

The Plot to Kill Jesus

John 11:45-53 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. 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. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, You know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spoke he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 

 ‘Some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.’ Many believed, but some, perhaps the temple spies, went to report to the rulers. They admitted the miracles, but their hearts were hardened to resist all claims of Jesus on their lives.

They thought that if they did not get rid of Jesus, all men will believe in Him and make Him king. They feared that the Romans will come against the Jews to destroy the nation and take the temple from them. [Which came to past – Job 3:25] In the law the priests were in office for life, but here it was an annual term; the Romans and Herod chose whom they pleased for this office. According to Josephus (Antiquities 18:4:3), Joseph was his name and Caiaphas his surname.

‘Expedient for us, that one man should die for the people’ Caiaphas prophesied that it was in their interest that Jesus should die in the place of the whole nation. God seemingly used the ungodly high priest as He used Balaam in Num. 22:38.

‘One’ referring to the Jews of the dispersion, this will be fulfilled at the second coming (Matt. 24:31; Isa. 11:11-12; Eze. 37:1-28). ‘Together for to put him to death’ At other times they had plotted His death, but the council had been divided. God used the divisions to give time for the teaching, example, and miracles of Jesus to do their work.

Lazarus Raised

John 11:38-44 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said unto him, Lord, by this time he stink: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus said unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou would believe, thou should see the glory of God? 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. And I knew that thou hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 

Jews generally cut their graves out of the faces of cliffs. The stone here did not lie upon the grave-opening but leaned against it. Lazarus has putrefactive odour by now for he has been dead four days.

‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou would believe, thou should see the glory of God?’ This is nowhere stated before this, proving that the record is not complete of everything said on this occasion (John 21:25).

‘Lifted up his eyes’ Jesus looked up to heaven, having eyes open (Mat. 17:8; Luke 6:20; 16:23; John 4:35; 6:5; 17:1). ‘Father’ Fifteen times Christ used this name in prayer when He prayed unto the Father who was in Heaven (Mat. 11:25-26; 26:39, 42; Luke 23:34, 46; John 11:41; 12:27-28; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24-25). ‘Thou hast heard me’ this suggests that Christ had already prayed and was heard, receiving the will of God in this case before He started on His trip to Bethany (John 11:3-6). He was no doubt led by God to delay this trip as recorded here.

‘That they may believe that thou hast sent me’ There are 14 purposes of Christ’s miracles: To make believers (John 2:23; 4:48; 11:42; 12:37; 14:11); to fulfill prophecy (Isa. 11:2; 61:1-2; Mat.8:17; Luke 4:18) to demonstrate God’s will (John 5:30; 6:38; 10:10; Heb. 10:7); to destroy works of satan (Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38; 1Jn. 3:8); to give abundant life (John 10:10); to confirm His Sonship and Messianic claims (John 5:17-19, 30-36; 10:25, 36-38; 14:10-11; 15:24; 20:30-31; Acts 2:32); to confirm God’s Word and love (John 5:20; Heb. 2:3-4); to prove that God was with Him (John 3:2; Acts 10:38); to demonstrate God’s power over satan (Luke 10:19; 13:16; Mat. 12:28; Acts 10:38); to prove the kingdom of God present (Mat. 12:28); to glorify God (John 2:11; 11:4; Mat. 9:8; 15:31; Mark 2:12; Luke 4:15; 5:26; 7:16; 13:13); to set an example for all believers (Mat. 10:1-8; 28:20; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:6; 10:9; John17:18); to demonstrate the power of the Spirit baptism (Mat. 20:22-23; Luke 4:18; John 3:34); to demonstrate full salvation for body, soul, and spirit (Mat. 4:23-24; 8:17; 9:35; 13:15; John 10:10; 1Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:4-5).

‘Cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth’ He spoke loud enough that all standing could hear the command and see that even the dead were subject to Him. Lazarus that had been dead came forth. ‘bound hand and foot with graveclothes’ This does not necessarily mean that his legs were bound together like a mummy, but bound separately, so he could not walk freely until loosed from the grave clothes or strips of linen.

Jesus Wept

John 11:28-37 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and call for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 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 goes unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 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? 

‘The Master is come, and call for thee.’ Jesus had evidently requested Mary to be present so she could witness the resurrection of her brother. Jesus waited for her to come before proceeding to the grave.

Jewish burying places were outside the towns and villages. It was the custom of relatives and friends to go often to the grave to weep during the three days of mourning and four days of lamentation. It was about time for the spirit to leave the grave, as the rabbis taught.

‘If thou had been here, my brother had not died’ She also expressed faith in what would have happened if Jesus had arrived before her brother died. She made no request concerning the resurrection.

‘He groaned’ Greek word embrimaomai, be very angry, moved with indignation (John 11:33, 38; Mat. 9:30; Mark 1:43; 14:5). What He was moved against here was no doubt the satanic powers that had Lazarus in their grip (Heb. 2:14-15). He became troubled, Greek word tarasso meaning to stir or agitate) in mind. He faced a conflict with satan, the power of death.

‘Jesus wept.’ The shortest verse in the Bible but very expressive of the humanity of Jesus is generous and sympathetic feelings for His friends. He wept with those who wept and caused even His enemies to acknowledge His love and compassion (John 11:33, 36; Isa. 53:3; Heb. 2:16-18; 4:15; Rom.12:15). Another cause of His weeping might have been the fearful and universal ravages of sin and death, and the ever-darkening shadows of unbelief of His race that would lead them to the final rejection of Him and total destruction of the nation (John 11:46-54; Luke 13:34-35; 19:41; Mat. 23:37-39).

‘Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?’ Certainly He could! They had no idea that a greater miracle was about to be performed than healing the blind.