John 11:5 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentObserve, 1. What an happy, because an holy and religious family, was here, and much honoured by Christ; Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus: wherever true piety dwells, it draws the eye and heart of Christ towards it. Christ had frequently and familiarly lodged under their roof, and he rewards them for their entertainment with his love; Jesus loved Martha, and her sister.
Where note, That Martha is here named first, though elsewhere Mary had the precedency, to shew, no doubt, that they were both equally dear to Christ.
Observe, 2. That although Christ loved Lazarus, yet he seems to neglect him, he delays going to him for some days: but could Christ absent himself from one so long, whom he loved so well? We find he did. Let us take heed then that we do not misinterpret Christ's delays. He seldom comes at our time , but never stays beyond his own; our Saviour had a double end in staying thus long: namely, for greatening of the miracle, and confirming of their faith. Had Christ gone before Lazarus was dead, they might have attributed his recovery rather to the strength of nature, than to Christ's miraculous power; or had Christ raised Lazarus as soon as he was dead, they might peradventure have thought it rather some trance or ecstasy, than a death and dissolution: therefore Christ stays so many days, that God might be the more glorified, and his own omnipotent power the more magnified.
We learn then, That when Christ delays to help them whom he dearly loves, it is always for wise ends and holy purposes.
Observe, 3. How the disciples, though they were dearly affected to Lazarus (for they had learned to love where their Master loved) yet they discourage Christ from going to him into Judea, for fear of violence offered to him. Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again? Here the disciples pleaded for their Master's safety, at the same time aiming at their own: they were to go with him into Judea, and they well knew that their danger was inwrapped in his, therefore they seek to divert him from his intention.
O how has the fear of suffering made many of the friends of Christ decline an opportunity of glorifying God, and doing good to others!
But cannot God give safety in the midst of danger, if he pleaseth? Let us then not chuse our way according to our own apprehension, either of danger or safety: but as we see God going before us, if our call be clear, let us go on with courage, whatever difficulties lie in our way.
Observe, 4. How our Saviour corrects these fears of his disciples, by acquainting them with his call from God, to undertake this journey into Judea, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If man walk therein, he stumbleth not: but in the night he stumbleth. As if Christ had said, "As he that walks in the day is in no danger of stumbling, but in the night he is in danger; so as long as I have a call from God, and my working time lasts, there is a divine providence that will watch over me, and secure me from all danger; now my day is not fully spent, and therefore it is not in the power of mine enemies to precipitate my passion, or to bring the night of sufferings upon me before the appointed time; but ere long the night will come on, the working time will get over, and then shall both I and you stumble upon death; but while the day lasteth we are safe."
Learn hence, 1. Every man has his twelve hours, that is, his working time, assigned him by God in this world.
2. Whilst these hours are not spent, and whilst his working time is unexpired, he shall not stumble, he shall not die, he shall not be disabled from working, while God has any work for him to do: neither the malice of men, nor the rage of devils, shall take him off till his work be finished.
3. Every man has his night as well as his day, in which he must expect and prepare to stumble; that is, to fall by death; for, when God has done his work by us and with us, he will withdraw his protection from us, but not his care over us.
We stumble upon death, and fall into the grave: but God receives us to himself, and at the end of our working season rewards us for our work.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.