John 11:3
(3) Therefore his sisters sent unto him.--Better, The sisters therefore sent unto Him--i.e., because of the fact of the illness, which has been repeated at the close of the last verse, and also because of the intimacy between our Lord and this family, of which the anointing was a proof. (Comp. John 11:5.)

Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.--The words are given in the touching simplicity of the message just as they were sent by the sorrowing sisters. They feel that the sad news needs no addition, and that there is no necessity for a prayer for help. Weakness, conscious of strength which loves, needs but to utter itself. (Comp. John 11:21.)

Verse 3. - Therefore the sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick (ο{ν φιλεῖς nominative to ἀσθενεῖ). The sisters knew well what peril Jesus and his disciples would encounter by coming to Bethany, and they must have known that he could have healed him by a word; so they simply state the case. (On the difference between φιλεῖν and ἀγάπαν, see notes on John 5:20; 21:15, 17. Trench, 'New Test. Syn.,' § 12. The former word is that of personal affection and fondness, though occasion ally having grander associations and equivalent to amo, while ἀγαπάω is equivalent to diligo, and means the love of choice, of sentiment, of confidence and esteem.) There is delicate tact and beauty in the use of the two words, one by the sisters, the other by the evangelist. The statement of needs, the simple voice of our weakness, the infant's cry, goes up to heaven. The bleat of the lost lamb is enough for the good Shepherd.

11:1-6 It is no new thing for those whom Christ loves, to be sick; bodily distempers correct the corruption, and try the graces of God's people. He came not to preserve his people from these afflictions, but to save them from their sins, and from the wrath to come; however, it behoves us to apply to Him in behalf of our friends and relatives when sick and afflicted. Let this reconcile us to the darkest dealings of Providence, that they are all for the glory of God: sickness, loss, disappointment, are so; and if God be glorified, we ought to be satisfied. Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. The families are greatly favoured in which love and peace abound; but those are most happy whom Jesus loves, and by whom he is beloved. Alas, that this should seldom be the case with every person, even in small families. God has gracious intentions, even when he seems to delay. When the work of deliverance, temporal or spiritual, public or personal, is delayed, it does but stay for the right time.Therefore his sisters sent unto him,.... Both the sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, sent to Jesus; they did not go themselves, being women, and the place where Jesus was, was at some distance; and besides, it was necessary they should abide at home, to attend their brother in his sickness, and therefore they sent a messenger, or messengers to Christ,

saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick; for it seems that Lazarus was in a very singular manner loved by Christ, as man, as John the beloved disciple was; and this is the rather put into the message by the sisters, to engage Jesus to come to his assistance; and they were very right in applying to Christ in this time of need, who is the physician, both of the bodies and souls of men; and are greatly to be commended both for their modesty and piety, in not prescribing to Christ what should be done in this case: and it may be further observed, that such who are the peculiar objects of Christ's love, are attended in this life with bodily sickness, disorders, and diseases, which are sent unto them, not in a way of vindictive wrath, but in love, and as fatherly chastisements; which, as they are designed, so they are overruled for their good; and are to be considered, not as instances of wrath, but as tokens of love.

John 11:2
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