John 11:4
(4) When Jesus heard that, he said.--These words are not simply an answer sent to the sisters, but the uttered thought which arose in our Lord's mind as He heard that Lazarus was ill, and were spoken in the presence of the disciples who were with Him, and doubtless in that of the messengers also.

This sickness is not unto death--i.e., "will not issue in death: will not have death as its final result." (Comp. John 11:11; John 11:14. and John 8:51.)

But for the glory of God--i.e., "the furtherance and accomplishment of the glory of God."

That the Son of God might be glorified thereby.--This furtherance of the glory of God with the purpose of glorifying the Son carries us back, as all the expositors note, to the oneness of the work of the Father and Son which has been made prominent in our Lord's words. (Comp. John 10:38, and references in Note there.) But the words seem to carry us forwards as well as backwards. In the next chapter (John 11:23) our Lord says. "The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified," and the reference is to His death. Is that thought absent from the words here? The sickness of Lazarus would not indeed issue in death, though it would end in what men call death, and would be the immediate cause leading to the death of the Son of Man. The one would be as a sleep from which he would awake, the other should be the glorifying the Son of God, which would issue in the life of the world.

"Thereby" is probably to be interpreted "by means of the illness," not "by means of the glory."

This verse should be compared with John 9:3. Here, as there, part of the meaning is that the glory of God would be effected in the person of him upon whom the miracle would be wrought. It was a spiritual crisis in the case of the man born blind. It cannot have been otherwise in the case of Lazarus.

Verse 4. - 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. What message Jesus gave to these who brought him these tidings we know not; the evangelist records what he said to the bystanders. Our Lord did not mean to say that the sickness would not terminate in what men ordinarily call "death," nor that it was not a deadly disease, but that it was not πρὸς θάνατον. "He shall not fall a prey to death" (Meyer), The sickness is so timed that it shall conduce to the (δόξα Θεοῦ) glory of God, i.e. to the majestic appreciation of the sublime perfections of God, and that by or in it the Son of God may be glorified. Υπὲρ elsewhere in the Gospel means "sacrifice on behalf of;" so here the very suffering of Lazarus and of the sisters, and the tears of Jesus over the grave, are part of the sacrificial ministry by which the glory of God or of the Sun of God may be advanced.

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.When Jesus heard that,.... That his friend Lazarus was sick,

he said; either to his disciples, or to the messenger or messengers that brought the account to him, and that on purpose to yield some relief to the afflicted family when it should be reported to them:

this sickness is not unto death; it was to issue in death, but not in death which was to continue, or under which Lazarus was to continue till the general resurrection; for though he should die, yet he should be so quickly restored again to life, that it scarcely deserved the name of death. The Jews distinguish between sickness and sickness; there are some that are sick, the greater part of whom are, "for life"; and there are others that are "sick", the greater part of whom are, "for death" (z), or are sick unto death, whose sickness issues in death; but this of Lazarus's was not to be unto death, at least not finally:

but for the glory of God; of his power and goodness in raising him again:

that the Son of God might be glorified thereby; that is, that his glory, as the Son of God, might be made manifest in the resurrection of him from the dead; see John 2:11.

(z) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 71. 2.

John 11:3
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