John 11:36-40
John 11:36 (KJB)
Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
Those who had once castigated Jesus now seemed to be temporarily disarmed from their hatred and now notice that Jesus really loved Lazarus. Jesus shows His compassion for Mary and Martha and weeps with them because of the death of Lazarus. This is one thing about Jesus they noticed, but soon they will once again pick up the tirade against Him. Jesus was not afraid to show His human side.
John 11:37 (KJB)
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?
When Jesus healed the blind man in chapter nine, it was not a miracle that went unnoticed. Some were in denial about it but there were those who saw it as genuine. Here they are asking the question that since He was able to open the blind manís eyes, would it have been much harder beyond that to prevent the death of Lazarus by healing him? We can answer that question from a verse in Isaiah. (Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Jesus knew what was about to happen and that is why Lazarus was allowed to die. As humans, we will never figure out the wisdom of God in many situations in our own lives. Sometimes it seems that God is working backwards but in the end, with 20-20 hindsight, we will see the great wisdom of God unfold in everything He does. Jesus could have healed Lazarus just by speaking the word when He was in Perea. Something greater than a healing was about to happen that has given hope to countless millions over the last two thousand years.
John 11:38 (KJB)
Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
Just as Jesus groaned in His spirit in verse 33, He again groaned here as He was angry with what death and sin and all the sorrows it brings had done to the human race, especially to His redeemed children. Jesus now approaches the grave. It was probably a hewn out cave and a family plot. It was no doubt also made for Mary and Martha that their bodies would be laid in that tomb upon physical death. Just like the cave of Machpelah was bought by Abraham and Sarah was laid in the tomb first and then Abraham was laid there at a later date. This was the reason for the stone, so the tomb could be accessed for the other family members. Lazarus is the only one in history who has ever used a tomb twice because eventually, he would die again.
John 11:39 (KJB)
Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
Jesus issues the first of three commands which will be entwined in this miracle. On His arrival at the tomb, Jesus does not hesitate to give the first command to roll away the stone. The stone would have been very heavy to prevent thieves from breaking into the tomb. Jesus wanted the stone moved away not because it was necessary for the resurrection but so the people could see in and maybe the smell of death would come out. This way they would know that Jesus was raising a man that was thoroughly dead. Since in ancient times, there was no embalming done by the Jews, they normally buried the body on the same day they die because decomposition begins to set in almost immediately. Martha reminds Jesus that Lazarus was dead for four days and his body would be well on the way to decomposition. Martha was probably perplexed at this time and did not understand why Jesus had the stone rolled away. She had forgotten that Jesus previously told her that her brother would rise again and had this moment in mind.
John 11:40 (KJB)
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
In the discourse Jesus had with Martha in verses 20-27, Jesus had explained to her that if she believes, she would see the glory of God. Jesus was confirming the faith of Martha. In this instance the glory of God would be the presence of God manifested in some miracle. When God performs a miracle, like the one He is going to perform now, He will be glorified tremendously. Anywhere the Gospel is proclaimed and the raising of Lazarus is preached, God is glorified because of it. It shows the power of God over manís greatest enemy, death. However, unbelief will not yield the glory of God. (Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.