Christ at the Grave of Lazarus; The Resurrection of Lazarus.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 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? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 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. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 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. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Here we have, I. Christ’s tender sympathy with his afflicted friends, and the share he took to himself in their sorrows, which appeared three ways:–
1. By the inward groans and troubles of his spirit (v. 33): Jesus saw Mary weeping for the loss of a loving brother, and the Jews that came with her weeping for the loss of a good neighbour and friend; when he saw what a place of weepers, a bochim, this was, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. See here,
(1.) The griefs of the sons of men represented in the tears of Mary and her friends. What an emblem was here of this world, this vale of tears! Nature itself teaches us to weep over our dear relations, when they are removed by death; Providence thereby calls to weeping and mourning. It is probable that Lazarus’s estate devolved upon his sisters, and was a considerable addition to their fortunes; and in such a case people say, now-a-days, though they cannot wish their relations dead (that is, they do not say they do), yet, if they were dead, they would not wish them alive again; but these sisters, whatever they got by their brother’s death, heartily wished him alive again. Religion teaches us likewise to weep with them that weep, as these Jews wept with Mary, considering that we ourselves also are in the body. Those that truly love their friends will share with them in their joys and griefs; for what is friendship but a communication of affections? Job xvi. 5.
(2.) The grace of the Son of God and his compassion towards those that are in misery. In all their afflictions he is afflicted, Isa. lxiii. 9; Judg. x. 16. When Christ saw them all in tears,
[1.] He groaned in the spirit. He suffered himself to be tempted (as we are when we are disturbed by some great affliction), yet without sin. This was an expression, either, First, Of his displeasure at the inordinate grief of those about him, as Mark v. 39: “Why make ye this ado and weep? What a hurry is here! does this become those that believe in a God, a heaven, and another world?” Or, Secondly, Of his feeling sense of the calamitous state of human lie, and the power of death, to which fallen man is subject. Having now to make a vigorous attack upon death and the grave, he thus stirred up himself to the encounter, put on the garments of vengeance, and his fury it upheld him; and that he might the more resolutely undertake the redress of our grievances, and the cure of our griefs, he was pleased to make himself sensible of the weight of them, and under the burden of them he now groaned in spirit. Or, Thirdly, It was an expression of his kind sympathy with his friends that were in sorrow. Here was the sounding of the bowels, the mercies which the afflicted church so earnestly solicits, Isa. lxiii. 15. Christ not only seemed concerned, but he groaned in the spirit; he was inwardly and sincerely affected with the case. David’s pretended friends counterfeited sympathy, to disguise their enmity (Ps. xli. 6); but we must learn of Christ to have our love and sympathy without dissimulation. Christ’s was a deep and hearty sigh.
[2.] He was troubled. He troubled himself; so the phrase is, very significantly. He had all the passions and affections of the human nature, for in all things he must be like to his brethren; but he had a perfect command of them, so that they were never up, but when and as they were called; he was never troubled, but when he troubled himself, as he saw cause. He often composed himself to trouble, but was never discomposed or disordered by it. He was voluntary both in his passion and in his compassion. He had power to lay down his grief, and power to take it again.
2. His concern for them appeared by his kind enquiry after the poor remains of his deceased friend (v. 34): Where have you laid him? He knew where he was laid, and yet asks, because,
(1.) He would thus express himself as a man, even when he was going to exert the power of a God. Being found in fashion as a man, he accommodates himself to the way and manner of the sons of men: Non nescit, sed quasi nescit–He is not ignorant, but he makes as if he were, saith Austin here.
(2.) He enquired where the grave was, lest, if he had gone straight to it of his own knowledge, the unbelieving Jews should have thence taken occasion to suspect a collusion between him and Lazarus, and a trick in the case. Many expositors observe this from Chrysostom.
(3.) He would thus divert the grief of his mourning friends, by raising their expectations of something great; as if he had said, “I did not come hither with an address of condolence, to mingle a few fruitless insignificant tears with yours; no, I have other work to do; come, let us adjourn to the grave, and go about our business there.” Note, A serious address to our work is the best remedy against inordinate grief.
(4.) He would hereby intimate to us the special care he takes of the bodies of the saints while they lie in the grave; he takes notice where they are laid, and will look after them. There is not only a covenant with the dust, but a guard upon it.
3. It appeared by his tears. Those about him did not tell him where the body was buried, but desired him to come and see, and led him directly to the grave, that his eye might yet more affect his heart with the calamity.
(1.) As he was going to the grave, as if he had been following the corpse thither, Jesus wept, v. 35. A very short verse, but it affords many useful instructions.
[1.] That Jesus Christ was really and truly man, and partook with the children, not only of flesh and blood, but of a human soul, susceptible of the impressions of joy, and grief, and other affections. Christ gave this proof of his humanity, in both senses of the word; that, as a man, he could weep, and, as a merciful man, he would weep, before he gave this proof of his divinity.
[2.] That he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, as was foretold, Isa. liii. 3. We never read that he laughed, but more than once we have him in tears. Thus he shows not only that a mournful state will consist with the love of God, but that those who sow to the Spirit must sow in tears.
[3.] Tears of compassion well become Christians, and make them most to resemble Christ. It is a relief to those who are in sorrow to have their friends sympathize with them, especially such a friend as their Lord Jesus.
(2.) Different constructions were put upon Christ’s weeping.
[1.] Some made a kind and candid interpretation of it, and what was very natural (v. 36): Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! They seem to wonder that he should have so strong an affection for one to whom he was not related, and with whom he had not had any long acquaintance, for Christ spent most of his time in Galilee, a great way from Bethany. It becomes us, according to this example of Christ, to show our love to our friends, both living and dying. We must sorrow for our brethren that sleep in Jesus as those that are full of love, though not void of hope; as the devout men that buried Stephen, Acts viii. 2. Though our tears profit not the dead, they embalm their memory. These tears were indications of his particular love to Lazarus, but he has given proofs no less evident of his love to all the saints, in that he died for them. When he only dropped a tear over Lazarus, they said, See how he loved him! Much more reason have we to say so, for whom he hath laid down his life: See how he loved us! Greater love has no man than this
[2.] Others made a peevish unfair reflection upon it, as if these tears bespoke his inability to help his friend (v. 37): Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, have prevented the death of Lazarus? Here it is slyly insinuated, First, That the death of Lazarus being (as it seemed by his tears) a great grief to him, if he could have prevented it he would, and therefore because he did not they incline to think that he could not; as, when he was dying, they concluded that he could not, because he did not, save himself, and come down from the cross; not considering that divine power is always directed in its operations by divine wisdom, not merely according to his will, but according to the counsel of his will, wherein it becomes us to acquiesce. If Christ’s friends, whom he loves, die,–if his church, whom he loves, be persecuted and afflicted,–we must not impute it to any defect either in his power or love, but conclude that it is because he sees it for the best. Secondly, That therefore it might justly be questioned whether he did indeed open the eyes of the blind, that is, whether it was not a sham. His not working this miracle they thought enough to invalidate the former; at least, it should seem that he had limited power, and therefore not a divine one. Christ soon convinced these whisperers, by raising Lazarus from the dead, which was the greater work, that he could have prevented his death, but therefore did not because he would glorify himself the more.
II. Christ’s approach to the grave, and the preparation that was made for working this miracle.
1. Christ repeats his groans upon his coming near the grave (v. 38): Again groaning in himself, he comes to the grave: he groaned, (1.) Being displeased at the unbelief of those who spoke doubtingly of his power, and blamed him for not preventing the death of Lazarus; he was grieved for the hardness of their hearts. He never groaned so much for his own pains and sufferings as for the sins and follies of men, particularly Jerusalem’s, Matt. xxiii. 37.
(2.) Being affected with the fresh lamentations which, it is likely, the mourning sisters made when they came near the grave, more passionately and pathetically than before, his tender spirit was sensibly touched with their wailings.
(3.) Some think that he groaned in spirit because, to gratify the desire of his friends, he was to bring Lazarus again into this sinful troublesome world, from that rest into which he was newly entered; it would be a kindness to Martha and Mary, but it would be to him like thrusting one out to a stormy sea again who was newly got into a safe and quiet harbour. If Lazarus had been let alone, Christ would quickly have gone to him into the other world; but, being restored to life, Christ quickly left him behind in this world.
(4.) Christ groaned as one that would affect himself with the calamitous state of the human nature, as subject to death, from which he was now about to redeem Lazarus. Thus he stirred up himself to take hold on God in the prayer he was to make, that he might offer it up with strong crying, Heb. v. 7. Ministers, when they are sent by the preaching of the gospel to raise dead souls, should be much affected with the deplorable condition of those they preach to and pray for, and groan in themselves to think of it.
2. The grave wherein Lazarus lay is here described: It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. The graves of the common people, probably, were dug as ours are; but persons of distinction were, as with us, interred in vaults, so Lazarus was, and such was the sepulchre in which Christ was buried. Probably this fashion was kept up among the Jews, in imitation of the patriarchs, who buried their dead in the cave of Machpelah, Gen. xxiii. 19. This care taken of the dead bodies of their friends intimates their expectation of their resurrection; they reckoned the solemnity of the funeral ended when the stone was rolled to the grave, or, as here, laid upon it, like that on the mouth of the den into which Daniel was cast (Dan. vi. 17), that the purpose might not be changed; intimating that the dead are separated from the living, and gone the way whence they shall not return. This stone was probably a gravestone, with an inscription upon it, which the Greeks called mnemeion—a memorandum, because it is both a memorial of the dead and a memento to the living, putting them in remembrance of that which we are all concerned to remember. It is called by the Latins, Monumentum, à monendo, because it gives warning.
3. Orders are given to remove the stone (v. 39): Take away the stone. He would have this stone removed that all the standersby might see the body lie dead in the sepulchre, and that way might be made for its coming out, and it might appear to be a true body, and not a ghost or spectre. He would have some of the servants to remove it, that they might be witnesses, by the smell of the putrefaction of the body, and that therefore it was truly dead. It is a good step towards the raising of a soul to spiritual life when the stone is taken away, when prejudices are removed and got over, and way made for the word to the heart, that it may do its work there, and say what it has to say.
4. An objection made by Martha against the opening of the grave: Lord, by this time he stinketh, or is become noisome, for he has been dead four days, tetartaios gar esti, quatriduanus est; he is four days old in the other world; a citizen and inhabitant of the grave of four days’ standing. Probably Martha perceived the body to smell, as they were removing the stone, and therefore cried out thus.
(1.) It is easy to observe hence the nature of human bodies: four days are but a little while, yet what a great change will this time make with the body of man, if it be but so long without food, much more if so long without life! Dead bodies (saith Dr. Hammond) after a revolution of the humours, which is completed in seventy-two hours, naturally tend to putrefaction; and the Jews say that by the fourth day after death the body is so altered that one cannot be sure it is such a person; so Maimonides in Lightfoot. Christ rose the third day because he was not to see corruption.
(2.) It is not so easy to say what was Martha’s design in saying this.
[1.] Some think she said it in a due tenderness, and such as decency teaches to the dead body; now that it began to putrefy, she did not care it should be thus publicly shown and made a spectacle of.
[2.] Others think she said it out of a concern for Christ, lest the smell of the dead body should be offensive to him. That which is very noisome is compared to an open sepulchre, Ps. v. 9. If there were any thing noisome she would not have her Master near it; but he was none of those tender and delicate ones that cannot bear as ill smell; if he had, he would not have visited the world of mankind, which sin had made a perfect dunghill, altogether noisome, Ps. xiv. 3.
[3.] It should seem, by Christ’s answer, that it was the language of her unbelief and distrust: “Lord, it is too late now to attempt any kindness to him; his body begins to rot, and it is impossible that this putrid carcase should live.” She gives up his case as helpless and hopeless, there having been no instances, either of late or formerly, of any raised to life after they had begun to see corruption. When our bones are dried, we are ready to say, Our hope is lost. Yet this distrustful word of hers served to make the miracle both the more evident and the more illustrious; by this it appeared that he was truly dead, and not in a trance; for, though the posture of a dead body might be counterfeited, the smell could not. Her suggesting that it could not be done puts the more honour upon him that did it.
5. The gentle reproof Christ gave to Martha for the weakness of her faith (v. 40): Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God? This word of his to her was not before recorded; it is probable that he said it to her when she had said (v. 27), Lord, I believe: and it is enough that it is recorded here, where it is repeated. Note,
(1.) Our Lord Jesus has given us all the assurances imaginable that a sincere faith shall at length be crowned with a blessed vision: “If thou believe, thou shalt see God’s glorious appearances for thee in this world, and to thee in the other world.” If we will take Christ’s word, and rely on his power and faithfulness, we shall see the glory of God, and be happy in the sight.
(2.) We have need to be often reminded of these sure mercies with which our Lord Jesus hath encouraged us. Christ does not give a direct answer to what Martha had said, nor any particular promise of what he would do, but orders her to keep hold of the general assurances he had already given: Only believe. We are apt to forget what Christ has spoken, and need him to put us in mind of it by his Spirit: “Said I not unto thee so and so? And dost thou think that he will ever unsay it?”
6. The opening of the grave, in obedience to Christ’s order, notwithstanding Martha’s objection (v. 41): Then they took away the stone. When Martha was satisfied, and had waived her objection, then they proceeded. If we will see the glory of God, we must let Christ take his own way, and not prescribe but subscribe to him. They took away the stone, and this was all they could do; Christ only could give life. What man can do is but to prepare the way of the Lord, to fill the valleys, and level the hills, and, as here, to take away the stone.
III. The miracle itself wrought. The spectators, invited by the rolling away of the stone, gathered about the grave, not to commit dust to dust, earth to earth, but to receive dust from the dust, and earth from the earth again; and, their expectations being raised, our Lord Jesus addresses himself to his work.
1. He applies himself to his living Father in heaven, so he had called him (ch. vi. 17), and so eyes him here.
(1.) The gesture he used was very significant: He lifted up his eyes, an outward expression of the elevation of his mind, and to show those who stood by whence he derived his power; also to set us an example; this outward sign is hereby recommended to our practice; see ch. xvii. 1. Look how those will answer it who profanely ridicule it; but that which is especially charged upon us hereby is to lift up our hearts to God in the heavens; what is prayer, but the ascent of the soul to God, and the directing of its affections and motions heavenward? He lifted up his eyes, as looking above, looking beyond the grave where Lazarus lay, and overlooking all the difficulties that arose thence, that he might have his eyes fixed upon the divine omnipotence; to teach us to do as Abraham, who considered not his own body now dead, nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb, never took these into his thoughts, and so gained such a degree of faith as not to stagger at the promise, Rom. iv. 20.
(2.) His address to God was with great assurance, and such a confidence as became him: Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
[1.] He has here taught us, by his own example, First, In prayer to call God Father, and to draw nigh to him as children to a father, with a humble reverence, and yet with a holy boldness. Secondly, In our prayers to praise him, and, when we come to beg for further mercy, thankfully to acknowledge former favours. Thanksgivings, which bespeak God’s glory (not our own, like the Pharisee’s God, I thank thee), are decent forms into which to put our supplications.
[2.] But our Saviour’s thanksgiving here was intended to express the unshaken assurance he had of the effecting of this miracle, which he had in his own power to do in concurrence with his Father: “Father, I thank thee that my will and thine are in this matter, as always, the same.” Elijah and Elisha raised the dead, as servants, by entreaty; but Christ, as a Son, by authority, having life in himself, and power to quicken whom he would; and he speaks of this as his own act (v. 11): I go, that I may awake him; yet he speaks of it as what he had obtained by prayer, for his Father heard him: probably he put up the prayer for it when he groaned in spirit once and again (v. 33, 38), in a mental prayer, with groanings which could not be uttered.
First, Christ speaks of this miracle as an answer to prayer, 1. Because he would thus humble himself; though he was a Son, yet learned he this obedience, to ask and receive. His mediatorial crown was granted him upon request, though it is of right, Ps. ii. 8, and ch. xvii. 5. He prays for the glory he had before the world was, though, having never forfeited it, he might have demanded it. 2. Because he was pleased thus to honour prayer, making it the key wherewith even he unlocked the treasures of divine power and grace. Thus he would teach us in prayer, by the lively exercise of faith, to enter into the holiest.
Secondly, Christ, being assured that his prayer was answered, professes,
a. His thankful acceptance of this answer: I thank thee that thou hast heard me. Though the miracle was not yet wrought, yet the prayer was answered, and he triumphs before the victory. No other can pretend to such an assurance as Christ had; yet we may by faith in the promise have a prospect of mercy before it be actually given in, and may rejoice in that prospect, and give God thanks for it. In David’s devotions, the same psalm which begins with prayer for a mercy closes with thanksgivings for it. Note,
(a.) Mercies in answer to prayer ought in a special manner to be acknowledged with thankfulness. Besides the grant of the mercy itself, we are to value it as a great favour to have our poor prayers taken notice of.
(b.) We ought to meet the first appearances of the return of prayer with early thanksgivings. As God answers us with mercy, even before we call, and hears while we are yet speaking, so we should answer him with praise even before he grants, and give him thanks while he is yet speaking good words and comfortable words.
b. His cheerful assurance of a ready answer at any time (v. 42): And I know that thou hearest me always. Let none think that this was some uncommon favour granted him now, such as he never had before, nor should ever have again; no, he had the same divine power going along with him in his whole undertaking, and undertook nothing but what he knew to be agreeable to the counsel of God’s will. “I gave thanks” (saith he) “for being heard in this, because I am sure to be heard in every thing.” See here,
(a.) The interest our Lord Jesus had in heaven; the Father heard him always, he had access to the Father upon every occasion, and success with him in every errand. And we may be sure that his interest is not the less for his going to heaven, which may encourage us to depend upon his intercession, and put all our petitions into his hand, for we are sure that him the Father hears always.
(b.) The confidence he had of that interest: I knew it. He did not in the least hesitate or doubt concerning it, but had an entire satisfaction in his own mind of the Father’s complacency in him and concurrence with him in every thing. We cannot have such a particular assurance as he had; but this we know, that whatsoever we ask according to his will he heareth us, 1 John v. 14, 15.
Thirdly, But why should Christ give this public intimation of his obtaining this miracle by prayer? He adds, It is because of the people who stand by, that they may believe that thou hast sent me; for prayer may preach.
1. It was to obviate the objections of his enemies, and their reflections. It was blasphemously suggested by the Pharisees, and their creatures, that he wrought his miracles by compact with the devil; now, to evidence the contrary, he openly made his address to God, using prayers, and not charms, not peeping and muttering as those did that used familiar spirits (Isa. viii. 19), but, with elevated eyes and voice professing his communication with Heaven, and dependence on Heaven.
2. It was to corroborate the faith of those that were well inclined to him: That they may believe that thou hast sent me, not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. Moses, to show that God sent him, made the earth open and swallow men up (Num. xvi. 31); Elijah, to show that God sent him, made fire come from heaven and devour men; for the law was a dispensation of terror and death but Christ proves his mission by raising to life one that was dead. Some give this sense: had Christ declared his doing it freely by his own power, some of his weak disciples, who as yet understood not his divine nature, would have thought he took too much upon him, and have been stumbled at it. These babes could not bear that strong meat, therefore he chooses to speak of his power as received and derived he speaks self-denyingly of himself, that he might speak the more plainly to us. Non ita respexit ad swam dignitatem atque ad nostram salutem—In what he said, he consulted not so much his dignity as our salvation.–Jansenius.
2. He now applies himself to his dead friend in the earth. He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth.
(1.) He could have raised Lazarus by a silent exertion of his power and will, and the indiscernible operations of the Spirit of life; but he did it by a call, a loud call,
[1.] To be significant of the power then put forth for the raising of Lazarus, how he created this new thing; he spoke, and it was done. He cried aloud, to signify the greatness of the work, and of the power employed in it, and to excite himself as it were to this attack upon the gates of death, as soldiers engage with a shout. Speaking to Lazarus, it was proper to cry with a loud voice; for, First, The soul of Lazarus, which was to be called back, was at a distance, not hovering about the grave, as the Jews fancied, but removed to Hades, the world of spirits; now it is natural to speak loud when we call to those at a distance. Secondly, The body of Lazarus, which was to be called up, was asleep, and we usually speak loud when we would awake any out of sleep. He cried with a loud voice that the scripture might be fulfilled (Isa. xlv. 19), I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth.
[2.] To be typical of other works of wonder, and particularly other resurrections, which the power of Christ was to effect. This loud call was a figure, First, Of the gospel call, by which dead souls were to be brought out of the grave of sin, which resurrection Christ had formerly spoken of (ch. v. 25), and of his word as the means of it (ch. vi. 63), and now he gives a specimen of it. By his word, he saith to souls, Live, yea, he saith to them, Live, Ezek. xvi. 6. Arise from the dead, Eph. v. 14. The spirit of life from God entered into those that had been dead and dry bones, when Ezekiel prophesied over them, Ezek. xxxvii. 10. Those who infer from the commands of the word to turn and live that man has a power of his own to convert and regenerate himself might as well infer from this call to Lazarus that he had a power to raise himself to life. Secondly, Of the sound of the archangel’s trumpet at the last day, with which they that sleep in the dust shall be awakened and summoned before the great tribunal, when Christ shall descend with a shout, a call, or command, like this here, Come forth, Ps. l. 4. He shall call both to the heavens for their souls, and to the earth for their bodies, that he may judge his people.
(2.) This loud call was but short, yet mighty through God to the battering down of the strongholds of the grave.
[1.] He calls him by name, Lazarus, as we call those by their names whom we would awake out of a fast sleep. God said to Moses, as a mark of his favour, I know thee by name. The naming of him intimates that the same individual person that died shall rise again at the last day. He that calls the stars by their names can distinguish by name his stars that are in the dust of the earth, and will lose none of them.
[2.] He calls him out of the grave, speaking to him as if he were already alive, and had nothing to do but to come out of his grave. He does not say unto him, Live; for he himself must give life; but he saith to him, Move, for when by the grace of Christ we live spiritually we must stir up ourselves to move; the grave of sin and this world is no place for those whom Christ has quickened, and therefore they must come forth.
[3.] The event was according to the intention: He that was dead came forth, v. 44. Power went along with the word of Christ to reunite the soul and the body of Lazarus, and then he came forth. The miracle is described, not by its invisible springs, to satisfy our curiosity, but by its visible effects, to conform our faith. Do any ask where the soul of Lazarus was during the four days of its separation? We are not told, but have reason to think it was in paradise; in joy and felicity; but you will say, “Was it not then really an unkindness to it to cause it to return into the prison of the body?” And if it were, yet, being for the honour of Christ and the serving of the interests of his kingdom, it was no more an injury to him than it was to St. Paul to continue in the flesh when he knew that to depart to Christ was so much better. If any ask whether Lazarus, after he was raised, could give an account or description of his soul’s removal out of the body or return to it, or what he saw in the other world, I suppose both those changes were so unaccountable to himself that he must say with Paul, Whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; and of what he saw and heard, that it was not lawful nor possible to express it. In a world of sense we cannot frame to ourselves, much less communicate to others, any adequate ideas of the world of spirits and the affairs of that world. Let us not covet to be wise above what is written, and this is all that is written concerning the resurrection of that Lazarus, that he that was dead came forth. Some have observed that though we read of many who were raised from the dead, who no doubt conversed familiarly with men afterwards, yet the scripture has not recorded one word spoken by any of them, except by our Lord Jesus only.
(3.) This miracle was wrought,
[1.] Speedily. Nothing intervenes between the command, Come forth, and the effect, He came forth; dictum factum–no sooner said than done; let there be life, and there was life. Thus the change in the resurrection will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, 1 Cor. xv. 52. The almighty power that can do it can do it in an instant: Then shalt thou call and I will answer; will come at the call, as Lazarus, Here am I.
[2.] Perfectly. He was so thoroughly revived that he got up out of his grave as strongly as ever he got up out of his bed, and returned not only to life, but health. He was not raised to serve a present turn, but to live as other men. [3.] With this additional miracle, as some reckon it, that he came out of his grave, though he was fettered with his grave-clothes, with which he was bound hand and foot, and his face bound about with a napkin (for so the manner of the Jews was to bury); and he came forth in the same dress wherein he was buried, that it might appear that it was he himself and not another, and that he was not only alive, but strong, and able to walk, after a sort, even in his grave-clothes. The binding of his face with a napkin proved that he had been really dead, for otherwise, in less than so many days’ time, that would have smothered him. And the standers-by, in unbinding him, would handle him, and see him, that it was he himself, and so be witnesses of the miracle. Now see here, First, How little we carry away with us, when we leave the world–only a winding-sheet and a coffin; there is no change of raiment in the grave, nothing but a single suit of grave-clothes. Secondly, What condition we shall be in in the grave. What wisdom or device can there be where the eyes are hoodwinked, or what working where the hands and feet are fettered? And so it will be in the grave, whither we are going. Lazarus being come forth, hampered and embarrassed with his grave-clothes, we may well imagine that those about the grave were exceedingly surprised and frightened at it; we should be so if we should see a dead body rise; but Christ, to make the thing familiar, sets them to work: “Loose him, slacken his grave-clothes, that they may serve for day-clothes till he comes to his house, and then he will go himself, so clad, without guide or supporter to his own house.” As, in the Old Testament, the translations of Enoch and Elias were sensible demonstrations of an invisible and future state, the one about the middle of the patriarchal age, the other of the Mosaic economy, so the resurrection of Lazarus, in the New Testament, was designed for the confirmation of the doctrine of the resurrection.
– Matthew Henry Commentary