on John 11 :33
He groaned in the spirit, etc. - Here the blessed Jesus shows himself to be truly man; and a man, too, who, notwithstanding his amazing dignity and excellence, did not feel it beneath him to sympathize with the distressed, and weep with those who wept. After this example of our Lord, shall we say that it is weakness, folly, and sin to weep for the loss of relatives? He who says so, and can act in a similar case to the above according to his own doctrine, is a reproach to the name of man. Such apathy never came from God: it is generally a bad scion, implanted in a nature miserably depraved, deriving its nourishment from a perverted spirit or a hardened heart; though in some cases it is the effect of an erroneous, ascetic mode of discipline.
It is abolishing one of the finest traits in our Lord's human character to say that he wept and mourned here because of sin and its consequences. No: Jesus had humanity in its perfection, and humanity unadulterated is generous and sympathetic. A particular friend of Jesus was dead; and, as his friend, the affectionate soul of Christ was troubled, and he mingled his sacred tears with those of the afflicted relatives. Behold the man, in his deep, heart-felt trouble, and in his flowing tears! But when he says, Lazarus, come forth! behold the God! and the God too of infinite clemency, love, and power. Can such a Jesus refuse to comfort the distressed, or save the lost? Can he restrain his mercies from the penitent soul, or refuse to hear the yearnings of his own bowels? Can such a character be inattentive to the welfare of his creatures? Here is God manifested in the flesh! living in human nature, feeling for the distressed, and suffering for the lost! Reader! ask thy soul, ask thy heart, ask the bowels of thy compassions, if thou hast any, could this Jesus unconditionally reprobate from eternity any soul of man? Thou answerest, No! God repeats, No! Universal nature re-echoes, No! and the tears and blood of Jesus eternally say, No!
on John 11 :33
He groaned in the spirit - The word rendered "groaned," here, commonly denotes to be angry or indignant, or to reprove severely, denoting violent agitation of mind. Here it also evidently denotes violent agitation - not from anger, but from grief. He saw the sorrow of others, and he was also moved with sympathy and love. The word "groan" usually, with us, denotes an expression of internal sorrow by a special sound. The word here, however, does not mean that utterance was given to the internal emotion, but that it was deep and agitating, though internal.
In the spirit - In the mind. See Acts 19:21. Paul purposed in the spirit that is, in his mind, Matthew 5:3.
Was troubled - Was affected with grief. Perhaps this expression denotes that his countenance was troubled, or gave indications of sorrow (Grotins).
on John 11 :33
11:33 He groaned - So he restrained his tears. So he stopped them soon after, John 11:38. He troubled himself - An expression amazingly elegant, and full of the highest propriety. For the affections of Jesus were not properly passions, but voluntary emotions, which were wholly in his own power. And this tender trouble which he now voluntarily sustained, was full of the highest order and reason.