John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 11:40 - 11:40

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 11:40 - 11:40


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40.Did not I tell thee? He reproves Martha’ distrust, in not forming a hope sufficiently vigorous from the promise which she had heard. It is evident from this passage, that something more was said to Martha than John has literally related; though, as I have suggested, this very thing was meant by Christ, when he called himself the resurrection and the life Martha is therefore blamed for not expecting some Divine work.

If thou believe. This is said, not only because faith opens our eyes, that we may be able to see the power of God shining in his works, but because our faith prepares the way for the power, mercy, and goodness of God, that they may be displayed towards us, as it is said, Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, (Psa_81:10.) In like manner, unbelief, on the other hand, hinders God from approaching us, and may be said to keep his hands shut. On this account it is said elsewhere, that Jesus

could not perform any miracle there on account of their unbelief, (Mat_13:58.)

Not that the power of God is bound by the caprice of men, but because, as far as they are able, their malice opposes the exercise of that power, and therefore they do not deserve that it should be manifested to them. Frequently, indeed, does God overcome such obstacles; but yet, whenever he withdraws his hand, so as not to assist unbelievers, this is done because, shut up within the narrow limits of their unbelief, they do not allow it to enter.

Thou shalt see the glory of God. Observe, that a miracle is called the glory of God, because God, displaying in it the power of his hand, glorifies his name. But Martha, now satisfied with Christ’ second declaration, permits the stone to be removed. As yet she sees nothing, but, hearing the Son of God, not without a good reason, give this order, she willingly relies on his authority alone.