John 11:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 11:38, NIV: "Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance."

John 11:38, ESV: "Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it."

John 11:38, KJV: "Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it."

John 11:38, NASB: "So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, *came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it."

John 11:38, NLT: "Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance."

John 11:38, CSB: "Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it."

What does John 11:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This statement once again uses the term found in verse 33. A reasonable translation of the word is "indignant," since it's the same word used to describe the reaction of onlookers when Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume (Mark 14:5). Jesus is displeased—righteously angry—at the pain being suffered by these people. The infamously-short verse "Jesus wept" (John 11:35) proves that Christ is fully man, with the full range of human emotions. It also shows that God does, in fact, sympathize with human suffering (Hebrews 4:15–16). That fact is important, when we remember that Jesus has planned all along to come here and raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:11–15).

As in the case of Jesus' own burial (Mark 15:46), stone caves with large rocks were frequently used as burial chambers. Funerals in the ancient world were often performed very soon after death. Compared to modern technologies, it was extremely difficult to keep a corpse from festering. This is why, by the time Jesus arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has already been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). It's also why, in the next verse, the ever-practical Martha will express concern about opening the grave.