The great thing about the Bible is that no matter how many times you read it, you can always get something else out of it. Sometimes, it’s like the God of the Universe is speaking directly to you. The Great I AM, Yahweh Elohim, takes time out to tell you something that is on your heart, whether it is everything is going to be all right to how much He loves you. It doesn’t matter what it is. He speaks directly to you through His Word.
When I read John 11 I felt a deep love story being told. I know the story was about a man dying and Jesus bringing him back to life. I read various commentaries that spoke on the resurrection and the power of Jesus Christ. I don’t deny that this is one meaning you can get from this passage and while it is a very powerful message that is not what spoke to me.
It was the woman called Mary. It was the individual personalities of Martha and Mary and their relationship with Jesus that caused me to pause. It was the mixed emotions of heartache, love, and trust that radiated from Mary’s heart to Jesus’ heart that caused him to groan in His spirit. It was this love that spoke to me.
You see Jesus was surrounded by people who said they loved and believed in him. But they didn’t. If they had they wouldn’t have tried to correct him so many times because they didn’t believe him. In verse 15, He tells his disciples that He’s glad He wasn’t there when Lazarus was sick because now maybe this time they will believe He is who He says He is.
The Story Begins
Now this is where the story begins. When Martha heard Jesus was coming she ran out to meet him. She was hurt that her brother had died. She knew that if Jesus had come sooner her brother would have lived. She knew it to the core of her being.
Now Martha is just like most of us who know best. Since we know best we get angry when we know some tragedy could have been prevented had the other person just done what she was suppose to do. Therefore, we get angry and let the other person have it. Then we blame that person for the tragedy.
Martha was in this place mentally. She went to meet Jesus to let him know that she knew who He was and basically she didn’t understand why He just didn’t come when she called him the first time. She let him have it.
I Know the Truth
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” (verses 21-22) Martha reminded Jesus that God would do whatever He wanted if Jesus wanted Lazarus to live. She was angry. He waited until Lazarus died before He even decided to come. It didn’t take four days to get to them. Obviously Jesus didn’t care about them as much as He said He did. This is what we do when we are angry. We reduce the other person’s feelings for us. We swear the other person doesn’t love us as much as he says he does.
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” (verse 23)
“Yes,” Martha said, “when everyone else rises, on resurrection day.” (verse 24) There Martha went again, letting Jesus know how smart she was. She knew the scriptures. She listened to His messages. She wasn’t stupid.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?” (verses 25-26) Jesus had to remind Martha who He really was as a person. He wasn’t some textbook answer. He was the living proof of all that she knew and understood. He was life. He is still life today.
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” Then she left him and returned to Mary. (verses 27-28a)
Martha may have said yes but I can’t help but wonder what she was thinking about at this moment. Once again she recited what she believed like she was stating some facts. Then she left when she was done with the conversation. She couldn’t deal with this conversation anymore. It wasn’t getting her anywhere. All she knew was that her brother was dead and it could have been prevented. Maybe Mary could talk some sense into Jesus. She went back to the house to get her.
This is the end of part one. In part two, we’ll see Mary’s reaction to Jesus coming to town. Until then let me know what you think.